Civil rights protect against police misconduct.
Every American has certain rights afforded to them by the Constitution of the United States including protection from unjust behavior exhibited by law enforcement regarding unlawful arrest, bias-based prejudice and excessive force during police encounters. It is important to know these rights when involved in a police encounter that you believe to be unfair. Recent Fort Lauderdale news reports that three Broward County Deputies are being charged for their actions in a forceful beat down of a 15-year-old high school student, including battery charges and falsifying police reports regarding the video-taped encounter.
Officers shall not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender identity or sexual orientation in establishing either reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or as a basis for requesting consent to search, and in an excessive manner of engagement based on any prejudice they hold. Bias-based profiling is frowned upon in all Police-initiated actions, including investigative detentions, field and traffic contacts, arrests, searches, asset seizures and forfeiture efforts. Officer’s actions will be based on a standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and statutory authority. Officers must be able to support circumstances, facts and conclusions regarding reasonable suspicions for an investigative detention, traffic stop, or probable cause for arrest.
Laws addressing police misconduct.
Federal laws addressing police misconduct include criminal and civil statutes to cover officers’ action in State, county and local jurisdictions including prisons and jails. The 2018 Florida Statutes Chapter 776 outlines the law on “Justifiable Use of Force” as it pertains to Police Officer activity in Section 776.05 whereby an officer is justified in the use of any force:
- Which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary to defend himself or herself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest;
- When necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or
- When necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice.
Police brutality is illegal.
Police brutality is an illegal and actionable offense to be remedied by affected persons, when misguided police officers overstep the boundaries of their “allowed use of force” as defined by individual State and local policy based in part, upon the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
- Excessive Force – utilizing more physical force than necessary to subdue a criminal causing bodily harm or death.
- False Arrest and Wrongful Imprisonment – unlawful restraint of a person’s freedom of movement by another acting in perceived accordance with the law.
- Wrongful Search and Seizure Activity – protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures” notwithstanding probable cause enabling a search warrant.
- Racial and Gender Discrimination – bias-based policing is the intentional practice by an individual law enforcement officer who incorporates prejudicial judgments based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religious beliefs, or age that are inappropriately applied in the performance of his/her duties.
Hire an attorney.
If you identify with any type of police misconduct, Attorney Gabriela C. Novo can review your claim and see if you have a cause for action to cover damages, or a civil rights action. Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality or excessive use of force.
Gabriela C. Novo, P.A., Attorney at Law
200 S.E. 6th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Office: (954) 523-4100
Cell: (954) 822-5198
Fax: (954) 208-0278