Police brutality is a hot topic and for good reason. There has long been a terrible culture in police institutions that squashes compassion and kindness. Yes, police officers have a difficult job of being first responders to active crimes. They get shot at. They do get killed on the job. That still doesn’t necessitate the undue amount of negligence and outright brutality many officers have been exhibiting.

It’s more than just a few bad apples. It’s a systemic issue. If you or a loved one have been brutalized by law enforcement, then you’ll want to follow these steps immediately.

Get in Touch with a Lawyer

On top of your criminal defense attorney, you’ll also want to get in touch with a compensation lawyer to start an excessive force lawsuit. The fact is you can start and win such a lawsuit, even if you’re found guilty of the crime you were brought in for. The issues are not related. If your arm was broken and you were gravely assaulted during your arrest, and you didn’t even resist, then you can and should push forward a lawsuit. Money, as they say, talks.

Draw the Issue Through the Media

It isn’t just you who’s had a bad experience. It’s many. Adding to the voices and keeping the conversation alive by going to the news to talk about your experience is essential to keep the conversation hot. It’s how you can encourage the systemic change that will help to stop these kinds of cases from occurring outright. People speaking up today is why officers wear body cameras. It’s why more training and budgeting are now being put into other support services.

Use Clear Language, Not Buzzwords

Don’t fall into the trap of using buzzwords. Buzzwords like “defund the police” can easily be misunderstood. You don’t want people bickering about what they think that means, especially if your goal is, for example, to expand services. The fact is that police officers should not be the first responders for many calls. Someone suffering from a mental health issue is better spoken to by a mental health expert than a police officer, for example. By diversifying services, the right experts can be put on the scene to save lives and keep officers as a whole safer.

Care for Your Own Mental Health

Being assaulted, especially by people who are supposed to serve and protect, does a lot of damage. You may even develop anxiety or PTSD. That’s why it’s so important to care for your own mental health and wellbeing. You don’t deserve to deal with those scars alone. Take a portion of the compensation money and use it towards talking therapies and, if necessary, physical therapy. With the help of others and a strong support network, you can regain as much of your old self as possible. Will there be lasting scars? It ultimately depends on your case. Some may feel okay for years until they end up getting pulled over for speeding and have a panic attack as a result. Others may constantly struggle a little bit every day. The one thing that remains consistent is that you do not deserve to go through all that alone. Use professional and familial resources to ground yourself and care for yourself after that traumatic incident.