The Supreme Court told us years ago that split-second decisions regarding uses of force must not be second guessed in the calmness of the judge's chambers - so much for that. Second guessing based on compressed and often flawed video has become the new normal. Add to that this recent Appeals Court case and it is more than apparent why stress levels of police officers are on the rise.
Here, a 911 call reported a threat to kill a victim. Officers arrived and during a pat-frisk, the suspect pulled out a gun and began shooting at the officers. During the ensuing gun fight, the suspect was killed, but a stray bullet from an officer hit another person (the party in danger to begin with) in the leg. She sued the officer's for negligence and won. The appeals court upheld - stating that there was no need to conduct a sudden unnanounced pat frisk - and that police should have known about the potential violent reaction. The jury awarded more than $250,000.00 to the plaintiff.
It is important to read the facts of this case - the court went into detail about the circumstances. It is more important than ever for officers to document the dangerous circumstances that were the basis for their actions. It is more and more clear that second guessing is happening and support of first responders is waning.
FORENSIC VIDEO SEMINAR
Because of all of the video evidence in labor cases, our lawyers will be undergoing evidence training on forensic video analysis. We have had success challenging aspect of videos in use of force cases - often they are compressed or abbreviated in ways not apparent without technical discovery.
We plan to make trainings available to local unions starting sometime in September. Please reach out if you might be interested. We will keep you posted on this.