Concerns about racial profiling and other forms of prejudice within the criminal justice system are often confirmed by the improper actions of some individuals. While racism in law enforcement has been a known issue for decades, it seems that some departments still employ officers who perpetuate these kinds of discriminatory practices. One event which shows how these problems play out in communities involves a Cincinnati Police officer making prejudicial comments and using his taser on an 11 year old girl.
Officer makes racial comments and uses force on a child
An officer who suspected a young girl of shoplifting used his taser on her and made racially motivated comments during their interaction.
An 11 year old girl had approximately $50 worth of clothing, food, and drinks in her backpack as she attempted to exit a Kroger grocery store. The officer who attempted to stop her was a 55 year old male. During their interaction, he used a taser on her to get her to stop and obey his commands and he also made comments to her about how there are “no grocery stores in the black community” because of people like her. A subsequent investigation by the department revealed that his actions constituted unnecessary use of force, along with violations of procedures regarding prejudicial comments, and failure to warn a suspect before deploying a taser.
The prosecutor assigned to the case later dropped the charges for theft and obstruction of justice, meaning that the young girl will not face any criminal consequences. The officer was placed on restricted duties while further actions are pending, but he has also been disciplined in the past for homophobic comments. The Cincinnati mayor issued an apology to the family, while the city’s local police union president has already defended the officer’s improper actions and statements. The statements from the union may indicate a widespread pattern of discriminatory attitudes within Cincinnati’s law enforcement, as well a preference for defending other officers rather than the public.
The consequences of racial profiling
In these situations, evidence about breaches of law enforcement policies regarding racial prejudice can be important. It tends to reflect poorly on their character, and a jury would not be sympathetic to them during a trial if these statements are revealed. When there is clear evidence of racially motivated police action, there is little that can legitimately be done by a police officer or their superiors to explain the improper conduct. A skilled civil lawyer should be able to win a judgment or settlement against the department and the individual officer for their behavior, as acts of racism by police violate their own ethical standards as well as federal laws that protect people against discrimination by the government.
If there are relevant criminal charges that were also filed against a victim due to racial bias without a real underlying crime, a criminal defense attorney can also make sure these charges are dropped after looking over the information relevant to the arrest. It is usually best to have criminal cases cleared before a civil lawyer files a lawsuit for damages, but a conversation with an attorney is the best way to get specific advice about each individual situation.
Get assistance from a lawyer in Cincinnati
If you have been affected by racial profiling or any other form of police misconduct in Cincinnati or other parts of Ohio, there are ways to get help. A lawyer who has experience filing lawsuits against the police and investigating their abuses of power can bring a case on your behalf.