Filing a Lawsuit Against the Police for Excessive Force
Law enforcement officers risk their lives to protect and serve us, but an abuse of their power can leave permanent injuries and psychological scars. If you or a loved one has been the victim of police brutality, you need an advocate who is not afraid to fight. The idea of taking on a law enforcement agency may seem daunting, but the experienced civil rights lawyers at Garrison Law understand the challenges of standing up for survivors of police misconduct.
What Is Excessive Force?
The police are tasked with protecting citizens, and law enforcement officers cannot use more force than reasonably necessary when doing their job. Police officers must be held accountable for using excessive force during an arrest, an investigatory stop, or other seizures. Common examples of excessive force include using a taser or chemical agent unnecessarily, or striking, hitting, choking, or kicking someone who is restrained or incapacitated. Shooting an unarmed person who does not pose a threat is another glaring example. Other examples of police misconduct include racial profiling, improper strip searches, sexual assault, and blackmail. A law enforcement official may also be liable for not stopping another officer from engaging in misconduct.
What Should You Do If You Are a Victim of Excessive Force?
An excessive force lawsuit is not typically filed until your criminal case is finished. If you are arrested, do not immediately agree to a plea deal to try and “make it all go away”. If you plead guilty, it could have a devastating impact on your excessive force claim. We have experience in both criminal defense and holding police officers and government agencies accountable. Speak first with one of our lawyers to ensure your rights are protected.
What are the Challenges of Excessive Force Lawsuits?
Filing a lawsuit for police brutality is not always easy, but you are not alone. The most significant challenge in pursuing a claim for excessive use of force is called Qualified Immunity. Qualified Immunity is a legal defense that releases law enforcement officers from civil liability after they have harmed someone. Under Qualified Immunity, Police officers can only be held liable for misconduct that violates rights which are “clearly established” in prior case law. This defense is a popular tool for law enforcement since it permits them to avoid accountability for their misconduct. Without an experienced civil rights lawyer handling your case, this standard frequently gives the law enforcement a pass to violate your constitutional rights.
Should You Pursue a Lawsuit Against the Police for Excessive Use of Force?
If you or your loved one was seriously injured by a law enforcement officer, you might have a claim under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. Individuals who believe they are victims of excessive force by a police officer may sue the officer individually, along with the municipality where the officer is employed. This is because by law, cities have an obligation to maintain policies and practices that prevent officer misconduct from happening. When they fail to do so, they must be held accountable.
Talk to an Excessive Force Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been the victim of police brutality, it’s important that you speak with an experienced civil rights lawyer to help you understand your rights and pursuit justice on your behalf. Our firm is dedicated to helping people who have had their civil rights violated by the police. To learn more, please contact us today.