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Use of force by police

If you follow local or national media, you may have heard stories about how police officers have engaged in inappropriate conduct. This may happen in Minnesota or elsewhere and might include physical force. In some cases, this force may end up being deadly and an everyday citizen is killed. Just what can be considered police brutality and what is considered acceptable in the course of an officer doing his or her duty?

According to the city of Minneapolis, a police officer is given some latitude with which to make the decision about whether to or not to use force. This latitude is granted in part due to the situations in which officers find themselves and the sometimes limited amount of time in which they have to make decisions. An officer is given the ability to choose to try methods to de-escalate situations or potentially give a warning that force may be used instead of jumping right into using physical force.

Man with brain cancer kills runner in accident

Minnesota residents who are involved in or who lose loved ones in motor vehicle accidents deserve at least to have some of their questions about such incidents answered. These questions often involve or center around why such a thing would happen to them or to their loved ones. People may also ask why a person who caused an accident would make such a dangerous choice.

In the case of one recent crash along a stretch of Mississippi River Boulevard in St. Paul, the answers to these questions are still being pursued. Preliminary information, however, may be offering answers that were not at all suspected by those involved. A 35-year-old runner was struck and killed by a 60-year-old musician driving his vehicle. The runner died as a result of the crash.

Family mourns death of mom, wife due to impaired driver

Minnesota residents know that the risk of a traffic accident is a sad reality on area roads and highways. While some crashes may be only minor fender benders and involve honest people with proper insurance, others are anything but. Too many Minnesotans suffer due to the outright negligence and lack of concern for others.

One family is today mourning the loss of a wife and mother of three young children after she was killed in a traffic crash. In addition to being believed to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the accident, the man said to have caused the fatal accident was driving a stolen sport utility vehicle. Law enforcement is requesting information from the public about the vehicle and another that was seen with it at the time it was taken from a liquor store parking lot the day before the accident.

Are traffic fatalities increasing or decreasing?

Are you one of the many Minnesota residents who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in the past year or so? Perhaps you have even lost a loved one in an unnecessary crash caused by another negligent driver. If so, you may find it interesting to know that across the nation, the number of deaths in automobile wrecks has sadly been rising.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released fatality records comparing the the first nine months of 2016 to the same set of time in the prior year. The results are disappointing at best. Across Minnesota and five of its neighboring states - Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin - a jump of fourpercent was noted. Nationally, there was an eight percent increase in automotive deaths. This marks the second consecutive year for a rise in the number of traffic deaths in the U.S. for this period of time as an increase slightly more than eight percent was noted between 2014 and 2015.

Pedestrians face increased risk on Minnesota roads

While in the midst of winter, fewer Minnesota residents may be outside for exercise or pleasure walks than during other seasons. However, that does not eliminate opportunities for people to be pedestrians. Even walking across a parking lot to get into a store puts someone in that position. Whether walking the dog, heading into a store or waiting for a bus, pedestrians are everywhere and new information suggests that they face more dangers than in prior years.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 17 pedestrians died statewide in 2014. The following year that number jumped to 41. In 2016, 60 pedestrians were killed in Minnesota. This trend in the state mirrors that across the nation. Data from the National Safety Council indicates that in 2009, pedestrian fatalities comprised 12 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in the United States. In 2015, deaths of people on foot accounted for 15 percent of all vehicular fatalities. That jump included a rise from more than 4,100 to nearly 5,400 lives lost.

The Disabling Features of an Accident-Related Ankle Fracture

Car accidents are a known risk factor of operating a motor vehicle. Even riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle has its risks. While some accidents might only scrape the paint, even the most minor of car accidents can lead to serious problems for people involved.

Medical injuries can mount during car accidents and while health insurance might be able to help in some situations, many people still have high deductibles that can create a significant amount of stress for an individual and their family. An ankle fracture is a common injury resulting from car accidents; however, this doesn't mean that it isn't serious. 

Officer subject of police force investigation

Across the country, more and more stories seem to be emerging about the inappropriate use of force by police officers. In Minnesota, residents see, hear and read such reports and it is understandable that they may be concerned about this. Certainly officers can face challenging situations but all citizens still do deserve to be treated fairly even in the face of tough moments.

In Mankato, one officer is now accused of potentially using undue force for the shooting death of a man on New Year's Eve. The incident marks the fourth fatal shooting by a Mankato police officer since 2007 and the most recent other one was in 2013. Reports indicate that a hotel called for police help when a man was behaving erratically behind the check-in desk. An officer used his stun gun to get control of the man but the man is said to have assaulted the officer. The officer shot the man during this alleged assault.

Dealing with PTSD as the result of an accident

When litigating personal injury cases, we have to recognize that not all injuries are physical and therefore apparent. Many people who are victims of an accident or some other cause of an injury find themselves suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

PTSD is a recognized mental health condition that is experienced by people who are involved in or even witnesses a scary, traumatic event. The feelings of fear and anxiety often occur years after the event happened and have to be treated by mental health care professionals.

How serious are motorcycle accidents in Minnesota?

If you ride a motorcycle in Minnesota, you know a thrill and a joy that people in passenger cars can never experience. At the same time, you face a level of risk that is also not shared by people in other vehicles. Sadly, many of these risks are due to the negligence of other drivers. Sometimes a motorcyclist is not seen by a car and other times the driver of a vehicle may disregard a motorcycle due to its smaller size. Whatever the reason, the biker can be very vulnerable to serious injuries or even death when colliding with another vehicle.

In looking at records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a steady trend of many motorcyclist fatalities is seen each year. Between 2011 and 2013, significant increases in the number of bikers killed were seen starting with 42 in 2011 and then increasing to 55 and 61 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The following year saw a dip down to 46 yet 2015's fatality county in motorcycle crashes spiked back up to 61.

Understanding your right to remain silent if under arrest

For many Minnesota residents, the sheer sight of flashing lights in a rear-view mirror for a minor traffic infraction can be scary enough. When interactions with police involve potentially more serious situations, it is understandable that you can be very scared and unsure of what you can or should do - or what you should not do. Knowing your rights at this time is an important way of staying protected through a very uncertain experience.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Fifth Amendment guarantees your right to avoid answering police questioning. It is a fact that anything you say to officers may be used against you and you may not always know how certain phrases or responses could be interpreted differently than you intend. You should at least identify yourself and if you are stopped in a vehicle, provide your driver's license and insurance information but you do not need to offer anything else.

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