Every once in a while, the police officers we trust to keep our cities safe cross a line in the sand. When they do, it’s often very difficult to hold them accountable or get any sort of justice or compensation from their administrations.
Police officers legally operate under what’s known as “qualified immunity,” which means they’re afforded certain privileges and rights in order to apprehend suspects and de-escalate situations. In other words, the police are allowed to use violence and force if they feel it’s justified, and arguing against it afterward is very difficult, but not impossible.
If you feel like you’ve been in a situation where the police have mistreated you, you may be entitled to compensation. To see if you have a case, contact an experienced Maryland police brutality lawyer right away.
Are there any laws against police brutality?
Every citizen is protected at the federal level by the United States Constitution. Specifically, the 4th Amendment protects everyone from unreasonable search or seizure. This means a few things:
- Police officers cannot go into your home unless it coincides with a lawful arrest, have probable cause, are given consent, or if there are illegal items in plain view.
- Police officers cannot arrest someone unless they observe them acting suspiciously and reasonably conclude that they could be committing a crime.
There are other components to the 4th Amendment that protects against police misconduct, but most of them favor the police in interpreting when they can and can’t do something.
Additionally, The 8th Amendment provides guidelines that prevent cruel and unusual punishment to people already accused of a crime or in police custody.
Can I sue a cop?
The key word that pops up so much in laws pertaining to police brutality is “reasonable.” Often times “reasonable” and “unreasonable” are a very thin line apart and depend on solid legal arguments. This underlines the need for a good attorney in a police brutality lawsuit.
An example of just how difficult it can be is the death of 25-year old Freddie Gray who died in police custody in 2015. In short, Gray was arrested in Baltimore under very questionable circumstances and was alive when he was placed in the back of a police wagon but dead by the time he got out. Upon investigation, he was determined to have suffered a fractured neck and pinched spinal cord, consistent with forceful blows. Though this incident was troublesome to many, Federal courts determined there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest that the officers had caused Gray’s death.
Winning your police brutality case
As we can see from the killing of Freddie Gray, getting justice for police brutality requires top-notch legal assistance and a lot of evidence. If you would like compensation for police misconduct in Maryland, get in touch with a qualified attorney today.