You’ve probably already seen this video:
First we see a Southern California man fleeing on horseback from a posse of deputy sheriffs in a dessert landscape. How quaint. That could never happen in New York. Then we see the deputies catch him and beat the s—- out of him. Now that feels more like New York!
Back to Southern California. Those deputies were caught red-handed, on camera, beating their victim up. Because they were caught on camera, the victim got a $650,000 settlement within days of the beating.
But what if a camera had not been there? What settlement would he have gotten then? Zero. The deputy sheriffs’ story: “The suspect attacked us, would not let up, and so we had to defend ourselves”. No one would have believed the victim. Everyone would have believed the guys in uniform. So I am so glad it was caught on camera.
But wait, did the victim get rewarded for committing a crime? The deputy sheriffs had gone to his home with a search warrant for an identity-theft investigation. He then fled. The fact that he tried to escape may, of course, lead one to conclude that he was guilty.
But whatever crimes he MAY have committed, I am glad he got compensated for the unjustifiable beating he took. Not because I want him to get the money, but because I want the County to pay it. The financial sting of that payment will force the County to weed the bad cowboys out of its police force.
New York has bad cowboys in uniform as well. They use excessive force here, too. Not all cops. Some. Where the victim is lucky enough to have the beating caught on film, the case usually results in a large settlement or verdict here as well as in Texas. But when there is no camera, the police officers’ version of events will usually be believed and therefore there usually won’t be any settlement or favorable verdict.
That’s why the smartphone camera is the best thing that has happened to the American Justice system in a long time. In fact, in my opinion, law enforcement everywhere should be required to wear body cameras. Use of force by police officers declined 60% in first year body cameras were introduction in Rialto, California.
I am optimistic that this is in fact the future of law enforcement. Which means I am optimistic that police brutality will soon be only an ugly part of our past.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.