Filing a Lawsuit Against the Police for Excessive Force
Victims of police brutality are often left with permanent physical and psychological injuries. If your loved one has been the victim of excessive force by the police, you need an advocate who is not afraid to fight. The idea of taking on a law enforcement agency is daunting. An experienced Michigan civil rights lawyer understands the challenges of standing up for victims of police misconduct.
What Is Excessive Force?
The police are tasked with protecting citizens. But law enforcement officers cannot use more force than reasonably necessary. A police officer may be held accountable for using excessive force during an arrest, an investigatory stop, or other seizures. Additionally, a police officer may also be liable for not stopping another police officer from using excessive force. Common examples of excessive force include using a taser or chemical agent unnecessarily, striking, hitting, choking, or kicking someone who is retrained or incapacitated. Shooting an unarmed person who does not pose a threat is another glaring example.
What are the Challenges of Excessive Force Lawsuits?
Proving that the police used excessive force is not always easy. The most significant challenge in pursuing a claim for excessive use of force is known as qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a legal defense that releases law enforcement officers from civil liability. Qualified immunity is a popular tool for law enforcement since it permits them to avoid accountability for their misconduct. When ordinary citizens break the law, they can be sued. But police officers are held to a different standard. Police officers can be held accountable only when they violated rights that were “clearly established” in prior cases. This standard often gives the police a pass to violate people’s constitutional rights and get away with it. Thus, victims of police misconduct must have an experienced excessive force attorney on their side.
What Should You Do If You Are a Victim of Excessive Force?
If you are arrested, the first thing you should not do is agree to a plea deal to “make it all go away.” If you plead guilty, it could have a devastating impact on your excessive force claim.
You should always speak with an experienced police brutality lawyer to ensure that you approach your criminal case the right way. Usually, an excessive force lawsuit is not brought until your criminal case is finished.
Should You Pursue a Lawsuit Against the Police for Excessive Use of Force?
If you or your loved one was seriously injured by a police 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 city that employed him and failed to train him, since municipalities must provide proper training and supervision of their police officers. Cities must implement and enforce policies that are not unconstitutional, and which prevent misconduct by the police. When they fail to do so, they can be held accountable.
Talk to an Excessive Force Attorney Today
We have extensive experience helping people who have had their civil rights violated by the police. To learn more, please contact us today.