Franklin County Florida is a small part of the Florida panhandle that borders the ocean. The county seat is Apalachicola, which is about 75 miles from the state capital of Tallahassee. The main local law enforcement agency is the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Even though Franklin County is made up of small towns, there is still the possibility of police brutality or other kinds of misconduct. Both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Apalachicola Police Department provide contact information that allows for complaints about mistreatment. In many cases, the department will go through the formality of taking a complaint, and there is a process to investigate citizen accusations, but little is done and accusations against officers are almost never sustained or taken very seriously. Evidence of these complaints also tends to disappear over time.
The ideal situation is that the department or the state investigates the allegations and disciplines the officer accordingly if misconduct in discovered. However, it is not likely that normal citizen complaints result in much action being taken against the police. The internal affairs sections of most departments will not usually hand out any kind of severe disciplinary measures. They are all co-workers who will look out for each other at the expense of the public. Local prosecutors rarely file criminal charges against the police and this mechanism for discipline is mostly limited to cases involving deadly force. Even when a criminal case against a police officer goes to trial, a resulting conviction is rare because of the latitude officers are given in the line of duty.
What Should I do Instead?
One of the best courses of action is to file a civil lawsuit if an officer has either injured you, falsely arrested you, murdered a family member, interfered with medical treatment, or any other form of misconduct. For any police behavior that has caused real harm, this is the only effective option, as victims can be paid for their suffering and the other means of taking action are usually ineffective.
In a civil lawsuit for monetary damages, both the officer and their employing department are attached as parties. This is because the department is liable for an officer’s conduct while they are on duty, as well as the fact that the department has the financial reserves to pay out the judgment after a lawsuit. For physical injuries, the department may be held accountable to pay for your medical bills and any other related treatments or suffering you have had to endure. In situations involving false arrest, it may be possible to make a claim for economic harm that the event caused you by damaging your reputation and ability to find employment. In cases involving deadly force, a lawyer can file a claim for a wrongful death that will compensate the surviving family members for the value of the deceased person’s life.
Contact a Lawyer in Franklin County
There are local attorneys practicing in Franklin County Florida who are available to speak with you about mistreatment by the local police. They can recommend a course of action to file a lawsuit or take other measures against the department. Speaking with an experienced local lawyer is really the only effective way to handle mistreatment by police officers.