Many people fear arrest because of the potential police officers have to
cause severe damage to a defendant. There have been hundreds of cases
of law enforcement causing damage to a defendant during an arrest. When
police officers needlessly cause harm to a person they are placing under
arrest, this is called excessive force.
Under old Illinois laws, a police officer or anyone he or she has summoned
to assist him in arresting a suspect can legally use any force he or she
reasonably believes to be necessary. For example, if a person is resisting
arrest, a police officer can use force to subdue the person so the suspect
can be placed under arrest. Where the law doesn’t protect an officer
is when he or she uses force likely to cause death or great bodily harm
if he or she doesn’t believe such force is necessary.
Proving a law enforcement officer used excessive force could sometimes
be difficult because it required understanding what the officer was thinking
at the time of the arrest. How does one prove the officer had “reasonable”
belief excessive force was necessary during an arrest? Likewise, is it
possible to show an officer feared or didn’t fear for his life when
he caused the death of a suspect during an arrest?
Because many incidences have led people to question the validity of this
argument, Illinois became one of the first states to pass police reform
legislation regarding excessive force. In 2015, Illinois Governor Bruce
Rauner signed a law improving training for police officers and banning
the excessive use of force (such as chokeholds).
The bill also established rules for racial sensitivity training and reporting
requirements for officers who make stops and arrests. Likewise, it outlines
standards on when officers need to have body cameras on and how long recordings
should be kept.
If you feel a police officer used excessive force on you during an arrest,
talk to our skilled
Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney Steven Fine has more than 20 years of legal experience to offer your case. Let us
see what we can do to defend your rights and freedom.
Contact us at (312)436-0638 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.