cops in line

Excessive Force & Police Misconduct

Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. Jan. 20, 2022

According to an investigation by USA Today, at least 85,000 law enforcement officers throughout the United States have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade. Police misconduct often includes excessive use of force, planting evidence, obtaining evidence through unlawful search or seizure, or beating members of the public. Unfortunately, victims in police misconduct cases may actually find themselves facing a criminal allegation.

If you’re the victim of police misconduct or if you’ve found yourself unlawfully facing criminal charges, hiring a highly skilled Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney is crucial to help build your defense. I have the experience and resources to defend individuals wrongfully accused of a crime due to excessive force and police misconduct. As your legal counsel, I can investigate the surrounding circumstances of your situation, strategize a strong defense to help fight your charges, and refute the allegations against you with all available evidence.

My firm — Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. — proudly serves clients throughout Pittsburgh, Fox Chapel, Shaler Township, Aspinwall, and Penn Hills, Pennsylvania.

Examples of Police Misconduct

Police misconduct is any unethical or illegal act committed by law enforcement officers while conducting their expected duties. It also encompasses any action by a police officer that violates the constitutional rights of an individual. Some common examples of police misconduct include:

  • False arrest or imprisonment

  • Excessive force

  • Failure to intervene

  • Malicious prosecution

  • Torture and physical abuse of suspects in police custody

  • Sexual harassment, assault, or misconduct

  • Police brutality

  • Abuse of authority

  • Torture to force confessions

  • Causing unnecessary injury to an individual

Unfortunately, any of these illegal actions by police officers can often increase the possibility of a criminal charge or wrongful conviction. A skilled criminal defense attorney can educate you about what qualifies as excessive force or police misconduct and determine how best to proceed with your legal battle.

What Qualifies as Excessive Force?

Excessive force refers to a situation in which a law enforcement officer uses force in excess of what is considered reasonably necessary to make an arrest, diffuse a threat, or protect themselves or others from danger.

Under Pennsylvania law (Pennsylvania General Assembly Title 18 Section 508), an officer is allowed to “use any force which he believes to be necessary to effect the arrest or defend himself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest.”

However, if the police officer exceeds the minimum amount of force necessary against the suspect or alleged defendant, it may be considered to be excessive force. A police officer may be held liable — or even charged with a crime — for using excessive force or deadly force.

Excluding Evidence Obtained Through Misconduct

In order to prevent police misconduct, the exclusionary rule was introduced. The rule allows the Pennsylvania court to exclude any incriminating evidence from being introduced at trial if there is proof that the evidence was obtained through misconduct or in violation of the constitutional rights of the alleged defendant.

If the evidence against you was procured through excessive force or police misconduct, a skilled criminal defense attorney can invoke the exclusionary rule and prevent such evidence from being presented during trial.

Reasons an Officer May Justify the Use of Excessive Force

Here are some reasons why a law enforcement officer may claim to have used excessive force on someone:

  • The suspect appeared to pose an imminent threat to the police officer or other individuals

  • The crime committed was extremely serious

  • The victim was resisting arrest or trying to flee

  • The victim attacked the officer during the arrest

  • It was necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony

  • Self-defense

If you or a family member has recently been a victim of excessive force and police misconduct, it is important that you reach out to a knowledgeable attorney right away. Your attorney can offer you the assistance and aggressive representation you need to fight the charges levied against you.

Get the Legal Help You Need from an Experienced Attorney

While law enforcement officers are dedicated to keeping citizens safe, some police officers may abuse their privilege and authority. When this happens, a victim of police misconduct may find themselves facing criminal allegations. Hiring an aggressive and skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial to explore your possible legal options and determine your best course of action.

Here at my firm, I’m committed to offering comprehensive legal counsel and reliable advocacy to clients in their criminal cases. As your legal counsel, I can evaluate and investigate all of the facts of your case and outline an effective strategy to fight the criminal charges against you.

Even if the police obtained evidence through misconduct, or unlawful search or seizure, I will seek to invoke the exclusionary rule and refute the accusations against you. Using my extensive experience, I will guide you through every phase of the legal process and make sure you’re given fair treatment.

Contact my firm — Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. — today to schedule a consultation. I can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and aggressive representation you need to fight your police misconduct case. My firm is proud to represent clients throughout Pittsburgh, Fox Chapel, Shaler Township, Aspinwall, and Penn Hills, Pennsylvania.