Police brutality in New York and around the country has increasingly come into focus as more police departments are using body cameras. Recently, an officer with the Utica Police Department was suspended without pay after he allegedly used unauthorized force on a suspect after an arrest.

Excessive force

Police officers may only use the degree of force that is necessary to take people into custody. When their actions exceed a reasonable use of force, they might be punished by their employers or face criminal charges. In the case involving the Utica Police Department, officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance on Sept. 4. A man had reportedly brandished a gun at a woman. After the officers arrived, the man fled and reportedly resisted arrest. He was found to have an illegal gun. The man was placed into restraints in the back of a police van. The officer then kicked the man several times in the head while another officer yelled for him to stop.

The Utica Police Department’s response

According to a statement from the Utica Police Department, video footage from multiple officers’ body cameras showed the man fleeing and resisting arrest. It also showed the police officer kicking the man in the head after he was placed in handcuffs and restrained. The police department stated that it does not condone unauthorized force by officers against people during arrests. The officer was suspended without pay, and he may face criminal charges.

Excessive force/police brutality cases can be difficult to prove. Other officers sometimes help the culprits by covering for their actions. However, since many officers now wear body cameras, getting copies of the footage can help to reveal what happened. People who have been seriously injured by police officers may want to talk to experienced civil rights lawyers about their legal options.