In the past few years there has been much attention paid to controversial cases where police have used (or misused) force to subdue people, and the people have died, or been severely injured as a result.

Are these cases of excessive force? Are the police themselves criminals? Should the police be liable for committing tortious acts?

The Center for Justice and Democracy has just released an interesting and timely fact sheet – “Fact Sheet: Civil Lawsuits Lead to Better Safer Law Enforcement,” that shows that suing the police for acts of violence leads to better policing. The fact sheet contains a number of cases where “[lawsuits have] had a direct and positive impact on law enforcement, with settlements in individual cases leading to better training, safer policies and overall better practices.”

It is a good example of the ways that the tort system, and trial by jury benefits, not merely for the injured victim, but all of us. Unfortunately, as the fact sheet points out, “each case would be essentially barred by current legislation in Congress that would make it nearly impossible to sue the police, no matter how severe the constitutional violation.”

The article may be found here: https://centerjd.org/content/fact-sheet-civil-lawsuits-lead-better-safer-law-enforcement.

It is well worth reading.