You have constitutionally protected rights when you have been arrested, charged, or found guilty of a crime. Police officers are required to follow and uphold the law, and while most of them do, occasionally officers go too far and violate an individual’s civil rights. These civil rights include freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and freedom from certain types of discrimination. When pursuing a violation of someone’s civil rights, a claim must be brought as a civil action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983. This statute permits civil actions against law enforcement officers who act “under color of law” to deprive individuals of protected rights.
Police brutality is the unnecessary use of excessive force, usually physical, by a police officer. This can be anything from an officer’s use of intimidation to get you to agree to an illegal search to violence such as the shooting of an unarmed individual during a routine traffic stop. Police brutality can occur at any time during an individual’s interaction with a police officer, including before an arrest and at the police station during questioning. While police are allowed to control a situation using physical force, they are required to use the minimum amount of force necessary under the circumstances. Situations such as traffic stops do not generally require the use of physical force yet they can end up that way when a police officer is overzealous.
We expect that those who are charged with upholding the law will also follow the law, but this is not always the case. Some police officers cut corners and do illegal things to get an arrest. Police misconduct includes things like planting evidence, racial profiling, failing to provide medical treatment while in custody, and committing perjury.
False arrest claims often involve violations of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Police officers are not allowed to arrest someone unless they have a warrant or probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime or is fleeing a crime, or when an individual is interfering in a police investigation or arrest. When police officers use things like an individual’s race or nationality as the basis for an arrest, there may be a civil rights violation. A police officer’s badge doesn’t give them the right to arrest someone just because they don’t like the way the person looks. Police officers are obligated to follow the law.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you have been the victim of a civil rights violation, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.