This week, Louisville, Kentucky police shot and killed a man. Police officials will now investigate to determine whether the police officers were justified in shooting the man, and whether charges should be brought against the police officers. Regardless of that determination, the family of people who are shot and killed by police may have legal claims against the officers involved.

In a police shooting, police officers may have violated the person’s civil rights. To prove a civil rights violation, the person who was shot, or his legal representatives, must show that the police officers were objectively unreasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting the officers, without regard to the officers’ underlying intent or motivation.

Police officers may only use deadly force against a fleeing suspect where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others.

In a non-shooting case, where a person believes the police used excessive force against them, commonly referred to as police brutality, police officers may have violated the person’s civil rights.  To determine whether a civil rights violation occurred, courts look at such factors as the need for the application of force, the relationship between the need and the amount of force that was used, the extent of injury inflicted, and whether force was applied in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline or maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm.

When police officers commit civil rights violations, they should be held accountable. Accountability for such police officers protects the public and it protects police officers who act in good faith and take every reasonable step to follow the law.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a police shooting or of excessive force by a Kentucky police officer, Craig Henry PLC offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and advise you of your legal options.

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