According to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, an individual can sue for police brutality if an officer of the law deprives them of their rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws. Here’s how.
It starts with hiring a local police brutality attorney. Once you find one in your area who has prior experience with handling cases of this type, you explain exactly what happened and why you feel as though you have a viable case against an officer or even a police department. The police brutality lawyer is going to assess all the details you provide them with and determine if you have a strong enough case to withstand the courtroom.
Some of the more common reasons why police brutality lawsuits are filed is because an officer of the law engaged in one or more of the following acts:
- An officer violated a citizen’s civil rights.
- A police officer discriminated against a person because of their race, color, national origin, sex, or religion.
- A police officer conducted an unlawful search that violated a person’s Fourth Amendment rights.
- He/she applied excessive force, which is a level of force that exceeds what would be considered reasonable given the circumstances.
- They physically or sexually assaulted a citizen or suspect.
Filing Your Police Brutality Lawsuit
After an attorney establishes that you do have the grounds to sue, they will likely conduct an investigation and begin gathering evidence that supports your claims. Aside from taking a statement from you, your lawyer will likely look to see if they can get in contact with any potential witnesses who may have been present when the incident occurred to obtain a statement from them as well. Some other things an attorney might use to support your case include:
- Dash cam footage from the officer’s vehicle.
- Body cam footage.
- Notes from a physician if you sought medical treatment after being physically harmed by an officer.
It’s worth noting that while not all police brutality lawsuits are successful at getting an officer reprimanded for their act of misconduct, that doesn’t mean the victim who sued didn’t receive any type of relief (i.e. settlement). In many police brutality cases, while an officer may be let off the hook with only a slap on the wrist, a victim often recovers compensation from the city to make up for the pain and suffering an officer has caused that person to experience. In 2018, the City of Chicago spent more than $113 million on police misconduct lawsuits and it isn’t the only city using taxpayer dollars to compensate victims of police brutality.
Connect with a Police Brutality Lawyer Nearby to You Now
There are many other steps that go along with the lawsuit process, however, it is best that you sit down one-on-one with a police brutality attorney who can review these with you. Police brutality is a growing issue in the U.S. and the only way to stop it is to stand up for your rights when they have been violated by an officer of the law. To connect with an attorney in your area now to discuss your recent encounter with a police officer, contact USAttorneys.com.