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Law enforcement’s ‘rough ride’ may lead to injuries

Although law officers are supposed to serve and protect, their excessive force may needlessly inflict pain or cause injury.

Law enforcement officers in New York City and across the state hold key positions that allow them to serve the community and protect people from harm. In their attempt to maintain justice, however, some officers may use excessive force and make erroneous judgement calls when apprehending, arresting and booking people that they believe have committed a crime. In some cases, people are needlessly injured and a number of people have lost their lives as a result of mistakes made by law enforcement officers. While there are several cases in the media illustrating officer brutality and excessive force, one case brought to light the dangers of a ‘rough ride.’

What is a rough ride?

The term ‘rough ride’ is used in the department to describe a situation where an officer drives somewhat erratically in order to inflict pain on the suspect who is riding in the back of the vehicle, according to the New York Times. The officer may not use proper seatbelt restraints when loading the suspect into the car or van, and the suspect may be wearing handcuffs and/or leg restraints. This can make the hazardous driving even more dangerous.

When the driver makes sharp turns, stops quickly or suddenly accelerates, the backseat passenger may obtain bruises, broken bones or traumatic brain damage as a result. Although rough rides are generally frowned upon in law enforcement, the technique is still used as a way to punish mouthy suspects or as a display of authority.

Case in point

A Baltimore man, who was the victim of a rough ride in Baltimore, died from the injuries he sustained while traveling in a law enforcement vehicle. According to the Washington Post, the driver of the van was charged with second degree ‘depraved heart’ murder, which is given when someone commits an act out of utter disregard of the other person’s life. The officer had failed to buckle the suspect in the van before driving recklessly, and the suspect broke his neck as a result. The officer was not convicted as there was no way to prove that he was driving recklessly with the passenger in the vehicle.

Upholding your rights

As a citizen of the United States, you have the right to be treated fairly by law enforcement officers. If you have obtained an injury as a result of an encounter with an officer, you may want to contact an attorney who has experience handling these types of civil rights cases. A personal injury lawyer may be helpful in looking at all of your legal options and helping you choose the best route of action for your case.