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New reforms initiated by New Jersey’s Attorney General will change the way many police departments handle arrests and perform investigations into police misconduct. Following the publication of The Force Report, an investigation conducted by NJ Advance Media revealed a lack of observation into various police departments.
The attorney general released a set of orders to the state police departments and prosecutors that focused on providing greater transparency and accountability. Hoping to prevent further misconduct and police brutality, the new commands will enforce new standards. These standards include regulating the use of force by police departments, the internal affairs investigation process, and police training.
A major component of the attorney general’s reform program is the creation of a public database that tracks the use of police force rates. Six New Jersey police departments, including Dover, Linden, Paterson, South Brunswick, Bridgeton, and Linden, will participate in a pilot program that requires all instances of police force to be entered into an online database. All uses of police force will be reported to the attorney general’s office through a secure online portal. The tracking of police officers that use the most police force in disproportionately high amounts will hold them accountable across the state. Other important reforms include changes in the standards for police training, licensing of police officers, and increasing public access to videos of police encounters.
Several police departments participating in the pilot program have a history of police brutality instances. As a result of a Federal Bureau of Investigation corruption probe, seven Paterson police officers were charged with various offenses for professional misconduct, including use of excessive force. An officer from the Millville department has been identified as having the highest rate for the use of force and has pled guilty to assault in two separate arrests. While the use of force may be appropriate in certain and limited circumstances, the use of excessive force is never warranted. Excessive force is established when a police officer engages in physical assaults or beatings, choking, kicking, sexual assault or rape, and improper use of tasers.
Individuals who were physically injured by the excessive use of force by a law enforcement officer may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. By filing a civil lawsuit against the police officer, their training officers, and the police department, injured individuals can hold these parties responsible for the injuries they caused. Courts have awarded compensatory damages, including the costs of medical treatment, psychological counseling, lost wages, and awards for pain and suffering. Individuals seeking justice against police officers who engage in the excessive use of force should contact an experienced South Jersey police brutality lawyer who can help them navigate the complexities of the legal system.
If you or a loved one was physically injured by a law enforcement officer’s excessive use of force, compensation may be available. The South Jersey police brutality lawyers at Williams Cedar fight for justice on behalf of excessive force victims by holding police officers and police departments accountable. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 856-470-9777 or contact us online. Conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent victims throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and nationwide.