General Principles of Police Brutality
In order for a crime to exist in the United States, a person must commit a criminal act and have a criminal intent. The criminal intent, or culpable mental state of mind, is defined in four distinct categories: intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, and with criminal negligence.
— Quianna Canada | ♊ (@QuiaCanada) May 8, 2016
A police officer acts intentionally or with intent as to the nature of his or her conduct or to the result of his or her conduct when it is that police officer’s conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or to cause the result. In this circumstance, the police officer consciously wants the conduct, or end result to occur. For example, in a police brutality case, a police officer who points a handgun at an unarmed black man and pulls the trigger with a desire to kill the victim performs the act “intentionally” as opposed to any other culpable mental state.
A police officer acts knowingly or with knowledge as to the nature of her or his conduct or to the circumstances surrounding her or his conduct when aware of the nature of the conduct or that the circumstances exist. [read more=”read more” read less”read less”]
A police officer acts knowingly or with knowledge as to the result of specific conduct when aware that the conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result. For example, the police officer enters an anti-police brutality protest rally with a handgun with intent to stop the movement; while in the commission of the deprivation of freedom of speech, the police shoots and kills an activist who attempts to dissent killings of unarmed black men. While the police did not enter the movement with intent to commit a homicide, the fact that (s)he had a handgun and might have to use it in suppressing the voices of activist is sufficient to show that (s)he was aware that his/her conduct was reasonably certain to cause the death of an individual. Therefore, while the deprivation of the 1st of Amendment was committed “intentionally,” the criminal homicide was perpetrated “knowingly.”[/read]
“When the question whether the appropriate ground for liability is gross negligence, criminal negligence, or ordinary negligence can generate an appellate crisis
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A police officer acts recklessly or is reckless with respect to the circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his or her conduct when that officer is aware of, but consciously disregards, a substantial or unjustified risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. [read more=”read more” read less”read less”]
The risk must be of such nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation of the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under the same circumstances as viewed from the person’s standpoint. For example, an officer who pulls out his Taser at #BlackLivesMatter or #AFAPBM movement, when no protesters are demonstrating violent behavior, and discharges it—the police officer acts recklessly—aware that the action would constitute a substantial and unjustified risk, especially under circumstances where activist are peacefully protesting, and the Taser is withdrawn and discharged when other individuals and children not part of the protest are nearby. [/read]
A police officer acts with criminal negligence or is criminally negligent with respect to circumstances surrounding her or his conduct, or the result of her or his conduct, when that person should be aware of the substantial and unjustified risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. [read more=”read more” read less”read less”]
The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation of the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the person’s standpoint. For example, a police officer doesn’t call the ambulance immediately after an officer-involved shooting. In this case the police officer had a responsibility to call the paramedics and should be the “life-time-death” situation but didn’t call the paramedics immediately—the police officer commits the action by negligence and cannot use the fact that (s)he did not know the victim was dying or would die defense if they didn’t. [/read]