Zeff Law Firm LLC
Recent protests against police brutality have made the names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks household names in the US. George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, which sparked many of these protests, comes after the killing of far too many people of color during encounters with police. For African Americans, being black can mean suffering excessive force at the hands of police, too often leading to their deaths. The Zeff Law Firm is committed to helping victims of excessive force and police brutality, and advocating for change to reduce these types of incidents.
Statistics show that police in New Jersey are still more likely to use force against African Americans than whites. In addition, African Americans in New Jersey are punished more harshly than whites in the court system for the same offenses. In fact, people of color are more likely to be arrested, fined, and incarcerated for crimes for which whites receive little to no punishment.
Several years ago, the Zeff Law Firm worked with others to organize an implicit bias summit for police chiefs in New Jersey to show the department heads how police officers hold implicit biases that influence their interactions with the public. This implicit bias training is now required for all New Jersey police officers. This training helps change behavior, even if the police officers were initially unaware of their implicit biases.
For years, the Zeff Law Firm in conjunction with the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP, has been monitoring police activity in New Jersey. They found that when a police incident requires investigation, they often favor them because police officers are authority figures in their communities. This is made worse by the fact that when misconduct occurs, police officers are often investigated by other police officers. This is something Zeff Law Firm has helped change through advocacy. To remove the bias of investigating friends and co-workers, they fought to take investigations of police shooting deaths out of the hands of local authorities, asking the legislature to pass laws requiring the state Attorney General to investigate all police shootings and deaths.
Accountability for police officers is also an important part of reducing police misconduct. This is a piece that has been missing, as police officers are often given little to no punishment for misconduct. For example, Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing George Floyd, had at least eighteen previous complaints against him, but only two of them had been punished.
The Zeff Law Firm hopes that police misconduct will become far less common as the entire country becomes more aware of it. However, if you feel you were a victim of police brutality or excessive force, contact the Zeff Law Firm to discuss your legal options.