Media hype might give the impression that the police departments are invincible entities that never face any consequences of their mistakes. The reality is that police officers regularly face legal repercussions for all sorts of misconduct and brutality incidents.
If you were involved in an incident in which you feel the police stepped outside of their boundaries and violated your rights, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a qualified Pennsylvania police brutality lawyer today. They can tell you whether or not you have a case.
Are there laws against police brutality?
There are laws that prohibit police brutality, but what is considered “brutality” is often debated. The laws against police misconduct can also be subjective based on the circumstance. An experienced police brutality lawyer is essential if you want to cut through the subjective nature of these incidents and convince the courts that what the police did was illegal.
Under the United States Constitution, police brutality is banned by multiple amendments.
The 4th Amendment protects everyone from unreasonable search and seizure, and the 8th Amendment protects us from cruel or unusual punishment.
Examples of violations of 4th Amendment rights are:
- Police doing a home search without a warrant or probable cause
- Wrongful arrest
- Wrongful detention
- Police confiscating your belongings for no reason
Examples of violations of 8th Amendment rights are:
- Unnecessary use of a weapon
- Use of weapons when a suspect is already apprehended and not a threat
- Allowing K-9 dogs to bite and maul suspects when they are already under control and no longer a threat
- Cruel and unreasonable treatment in custody. For example, leaving a suspect in the back of a hot car for hours on end.
Police will always try to defend their actions based on the notion that they were facing some sort of threat during the incident. If they beat someone with a baton, they will justify it by saying that that person was dangerous and resisting arrest. If they shoot someone, they will justify it by saying that the person was armed and capable of killing or hurting them. It’s the job of the plaintiff and their attorney to delegitimize these justifications in the eyes of a judge and jury.
Occasionally, if a police department is well aware that they made a mistake, they may attempt to settle with a plaintiff outside of court. Most of the time, however, police brutality lawsuits end up being fairly extensive litigation processes.
Should a plaintiff win the lawsuit, compensation varies greatly depending on the incident. Being wrongfully arrested or detained can end up being thousands of dollars, whereas severe personal injury or wrongful death can yield millions.
If you’re looking for compensation for a police brutality incident in Pennsylvania, get in touch with a qualified attorney today. Lawyers are available all across the state, from Philadelphia to Adamstown.