Lee County Florida is on the Gulf Coast of the state. Many know this area for Fort Myers and Cape Coral which are the largest cities in the county. Like other parts of the USA, Lee County has also had issues with police brutality and misconduct over the years. Even though incidents such as police beatings and false arrests happen regularly without much consequence to the guilty officers, there are specific laws designed to protect people from these kinds of actions.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has been the subject of a number of investigations. These include an officer robbing and beating a man while on duty. Another incident involved a Fort Myers Shores resident beaten by an officer to the point where his jaw had to be wired shut and he developed vision problems. There are likely many other incidents involving violence and planted evidence that have never been reported. Citizens in Lee County, just like many other parts of the nation, need to be mindful of their local police and make sure they are using their authority to prevent crime and protect taxpayers rather than create additional problems. The federal government has acted in the past to empower citizens against these kinds of incidents.
The Civil Rights Act
There are a number of federal laws meant to protect citizens of the United States against unfair or discriminatory acts by government employees. When police officers engage in improper conduct while on duty that hurts people, The Civil Rights Act can be used as their main source of protection. Any lawyer who is licensed to practice in the local federal courts can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
When police officers are working, they are given a certain level of discretion to use force and their arrest powers to prevent crime. They receive a certain level of immunity for normal levels of conflict and violence that may occur when dealing with criminal situations on a daily basis. However, things like excessive violence, beatings, and false arrests are not allowed and The Civil Rights Act has been used to sue police officers in this regard. The law essentially says that anyone who is a government employee or acting under the government’s authority cannot take away a person’s rights that come from the U.S. Constitution. Civil rights legislation also protects people against acts that are motivated by discriminatory means such as mistreatment based on race, gender, or ethnicity.
It is common for police officers to be given the benefit of the doubt because of the dangerous conditions of their jobs. This is why only an experienced attorney can usually prevail in lawsuits against the police. The default position seems to be that police should only be found liable for civil damages or criminally prosecuted in cases of clear cut corruption and excessive violence. However, presumption this can be overcome by a skilled lawyer preparing an argument that shows police clearly overstepped their boundaries. Cases that have strong evidence of misconduct from videos, pictures, and nearby witnesses are also helpful for plaintiffs because it becomes difficult to explain away a mountain of evidence showing improper behavior.
Contact an Attorney in Lee County
For those who have been victims of police violence and mistreatment in Lee County, there is help available. Local attorneys who know the federal civil rights laws are ready to hear about your incident and take your case to court if necessary.