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Settlement reached in Berkeley police brutality case

While the following story didn't occur here in Brooklyn or even the city or state of New York, it contains an important lesson about police brutality and holding law enforcement responsible when they run afoul of their principles, guidelines and laws.

In December 2014 at the University of California at Berkeley, a protest was held by Black Lives Matter as they called for justice for many unarmed black people who were killed by the police. At the rally, the police were highly confrontational and they were using their batons indiscriminately if people entered a certain "safety zone" -- that is a difficult-to-define space between a police line and the protesters.

One journalist was hit in the head by a police officer as he knelt down to try and take a photo. This is what sparked a lawsuit that was recently settled between protesters, journalists and the City of Berkeley. New guidelines will be put in place that prevent police officers from striking a protester simply because they get too close to them.

This is just one example of how police brutality can occur. Suspects who are being chased by the police can also be brutally treated and injured by excessive force. The police wield powerful weapons -- but they don't always have the law on their side. One such circumstance is if an officer uses excessive force.

If you or a loved one has been injured or negatively affected as a result of an officer's needless and excessive force, then you should consult with an attorney immediately.

Source: Bill of Rights and Dissent, "Berkeley Settles Lawsuit Over Police Brutality at 2014 Black Lives Matter Protest," Jan. 31, 2017

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