Deputy in Orange County Arrested on Allegations of Child Abuse
In 2020, a Florida law enforcement deputy was arrested on charges of child abuse after being fired from his agency on the same day for an unrelated matter. The arrest was conducted after investigators were called to the officer’s home and found him and two children, all in possession of weapons: the officer had a handgun, one of the children had a taser, and the other child was in a shooting position with a rifle, body armor, and Kevlar helmet.
The officer, who had instructed the children to shoot at anyone who entered the house because there were “demons” in their home, was detained and taken to a mental health facility under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows the involuntary admission of individuals who may pose a danger to themselves or others. After his release, the officer of 15 years was taken into custody.
Arrests of Police Officers on the Rise
Unfortunately, this incident is not isolated. An officer in Montgomery was recently placed on administrative leave after being charged with child abuse, similar to the officer in Florida, and a cop-in-training from Texas was taken in for two counts of child pornography possession. This issue does not exclusively relate to law enforcement in the United States, either, as a recent case in England revealed that a woman, Sarah Everard, was recently killed by a police officer while walking home.
Litigation against law enforcement has become more prevalent in recent years, as access to the internet has allowed individuals to share information and resources that would not otherwise be accessible, including evidence of cops who break the law. While it may seem that the scales are tipping against police officers, these efforts to remove cops with a history of misconduct only serve to strengthen departments and reinstill the trust in them after recent police brutality protests have put cops out of public favor for some.
The rise of police officers who are being taken into custody has less to do with the frequency of misconduct and more to do with a correction of behaviors that have long been excused due to the office that these individuals hold. Cops and law enforcement officers have an inherent privilege due to their position, which is viewed as highly respectable by some. Only now are these officers facing the consequences of actions that have taken place for years.
Police Misconduct and Legal Consequences
Each year, states are forced to pay out large sums of financial compensation in legal battles regarding police misconduct. Reports have found that settlements in police misconduct cases can cost the state as much as $170,412,049. With the frequency of these incidents and the high price tag associated with them, many citizens are left wondering why no legal accountability was taken by these officers or their departments sooner.
Even though more law enforcement officers are facing the consequences of their misconduct in recent years, many of them escape conviction and sentencing with few officers encountering any substantial recourse for their actions aside from being suspended from their positions. The officers involved in the murder of Tamir Rice avoided charges for their role in the fatal shooting of the 12-year-old boy, as did the officer who was responsible for the shooting that left Jacob Blake paralyzed. An officer in Cleveland was only sentenced to two years of probation after assaulting and abducting the mother of his children, after which time he will return to his position as an officer of the law.
The frequency with which police officers are able to get away with their misconduct and aggressive behaviors has had many individuals questioning whether police departments can truly regulate their officers. Many incidents and reports of brutality are met with internal investigations that are conducted by the departments themselves, which can prove problematic when attempting to bring justice to the situation and reduce how often these crimes are swept under the rug and away from the public eye.
Steps to Take to Report Police Misconduct in Florida
If you have been involved in an incident of police misconduct or police brutality in Florida, you are likely wondering where to turn. Reporting the incident to the same department where you experienced the misconduct can be daunting, but there are a few different ways to approach the situation that can help you seek justice, including:
- Record evidence: Witness testimony, photos, and videos of the incident, your injuries, or the officer will be helpful during court proceedings if the case goes to trial.
- File a formal complaint: All incidents of misconduct must be reported to the appropriate departments, which would be the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
- Contact an attorney: Reach out to a skilled legal professional with experience in police misconduct to help you understand your rights and build your case.
It can feel overwhelming to face an insurmountable challenge like a legal battle with a police officer, but you deserve to have your rights protected. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re facing the case alone, which is why contacting an experienced police misconduct lawyer is so necessary for your defense. Having the strength of someone else on your side can take your case to the next level and get you the compensation you deserve.
Entrust Your Case to a Skilled Police Misconduct Lawyer in FL
Filing a complaint against a police officer and seeking compensation after an incident of police misconduct can leave you feeling hopeless and frustrated. You need a legal professional on your side who will fight for you and your rights. The experienced team at The Umansky Law Firm has proudly helped clients defend themselves in personal injury cases that have been filed after incidents of police brutality, and they’re ready to help you.
Don’t go another day without contacting a lawyer you can trust. Give us a call today.