The Workers' Lawyer & Advocate Helping Employees Recover & Get Back on Their Feet

Top 10 Controversial Police Videos

In today’s technologically advanced world, videos of police arrests and police shootings are becoming more numerous. The average U.S. citizen has access to a smart phone that has recording capabilities. Additionally, many more buildings, businesses, traffic intersections, police vehicles and ATMs are recording their surrounding neighborhoods with high quality video. Below are the 10 most controversial police videos of shootings and arrests that have been released within the last few years. The videos show that cities, states, & municipalities should invest more in body camera technology because it eliminates the need to trust the testimony of police officers and suspects alike when real lives are on the line.

#10 | James Blake (September 9, 2015) – Blake was taken down to the ground, handcuffed and arrested by a plainclothes New York City Police Department officer in front of the Grand Hyatt New York after being mistaken for a suspect of interest.

#9 | Francis Pusok (April 9, 2015) – Francis Pusok was filmed being kicked and punched by multiple deputies as he laid on the ground after stepping off a horse.

#8 | Charly Keunang (March 1, 2015) – Charley Leundeu Keunang was a homeless man who went by “Africa.” He was ordered by police to come out of his tent after allegedly fighting with someone inside the tent. After he allegedly refused the police order, they forcibly dragged him out of the tent.

#7 | Eric Garner (July 17, 2014) – Eric Garner died in Staten Island, New York City, after a police officer put him in what has been described as a “chokehold” for about 15 to 19 seconds during an arrest.

#6 |  Sandra Bland (July 13, 2015) – Sandra Bland was an African-American woman who was found hanging in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. Her death was classified as a suicide by police and the county coroner, and was followed by protests against her arrest, disputing the cause of death and alleging racial violence against her.

#5 | Freddie Gray (April 12, 2015) – Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for possessing what the police alleged was an illegal switchblade. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center.

# 4 | Ricardo Diaz Zeferino (June 2, 2013) – Ricardo Diaz Zeferino was fatally shot by three Gardena police officers eight times, and another man was injured from one bullet. The men were involved in the report of a stolen bicycle, and were instructed to place their hands on their heads. Seferino made a movement and officers fired at him, although no weapon was found on him.

# 3 | Oscar Grant III (Jan. 1, 2009) – Oscar Grant III was fatally shot by BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, United States, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009

#2 | Walter Scott (April 4, 2015) – Scott, a black man, was fatally shot by Michael Slager, a white North Charleston police officer. Slager was charged with murder after a video surfaced contradicting his initial police report. The video showed him shooting the unarmed Scott from behind while Scott was fleeing.

#1 | Tamir Rice (Nov. 22, 2014) – Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy shot and killed by officers in Cleveland, Ohio.  A caller reported that a male was pointing “a pistol” at random people in the Cudell Recreation Center. At the beginning of the call and again in the middle he says of the pistol “it’s probably fake.”

Battery by Police Officer In Police Shootings

To establish a claim for battery in California against a police officer (in connection with police shootings), a Plaintiff must prove all of the following: (if any element is missing, there is no battery by a police officer):

1.  That officers touched the Plaintiff or caused the visitor to be touched;

2.  That the officers’ used unreasonable force to (arrest/prevent the escape of/overcome the resistance of) the Plaintiff;

3.  That the Plaintiff did not consent to the use of that force;

4.  That the Plaintiff was harmed; and

5.  That the officers’ use of unreasonable force was a substantial factor in causing the Plaintiff’s harm.

A peace officer may use reasonable force to arrest or detain a person when he or she has reasonable cause to believe that that person has committed a crime.  Even if the police officer is mistaken, a person being arrested or detained has a duty not to use force to resist the police officer unless the police officer is using unreasonable force.

When California jury’s decide whether a police officer used unreasonable force, they must determine the amount of force that would have appeared reasonable to a police officer in the officer’s position under the same or similar circumstances.  California juries consider these 3 factors:

1.  The seriousness of the crime at issue;

2.  Whether the Plaintiff reasonably appeared to pose an immediate threat to the safety of the police officers or others; and

3.  Whether the Plaintiff was actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest.