Injuries and Deaths While In Police Custody
We applaud the valiant efforts made throughout South Carolina by state and local police to protect the general public and to keep us free from harm. Male and female officers put their lives on the line each and every day to ensure our safety. If you break the law or are suspected of committing a crime, you will be charged and possibly arrested. At the same time, you do have rights. If you are arrested, there is a standard of care to which you are entitled. Injuries occurring during a police stop or arrest have made headlines and caused controversy for police departments throughout the country. Even generally law-abiding citizens can find themselves under questioning or even placed under arrest. By knowing your rights and cooperating with law enforcement, you may be able to diffuse a potentially volatile situation.
Arrest Related Injuries and Deaths
According to the FBI’s Urban Crime Report (UCR) Program, police in this country make over 12 million arrests each year. The highest numbers of arrests are for drug violations, theft, and driving under the influence. While the UCR does not collect information on the number of people who are actually convicted of the crimes for which they have been charged, the U.S. Bureau of Justice puts the conviction rate generally below 50 percent.
Regardless of whether or not you are guilty of the charges against you, you are entitled to a standard of care, both while being placed under arrest, as well as in police custody. According to the Bureau of Justice, common causes of arrest-related injuries and deaths include:
- Use of force by state and local law enforcement
- Attempts to elude law enforcement
- Fighting or disputes with other inmates
- Accidents that occur during arrest or holding
- Intoxication-related incidents while being held
- Medical conditions and illnesses that are aggravated as a result of arrest or imprisonment
A recent case discussed on South Carolina Public Radio (ETV) involves the April 2015 arrest-related death of a Baltimore man. In the process of his arrest he suffered a fatal spinal injury. In September 2015, his survivors received a $6.4 million settlement from the City of Baltimore.
What To Do If You Are Arrested
If you should find yourself on the wrong side of law enforcement for any reason, it is important to be aware of your rights if stopped by police or if facing arrest. These include:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to refuse consent for a search
- The right to not be unlawfully detained
- The right to a lawyer if you are placed under arrest
- The right to make a phone call if you are being charged
Regardless of how law-abiding you may be, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advises all people to be prepared just in case. Have your loved one’s phone number memorized, as well as the number for your attorney. The ACLU also advises people who are stopped for any reason by law enforcement to stay calm and cooperate, do not attempt to interfere or argue with the police, do not lie or provide false documents, and commit to memory the details surrounding your encounter.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured during a police stop or while being detained, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. Our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys will defend your rights and help you get the compensation you need for your injuries. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we are prepared to help. Call us today to get a free review of your case.