Civil Rights Violations
PENNSYLVANIA POLICE MISCONDUCT ATTORNEYS
PENNSYLVANIA POLICE MISCONDUCT ATTORNEYS
Under the applicable federal and state law, more than mere presence at the scene of an alleged crime is needed to prove culpability of an actor or an accomplice. An individual who is approached by the police is free to avoid a potential encounter with police by leaving the scene of an alleged crime. The speed in which a person avoids an encounter with the police and leaves the scene of an alleged crime does not provide police with grounds to stop and arrest the individual. Flight alone is insufficient to establish probable cause to arrest or search.
In those instances where there is no probable cause to arrest or search an individual, there is no justification for the use of any force. If an arrest or seizure is unlawful, any force applied by law enforcement is, by definition, excessive. The use of unreasonable or excessive force during an arrest, investigatory stop or any other seizure of a person’s liberty violates the Fourth Amendment, regardless of whether the use of force was in “good faith” or “maliciously and sadistically for the purpose of causing harm.” Commonwealth v. Wagaman, 426 Pa. Super 396, 627 A.2d, 735 (1993).
It is a common practice for police departments to use taser/taser shocks against civilians under circumstances which constitute the use of excessive force. Many police departments began using tasers without having proper policies in place concerning the use of tasers, how to aim a taser and under what circumstances a taser may be used. In many instances the lack of proper polices and inadequacy of training concerning the use of tasers have resulted in violations of an individual’s constitutional rights. Our courts have held that deficiencies in police policies and training concerning the use of tasers has amounted to an extreme and deliberate indifference to the rights of individuals by police departments and municipalities.
Many police departments have failed to investigate, monitor, scrutinize, supervise or take remedial action or disciplinary action of any kind against its police officers for the employment of excessive force and the use and/or overuse of taser shocks. These police departments have failed to properly afford their officers “End User” training and exposure to a taser shock and its effect on the human body.
Many police departments have further failed to provide an effective “Use of Force Policies and Procedures” defining the departmentally used tasers, the neuro-muscular incapacitation device, taser data port function and the taser’s AFID Cartridge Tracking. These police departments further have failed to effectuate proper policies concerning taser discharge considerations. In many instances, these police departments have failed to train their taser instructors concerning proper policies and procedures to inspect and ensure the maintenance of the tasers, to maintain proper records, return damaged tasers and to monitor data download and inventories on a quarterly basis.
In addition to failing to implement proper policies, procedures and training concerning the use of tasers by its police officers, many police departments have failed to effectuate proper training of its officers concerning the Use of Force Continuum, the Use of Force Matrix and levels of force. Many police departments further have failed to effectuate proper procedures and training of their police officers concerning the use of non-deadly force, non-deadly force implements and less lethal weapons, or concerning the medical treatment necessitated by use of force incidents.
As a result, many officers lack in-service and weapons proficiency training concerning the use of force, deadly force and the utilization of fire arms, tasers, chemical sprays, batons, straight sticks or flashlights. By virtue of the failures of municipalities and their police departments to effectuate proper policies and training for their officers concerning the use of force, excessive force and lethal force and their failure to take proper remedial or disciplinary action against officers for the improper use of force, excessive force or lethal force, violations of the rights of civilians under the laws of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania occur on an alarmingly frequent basis.
The Charles Brothers’ devotion to the law is derived from a family history in the legal system and of service to others. Their father, Charles “Chink” Charles (depicted in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph) held a 35 year career in law enforcement, and was selected to serve as the personal bodyguard for former United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson during their campaign visits to Allentown.