Personal injuries can occur anywhere at any time. One example is the recent injury suffered by a 75-year-old constitutional rights advocate in New York who is now in serious but stable condition in a local hospital. He was reportedly shoved to the ground on a concrete sidewalk during a protest by two Buffalo police officers, who have been charged with aggravated assault in the incident. Reports indicate that the 75-year-old suffered a fractured skull. Injury cases that occur during protests could result in a lawsuit against any negligent actor, including police officers and employing cities, but they might be strongly contested.
Personal injury cases such as this carry specific restrictions that exempt police officers from liability when they injure anyone while on duty. This is the “qualified immunity” defense that officers and local governments want to claim after harming citizens whether it is during an apprehension or not. This incident with a senior citizen serves as a prime example of how police can abuse this legal immunity.
Provocation on the part of the senior citizen might also be used as a defense in this particular case as video indicates that he did approach the officers while attempting to communicate with them verbally. He apparently had no weapon, so the life endangerment allowance will not be applicable as a defense. However, that does not mean the local police department will not attempt to claim assumption of personal risk as a defense. In a case like this, plaintiffs may point out negligence and reckless disregard for victims of assault when officers can hide behind the qualified immunity defense.
It is important to understand that each personal injury case is unique in some aspect. This individual’s age will have an impact on how the injury rehabilitates, if it rehabilitates at all. Someone in a similar position should seek a New York personal injury attorney to represent their case in a timely manner.