Trenton, NJ – While police have the authority to make arrests, detain suspects, and use some amount of force to restore order, incidents that involve violence against suspects are illegal under various laws. Both the federal government and various states have attempted to legislate to prevent police and other government employees from abusing their power in various ways. Most of the laws that are utilized to sue police officers are civil rights laws. Criminal laws can also be used to prosecute police officers in extreme cases of misconduct.
Laws that allow civil rights lawsuits against the police
When someone is unnecessarily beaten, illegally arrested, shot, or framed with planted evidence by officers, these are all situations where their civil rights have been violated. Federal laws that say the government cannot use its authority to deprive a person of any legitimately protected right often form the basis of cases against the police. Such federal laws are active in the entire country, and they can be utilized in federal courts in New Jersey and elsewhere.
These laws are most effective when there is clear evidence of police wrongdoing, such as a violent arrest captured on video or other kinds of documentation of unnecessary force. Documented misconduct can help the victim’s lawyer argue that the behavior in question did in fact violate the victim’s rights and caused various types of injuries or damages. Civil lawsuits against the government are essentially meant to force the defendant to pay compensation that is relative to the amount of harm caused by the illegitimate action. This means that someone with severe injuries can generally ask for more money.
Criminal charges against police
All criminal laws that prevent crimes such as theft, assault and battery, and murder can potentially be used against police officers.
The decision regarding whether or not to charge police officers with a crime is left up to the local government and its prosecutors. In most cases, it is more likely that the victim will bring a civil case on their own than the state will decide to formally charge an officer. For the officer to be charged criminally, there must be clear evidence that the illegal behavior had no relation to a legitimate objective while the officer was on duty. Even if charges are filed against an officer, the likelihood of conviction is rare. However, there have been cases where police have been convicted of murder or even financial crimes like insurance fraud.
Lawyers who can help with bringing cases against the police
USAttorneys.com is a site that can help people in any situation find legal help. Anyone who has experienced police brutality in Trenton or other parts of New Jersey can use the directory to get in touch with a local attorney.