Jeff Sheppard, Attorney in New Jersey Discusses Civil Rights Lawsuits Following Police Brutality

Posted on: May 14, 2018
NEW JERSEY. When a teenager was stopped by the police, he made a mistake any teen in an anxiety-provoking situation could make. He hit the gas instead of the brakes. The result? The teen crashed the car. When the officer apprehended the teen, he began pummeling him. The teen’s father, believing the police officer’s actions excessive, filed a civil rights lawsuit.

The Atlantic recently published a provocative piece suggesting that the problem with police in America is not necessarily police training, but rather that we as Americans don’t place a premium on courage. After all, it takes courage to restrain from using your gun, especially if there is a risk your life could be in danger. The author of the article pointed out that officers who wrongly shoot or those who use excessive violence are never called cowards. The officers in these situations claimed that they feared for their lives. Yet, their fear was clearly excessive if they ended up shooting or hurting an innocent person.

In fact, when the Atlantic evaluated the history of one officer found guilty of a civil rights violation, his past record shows that he was more likely to use force than other officers. It is clear that this information was public knowledge. Why then was it not used to curb the behavior? Unfortunately, police will often take measures to protect one another, even when these measures often harm the reputation of the precinct as a whole.

At the end of the day, sometimes it takes a lawsuit against an officer to get them off the streets or to hold a precinct accountable when officers act with excessive force. Unfortunately, current culture does not celebrate cops who police cops who use excessive force or who abuse their powers.

Across the country, families who believe officers used excessive force are filing civil rights lawsuits and police brutality lawsuits—and some are winning. In Boston, a mother is filing a lawsuit against the police for shooting her son, who has schizophrenia. Individuals who are mentally ill are especially vulnerable to police violence and brutality because not all police officers are trained in how to handle mental health calls. While the mentally ill are more likely to suffer violence themselves rather than commit acts of violence, their erratic behavior can be confusing to an officer. Add racial bias to the mix and you have a recipe for potential disaster. Families of the mentally ill sometimes have to call police on their loved ones in order to get them appropriate medical treatment. Unfortunately, when they call the police, they also run the risk that untrained officers might act with excessive force.

If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of New Jersey police, consider reaching out to a qualified personal injury lawyer near you. Jeff Sheppard, Esq. is a personal injury attorney in New Jersey who works closely with victims and families to help them seek justice and hold negligent parties accountable. If you’ve been hurt, you have rights. Visit our firm at to fight back and hold those responsible accountable.

Jeff Sheppard, Esq.
750 White Horse Pike
Hammonton, NJ 08037
Phone: 609-605-2717