Another Alleged Police Brutality Incident Shakes Florida Law Enforcement Agencies
Bamako Walton Suffered Facial Lacerations and Several Broken Bones
A recent suspected case of police brutality, this time resulting in the serious injury of 38-year-old Bamako Walton of Roodhouse, is putting the spotlight back on the actions of Florida’s law enforcement officers. While the facts are still not completely clear, it is known that Walton was the passenger in a vehicle pulled over by an officer with the Jacksonville Police Department in the early hours of August 8, 2010. What remains to be seen, however, is how he ended up with multiple facial contusions, broken bones in his face and hands, a lip split so deeply it needed stitches, and a pool of blood behind one eye.
On August 25, a rally was held at the Morgan County Courthouse in support of Walton and other victims of police brutality/misconduct in Florida (like Omar Mieles, a 19-year-old killed when a negligently operated police vehicle crashed into the car he was riding in), drawing further public attention to the matter. Police brutality is generically defined as force in excess of what is permitted and/or necessary to commit a proper and legal law enforcement function. When police officers act outside the confines of carefully constructed parameters, suspects, codefendants, innocent bystanders and fellow officers can be injured in myriad ways, including:
- Chemical sprays (usually mace or pepper spray)
- Baton strikes
- Bites from K-9 officers
- Vehicle accidents
- Physical blows – whether from fists, kicks or as the result of being forcibly subdued with a tackle or other full-contact maneuver
According to data compiled by the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP), Florida averages between 275 and 300 allegations of police brutality per year, with 283 in 2009. Florida also has the dubious distinction of having two local law enforcement agencies in the top 25 on a listing of reported police brutality/misconduct claims in departments with more than 1000 officers (Palm Beach County and the Jacksonville Police Department).
Clearly, police officers are taxed with a difficult duty. Keeping the peace is not an easy job, but that does not mean that law enforcers can abuse their authority and cause injury in the process. If you or a loved one has been injured at the hands of an overly eager or aggressive police agent, contact an experienced police brutality attorney in your area.