Experts Sound Off On Davenport Police Video - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Experts Sound Off On Davenport Police Video


The fallout from the surveillance encounter from between a Davenport police officer and a shoplifter, all caught on tape, has sparked mixed reactions from both sides. Now TV6 is going to the legal experts to find out if this case has legs in federal court as part of a civil lawsuit.  

To evaluate whether or not an officer used excessive force or not, experts say the courts will most likely use something called 'The Graham Factors'. To determine reasonable force, you have to consider these questions: What is the severity of the crime or situation? (In this case Redell is arrested for theft which law enforcement instructors say is a 'low level crime') Is the person trying to resist arrest or escape? Is the person an immediate threat to the officers or others? 

"The issue is whether or not the force that he used was reasonable," Attorney Michael McCarthy says. 

McCarthy has been practicing law for over 30 years, having done work for the American Civil Liberties Union and successfully winning a case of police brutality against a Davenport Police corporal in 1991.  

TV6 showed him this video and here's what he had to say: "They have a case, it's clear that there was an arrest, there was an injury, and the issue then is -- was the injury excessive?"

McCarthy says that all depends on many factors leading up to the incident. 

"This woman is obviously resisting arrest, she's loud, she's abusive, she's resisting after she was cuffed, so they have the right to use reasonable force," he says, "That's for someone else to determine whether or not it was reasonable." 

McCarthy also says Redell's criminal history could play a role in how much the city has to pay up in damages-- if any. 

"Unfortunately for her, she's not a sympathetic plaintiff," he says, "It comes down to this, is the jury going to say, ‘All right, we're going to reward her for misbehavior, for essentially provoking this thing.'" 

TV6 also took the tape to Kimberly Dodson, who has worked in law enforcement for 15 years, has a PhD in Criminal Justice and teaches civil liabilities classes at the Law Enforcement and Justice Administration program at WIU. She had this to say: "I would say yes, the officer crossed a line, I think there's little room for doubt that the officer acted excessively."

But in her experience, it's not always an easy call to make.  

"Because you're trying to subdue the individual, you may use more force than necessary, but that's really a judgment call, it's a split second call," Dodson says. 

She says it's about looking at how the officer acted in the moment, not in hindsight. 

"This is what I have to do right now and this is what I have to ensure my own safety," she says. 

Other factors to consider: any audio from the incident and witnesses, including Redell's one year old daughter in the room.

"There may have been additional verbal cues he was picking up on that we're not privy to," Dodson says, "But I feel they get dangerously close to the one year old." 

It will all factor in how this all plays out.

To read more on this story, click these links:

Davenport Police Accused Of Using "Too Much Force"

Digging Deeper Behind Davenport Police Video