Selection of a jury in a police misconduct case is in my opinion the most important aspect of a police misconduct case. Particularly when, as often, there will be significantly different versions of events testified to between the person suing the police agency and the police. The lawyer for the police victim must learn about the biases and perspectives of the people who will decide the outcome of the case on numerous issues which will be discussed below.
1) RACE. – Often the victim of police misconduct is a member of a minority community. In many instances the police officers may be white. It us a sad reality that some police officers and their agencies police minority communities and impoverished communities different from how they police in majority ethnic neighborhoods
I ask all. Prospective jurors about their views about their experiences in the workplace with members of the race my client is a member of. Questions about their social interactions with members of ethnic groups that my client is a member of.
2) Another subject the lawyer should ask the prospective juror is the jurors’ knowledge about notable police misconduct cases including Rodney King, Abner Louima and George Floyd.
– I follow up and ask the juror’s belief as to the role of race in those incidents of police brutality
3) Law and Order versus Constitutional Rights-
There is often a tension between maximum enforcement of criminal law and full exercise of such constitutional rights as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Our nation has recently seen this in the responses to the murder of George Floyd. The lawyer must ask about the responses to the civil disturbances and the reaction of the police. This questioning gives insight to the juror’s leeway to acts of use of police force.
4) Juror’ s experience with local police force-
Under the premise that law enforcement agencies may police differently based on the ethnic makeup or socio-economic status of a. Patrolled neighborhood, it is imperative to ask a potential juror about his or her direct interactions with local law enforcement. Similarly, I ask about their knowledge of the experiences the jurors ‘ friends and acquittances have had with law enforcement. Experiences shape beliefs.
My goal with these questions is to identify a prospective juror who can accept the premise that some police officers and indeed some law enforcement agencies abuse and pervert the authority to use force, including deadly force that society accords to the police.
Reach out to the Law Offices of Oscar Syger, a Florida police brutality lawyer who may also be able to assist you with making a claim for damages that can help you pay for medical treatment or the help you may need. Finally, USAttorneys.com may also be able to connect you with a police brutality lawyer near you who may be able to help you with your case.