GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WOOD) — We’ve seen a number of incidents lately related to police brutality and the use of excessive force across the country.
Ven Johnson, a lawyer who specializes in excessive force cases, says the biggest thing someone can do if they get pulled over by police is to remain calm. He says not all situations are handled properly, and the most important thing above all is for people to leave the incident unharmed.
“Whatever you do, if the officer tells you to do something, you do it,” Johnson said.
As more and more cases of police brutality are brought to light, Johnson says it’s crucial that people know their rights.
“If you’re being pulled over by an officer, you may not like it and I don’t blame you, you may think that you’re being racially profiled, you may think the officer is being crazy and just harassing you,” Johnson said.
Johnson says if this is the case, you should still make your hands visible and fully comply.
“I would rather you and I have that conversation, whether you and I have legal recourse, versus me having that conversation with your family at your funeral,” Johnson said.
Johnson thinks changes need to be made in the future.
“You and me, if God forbid we were in contact with somebody and they died in the street, we would be in jail while they figure those charges out. Same should be for police,” said Johnson. “A lot of people think we should have independent investigations and since I do these cases, independent by whom? And some people say Michigan State Police, and I love MSP, but it’s still a cop taking a look at a cop.”
Johnson hopes when an officer does do something wrong, their badge is taken away immediately.
“When they put bad cops back on the streets with interactions, people end up dead,” Johnson said.
Johnson also says if you get pulled over to say as little as possible and ask for a lawyer. He believes these tips could play a part in potentially saving a life.