Police officers have powers and authority which greatly exceed those of ordinary citizens.
A police officer is permitted by law to use reasonable, and even lethal force, to protect himself and others from personal harm. A police officer also has powers of arrest which permit him or her to use reasonable force in order to make an arrest. This may mean taking physical control of a subject, constraining his movements, and depriving him of his personal liberty.
Although police officers enjoy special rights under the law to apply force, their powers are not unlimited. Any use of force must be justified and proportionate to the threat encountered. Police officers are not permitted to inflict gratuitous injuries on persons under their control. They must act reasonably in all the circumstances, and may not abuse their powers by engaging in arbitrary and bad faith arrests or beatings.
Where a police officer crosses the line into unjustified use of force or arrest you may have a legitimate cause of action- whether for assault and battery, unlawful arrest, or malicious prosecution. People who have suffered physical injury at the hands of the police should consider the possibility of a lawsuit. Even if the arrest itself arose out of some unlawful activity on your part the police will not be justified in inflicting injuries and gratuitous force on you simply because you are subject to arrest. In today’s age of cell-phone videos, police dashboard cameras, and the increasing prevalence of body-cams there is much more opportunity to challenge the police version of events, and lawsuits for abuse of force are increasingly successful,
Police officers may also engage in unlawful arrests and detentions- causing embarrassment, deprivation of personal liberty, and sometimes impacting on your employment. A police officer must have “reasonable and probable grounds” to make an arrest- he cannot arrest you because of your physical appearance, attire, or the fact that you “looked like you were up to something”. A false arrest may be actionable in law, especially where there is a real deprivation of liberty or other consequences flowing from it, such as loss of employment, impact on the custody of your kids, or public humiliation.
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If you or someone you know requires has a possible lawsuit against the police contact us today at 416-488-4110 or toll-free at 1-855-296-3191 or email us at [email protected].