There are a great many issues occupying the minds of the public in the news at present. One of those many issues that often hits far too close to home for most Americans is the issue of police shootings. With cases like Michael Brown and others still fresh in the memories of many people across the nation, every police shooting that is reported feels like another major blow to the public at large and their confidence in the men and women in uniform meant to keep them safe.
Consistently High Police Shootings
In the year 2015, 991 people were shot and killed by police in the United States and in 2016, that number dropped slightly to 963 according to research performed by the Washington Post. So far in 2017, the Washington Post reports 301 police shooting fatalities. However, different sources have different totals.
The web database Killed by Police reports 355 police-caused fatalities, though some of these are not shootings. Regardless, the numbers are fairly consistent across the board, with just over 300 police shooting fatalities reported in the first quarter of the year.
If you have been the victim of a police shooting, either as the person on the receiving end of the gunshot or the family member or other loved one of the people shot and/or killed by a police shooting, it can be difficult to imagine any type of relief from the pain and damage that has been done. However, you may also be hoping that you can find some kind of justice for what has happened to you and your family at the hands of the police. The question is how do you see justice after a police shooting and is justice in that situation even possible.
Seeking Justice After Shootings Is A Complicated Issue
The answers to these questions are far from simple. After all, if justice was always served after a police shooting, there would be much fewer than almost a thousand police shooting fatalities per year in the United States (let alone the countless other non-fatal police shootings that occur every year as well).
The first thing to keep in mind is that you will need to be your own advocate and will be looking at a long uphill battle following such an incident. Because the police force is a local government entity, they are authorized to use their weapons if they feel threatened or they believe the occasion calls for it. This makes it challenging to prove that they were in the wrong in pulling and firing their weapon. However, that does not mean it is impossible to get justice if you know what to do.
Request Dash Cam And Body Cam Footage Be Released
Police officers do not go completely unmonitored anymore when they are out in the field. Many are required to use dash cameras in their cars as well as body cameras on their uniform when they are responding to calls and situations. This is designed to increase accountability among police officers as well as protect both officers and citizens in their interactions.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a police shooting, you can and should request that the police department releases the dash and body cam footage to the public or at the very least to the family of the person who was shot. The footage on these cameras is the strongest piece of evidence available in such instances. Many times, of course, it seems like the body cameras “were not on” or “not working properly” during shooting which may be indicative that something was amiss with the whole situation.
It Is Advisable To Get Legal Help
Hiring a lawyer after a police shooting is an important step to take in the pursuit of justice. While you can speak to the police department and the press on your own, having a strong legal representation will only serve to force the world to take you more seriously. You will be more likely to see results and be able to pursue charges against the officers involved in the shooting as well as the police department as a whole if you have the right legal representation.