Duval County in Florida is a large region that contains the city of Jacksonville. The police obviously have a lot of crime and traffic issues to deal with in this busy city, yet they also overstep their boundaries at times by hurting people. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been dealing with a number of claims that focus on mistreatment of several individuals. Those who were hurt range from peaceful protesters to the handicapped. Some officers in the department have a laundry list of incidents where they have used excessive force and are the subject of lawsuits and internal affairs investigations. One incident involved an officer speeding in a squad car while on duty and killing a pedestrian. Another episode involved police severely beating a teenager who was already handcuffed. The reality is that these events are much more common than most people realize, and some police officers are more likely to prey upon people than help them.
How do I know if I was involved in an incident that could result in a lawsuit?
Police misconduct comes in many forms. Aside from physical violence, there are also false arrests, racially biased actions, sexual harassment cases, incidents where officers fail to help, extortion, and a number of other inappropriate acts. All of these types of actions and others can possibly result in money being paid out to victims of police misconduct with the help of a skilled lawyer. If it feels like the police mistreated you in your encounter, your instincts are probably right. The widespread availability of phones, cameras, and other forms of surveillance means it is now easier than ever to capture evidence of the widespread police misbehavior that happens in Duval County, as well as the rest of the country. This information and evidence should be provided during a conversation with a lawyer to help make a strong case against the local department.
How can a lawyer help?
Police departments usually do not take significant disciplinary actions against their own officers. Criminal charges from the local state attorney are also very rare against police officers, and an even smaller amount of those charges result in convictions. If you have been mistreated by a police officer, the only effective way to bring them to justice is to retain an attorney and file a civil lawsuit for monetary damages. Other forms of discipline against the police only happen in the most high profile and egregious cases.
In Duval County, Florida’s state laws apply to most civil police brutality claims involving violence and injuries. There may also be related claims your lawyer can file in federal court for civil rights violations related to improper police conduct, especially for retaliation against those who assert their rights. In most lawsuits, the department and municipality where the incident happened may also be joined as parties. In these cases the department or town pays out a monetary judgment or settlement instead of the individual officer if they were on duty when the misconduct occurred.
If you are interested in filing a police brutality lawsuit, do not be intimidated. Contact a lawyer with experience in Duval County and a license to practice law in the state of Florida. You can begin the process with a basic conversation and your lawyer will tell you what to do next.