For some, incidents of police brutality are isolated, while for others, they are an everyday occurrence. Certain communities, especially those of black and brown people experience some form of mistreatment by the police almost every day. The Pew Research Center for instance, points out that “[i]n a 2019 Center survey, 84% of black adults said that, in dealing with police, blacks are generally treated less fairly than whites; 63% of whites said the same. Similarly, 87% of blacks and 61% of whites said the U.S. criminal justice system treats black people less fairly.” Their civil rights are abused, and their dignities stolen in a matter of minutes. Although these events can leave traces of trauma, we believe one of the ways of dealing with that and obtaining as much closure as you need and deserve is by suing those responsible. With the help of a police brutality attorney in Georgia, you can certainly do that. If you or someone you know has been physically and/or emotionally traumatized by an interaction with a police officer, here are some important details to keep in mind.
Can You Sue a Police Officer in Georgia?
In the United States, suing a police officer comes with some difficulties, the most significant among them has to do with a Supreme Court ruling that has made it near impossible to hold police officers or other government officials accountable for criminal behavior or civil rights violations against the citizens of the state. This legal doctrine is commonly known as ‘qualified immunity’, and according to Bloomberg News , “it was meant to shield government officials from civil lawsuits that could hobble them in performing their duties. The doctrine isn’t just a shield against liability – it protects police and other officials from having to go to trial in the first place. Since 1967, the Supreme Court has gone on to say that plaintiffs can’t advance their claims unless they show that officials violated “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” In practice, they have to find a prior case similar enough to theirs that the officials should have known their conduct was illegal. The high court has even held that trial courts can skip over the question of whether officials violated the law and instead simply find that no previous decision shows that they did.”
While pursuing a civil case against a police officer may be difficult given the need for precedent, it’s not impossible. As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons why having an experienced and knowledgeable police brutality attorney who is familiar with case law and can discover precedent to ground your case on is so very important. But even if there’s no precedent and you cannot move forward with this type of case you can always make a case for monetary compensation for the damages you suffered during your encounter with the police or as a consequence of it. Please feel free to look through our attorney database for experienced and skilled police brutality attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia who can help.