Is evidence really important in an excessive force lawsuit against Jackson Mississippi police?

Mar 18, 2020 9:05 PM ET

Burden of proof.

The burden of proof falls upon a victim for excessive force police brutality claims filed in Jackson Mississippi.  It is important to document all evidence and safeguard it to support actions occurring during a police encounter gone sideways.  The 1989 U.S. Supreme Court Case of Graham v. Connor is the supporting “go to” case law regarding excessive force options for police officers, and Bott v. Wood speaks to preservation of evidence.  

Safeguarding evidence.

The concept of Spoliation of Evidence has its roots in Mississippi as the first statement of law regarding the destruction of evidence consequential to subject litigation. One of the most important things a lawyer can do after taking on a case regarding legal action against excessive force claims is to proactively work to preserve the evidence. Unethical law enforcement officers may have access to evidence storage rooms, and sometimes things may be lost which could weaken a case.  Although ethics and civil procedure rules apply to preserving evidence, sending relevant parties a formal letter demanding all evidence be preserved, itemizing as much information as possible is a prudent practice among legal professionals who depend on evidence to build a solid case. Spoiled evidence includes the intentional destruction of evidence that would suppress the truth, indicating actions of fraud in the legal proceeding.  . 


The Graham ruling recognizes that an officer may use that amount of force which is reasonable and necessary based on a balance test where an officer’s actions are “objectively reasonable” given the “totality of the circumstances.” In two separate cases of excessive force, video proof was among deciding factors for the outcomes in the Rodney King case and a more recent case in Jackson.  Without this evidence, the proof related to the Graham Factors may not have been substantiated. 

This means that the officer must consider what is often referred to as the “Graham Factors:”

the severity of the crime at hand;
immediate threat to officer, others or suspect based on criminal action;
suspect is actively resisting arrest or fleeing the crime scene.

The Rodney King video supported objectionably reasonable force at its outset that escalated into continued brutality once the victim was subdued. A Jackson case revealed an award of damages based on video evidence proving that excessive force was used against a man after a traffic stop.

Call an attorney.

An experienced attorney at the Ballard Law Firm can assist with a case against the Jackson Police Department for the use of excessive force after reviewing supporting evidence. 

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Contact Information:
Ballard Law, PLLC, Attorney at Law
108 S President St.
Jackson, MS 39201
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(769) 572-5111

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