One of the most common reasons people call the police in an emergency is because the police have the right to carry firearms and use force when necessary. What might result in an arrest for the typical citizen is perfectly legal when done by a police officer on the job.
Typically, a police officer should restrain themselves and only use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect themselves and the public from someone they want to apprehend. Some departments offer special training on de-escalation and non-lethal defense systems, but most officers know that they can potentially use lethal force if they deem it necessary.
Much is left to an officer’s discretion regarding the use of force, but those mistreated by police officers can sometimes bring civil claims because of the injuries that they suffer at the hands of law enforcement officers. Excessive force and police brutality are issues everywhere, but the problem is serious enough in Louisiana that it has led to a federal investigation of state practices.
The Department of Justice intends to investigate in Louisiana
On Thursday, June 9, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intention to investigate the Louisiana State Police. Specifically, the concern is that Louisiana state law enforcement authorities have a habit of using too much force, particularly when interacting with people of color.
This investigation could very well turn up evidence of systemic racism and excessive force affecting countless people who have interacted with law enforcement in Louisiana previously. While it could be some time before the investigation concludes and releases a report, it could have major implications for Louisiana residents.
What does this investigation mean for people in Louisiana?
Federal authorities investigating state law enforcement could actually benefit those living in Louisiana. If the DOJ determines that there have been civil rights violations and a historic issue with excessive force, then those with evidence of police brutality in their record may have a stronger case if they try to take action relating to that brutality in civil court.
Successful police brutality cases can both compensate someone hurt by the police and also push police departments to change their training and practices. Speaking up when you believe the police used excessive force can seem frightening but will protect not just you but others in the community.