US Attorney General Calls for Broad Review of Police Tactics
At a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Little Rock, AR, outgoing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asked the assembled mayors and police chiefs to cooperate in a broad review of policing tactics. Referencing President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 Commission on Law Enforcement, Holder said he hoped the current Justice Department review would have similar ambitions and effects.
Holder’s speech comes in the midst of a nation-wide conversation about police power, strategy and equipment, much of it triggered by the August shooting of 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO by a white police officer. The shooting touched off protests and demonstrations in Ferguson and throughout St. Louis as residents spoke out against what they say are decades of mistreatment at the hands of police.
As police brutality comes under an ever-larger microscope, it’s useful to acknowledge what exactly is covered by the term. Some of the tactics that provoke controversy due to overuse or serious misuse of police power include the following:
- Excessive use of force
- Excessive use of restraint
- Use of tasers, pepper spray and other weapons or substances
- Unlawful search and seizure
People who are taken into police custody are already vulnerable, and the presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty includes the right to fair and humane treatment. Regardless of whether a person is eventually found guilty of a crime, police brutality is not justifiable.
Police departments may make it difficult to investigate cases of misconduct, as the Ferguson case has demonstrated all too well. However, a qualified attorney can help hold police accountable for their actions. If you have been injured while in police custody, it is important that you seek the services of a Berks County criminal defense attorney who has experience handling cases involving police brutality. Contact the Law Office of David R. Eshelman for the information and support you need.