Police / Excessive Force Liability

With the recent protests in the United States over police brutality, it raises the question of when there is civil liability, not criminal liability, to be pursued against the police.

Yes, some police officers are now subject to criminal proceedings in the United States at ever increasing frequency due to public pressure but in B.C., these prosecutions are not that common and in fact, rare.

If there is a criminal conviction against a police officer for conduct in his/her line of work, a civil lawsuit for damages is very likely to be successful. The reason being, a criminal conviction is a deemed admission of the facts of the offence admissible in any subsequent civic lawsuit. If there is no criminal conviction or prosecution then there may still be a valid case.

Naturally, the police will deny any wrongdoing so it is critical to have video, photos, tape recordings and/or independent witnesses that will establish excessive force. If the case is a he said/she said situation, chances of success is very low as the Court often defers to the police officer’s testimony.

If assaulted by the police, try to get witness names and figure out if any bystanders have video or photos. Consult a lawyer right away to get an idea of the approach to take.

The above applies to all people in authority whether it is a bouncer, store employee or security guard. If they use excessive force and injury you then you may have a claim.

The lawyers of Mussio Goodman have plenty of experience in pursuing these excessive force claims.

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