While out and about in California, some citizens may find themselves unfairly targeted or stereotyped by police. Such encounters can result in the use of excessive force, maybe even severe injuries. Victims of police brutality should understand what happened and how to protect their rights.

HuffPost examines the essence of police brutality. The right informational foundation can set injured victims on the right path.

Defining police brutality

Officers sometimes have to use a bit of force to subdue suspects or otherwise carry out their duties. It is when the degree of force crosses over to unnecessary, excessive or unacceptable that officers yield brutality in place of proper judgment. That said, the barometer for police brutality shifts from case to case.

Where to look for evidence 

As noted by the ACLU, victims need to know where to look to build a case. For instance, looking into a police department’s written and formal policies regarding proper police conduct regarding specific situations may uncover how much force officers can use in certain scenarios. Lawsuits from other citizens alleging police brutality could exist. Depending on the victim’s race, the police department could harbor an undertone of racism, as potentially evidence by how many minority employees the department has and their positions.

Civilian resources

There are also civilian resources that keep track of police activity. Looking into such groups, as well as their legitimacy, could uncover more evidence of police brutality.

Obtaining internal police reports regarding physical force is also a good idea. Officers may have to fill out such reports every time they resort to physical force while performing their duties.