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New York Excessive Force

Whether it is apprehending and subduing a suspect, questioning a suspect or witness, or when a suspect is in custody, police offers are not allowed to use excessive force in the performance of their duties. Using excessive force violates the rights of the victim under the U.S. Constitution. Excessive force occurs when a police officer, peace officer, or other law enforcement officer uses more force or violence than is necessary to get a situation under control. In some cases, the use of excessive force results in the victim suffering contusions, broken bones, organ damage, or concussions. In the worst cases, the use of excessive force results in the wrongful death of the suspect, victim, or bystander. Victims on excessive force at the hands of the police deserve justice. If you or someone you care about has suffered an injury due to the wrongful actions of the police, immediately contact an experienced New York police misconduct lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss your case. We will review the facts and determine the best course of action.

Excessive Force

Police are permitted to use a certain amount of force to perform their duties. Afterall, suspects can be uncooperative and violent, and the situations that police find themselves in can be unpredictable and volatile. Thus, police are trained in marksmanship, taser use, defensive tactics, de-escalation tactics, and crisis intervention strategies. They are expected to understand when and how to use force and how much force to use in any given situation.

When the police go overboard—use too much force given the situation, they would have used excessive force, also referred to as police brutality. Examples of unlawful actions by police that can result in civil liability include:

  • Unnecessary shootings
  • Unnecessary use of taser
  • Improper use of handcuffs and other restraints
  • False arrest
  • False imprisonment
  • Wrongful searches
  • Wrongful police car or foot chases
  • Baton injuries
  • False imprisonment
  • Illegal bodily cavity or strip searches

Note that it is very rare for a situation to require the use of deadly force. In New York, a police officer may use deadly force only if the officer reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to defend the officer or another person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.


Victims of excessive force by the police are entitled to file a civil lawsuit and receive compensation for the losses they suffered. They can sue for both economic and non-economic damages related to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of financial support
  • Funeral expenses

The more significant the injury to the victim, the higher the amount of economic and non-economic damages that will be awarded. Receipts and bills for medical expenses and paycheck stubs will be required to prove economic damages. Medical records and testimony from family and friends will be required to prove non-economic damages.

Punitive damages are another type of compensation. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are not designed to compensate the victim. They are designed to punish the police officer and law enforcement agency for their actions that caused injury to the victim and deprived the victim of their rights. They are also designed to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

In cases of excessive force, punitive damages are typically awarded when the officer’s actions were particularly outrageous and show a blatant disregard for human life. If punitive damages are warranted, they can make up a substantial part of the damage award.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even at a time when it seems as if there are cameras everywhere and there is often videotaped evidence, proving police brutality is difficult. The excessive force attorneys serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates have the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate cases of excessive force in order to help ensure that victims of police violence get the compensation they deserve. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent victims of police excessive force in the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Bronx, Nassau County, Westchester County, and Suffolk County.

Client Reviews
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