If a person is making a civil rights claim against an officer then the attorney representing the officer will most likely raise a qualified immunity defense. Qualified immunity has been put in place for officers to encourage them to carry out their duties without the fear of having to face litigation from the suspects whom they are confronting. A qualified immunity defense implies that an officer will only face legal consequences if they violated a very clear right of the suspect. These cases are often very specific and they have to be legally protected in order for a violation to have occurred.
When an individual makes a civil rights claim they have to make sure they have a lot of evidence against the officer. In fact, civil rights claims against officers are actually more expensive to make for this very reason. A lot more evidence is required to prove that an officer violated the law as compared to prosecuting any other sort of criminal.
Evidence can include:
- Witness statements
- Police officer statements
- Audio Recordings
- Video footage
It will most certainly be difficult for a person to try and make the claims and gather the required evidence on their own. They should not hesitate to get in touch with a police brutality attorney in Fort Lauderdale to help them throughout the process. Attorneys are familiar with all the legal methods required to attain public records and they know how to present the evidence in court in order to win against the qualified immunity defense.
Why are officers given qualified immunity, to begin with?
It may seem like giving officers qualified immunity is the laws way of encouraging them to behave as they please without fear of any legal consequences, but in reality, qualified immunity has been put in place to make it easier for officers to carry out their duties and stop more crimes from occurring. If an officer could be litigated against by anyone then they would often think twice before confronting a suspect out of the fear that they will have to go to court if the suspect decides to take revenge on them for the confrontation.
Even though officers are protected from basic lawsuits, they can still very much be brought to court if a person files a civil rights claim against them. Civil rights claims are an essential form of creating equality and stability in society because they value the rights of the people against being unjustly treated by professionals who are acting under color of law. Thankfully, not everything a police officer does is fair game and the more severely an officer acted up and the more intensely they took away from a parson’s rights, the more chances that they will have to face the wrath of the law for their actions. When officers are taken to court their qualified immunity defense will only work for them if they did not violate a person’s constitutional rights.