Cleveland, OH – There are various ways that the police can be sued for violent actions against citizens or other illegal behaviors in a police brutality lawsuit. However, for the victim to initially file the case and successfully win a settlement agreement or jury trial, there are some specific findings that must be made and various types of evidence need to be presented.
Laws that form the basis for civil cases against police
Federal laws that prevent government employees from abusing their authority are most commonly used for the initial filing of a police brutality lawsuit. These laws basically say that government workers, including the police, are prevented from depriving any citizen of their civil rights by using their official job duties. When this reasoning is applied to police officers, the law prevents them from doing things like using excessive force, making false arrests, or even murdering suspects who are implicated in a criminal investigation.
Misconduct that causes actual damages to the victim
The remedy in any civil case is damages or money paid out to the victim as compensation for their losses. This means that there must be some kind of tangible, actual harm to the victim that required medical treatment or caused them to lose time and money for some other illegal reason, like an improper arrest. If a victim merely gets into a verbal argument with an officer, or feels that the officer was acting unprofessional without causing a tangible harm or injury, then a lawsuit is likely not the proper remedy. Anyone who has lesser complaints about professionalism can contact the department and make a formal report that does not require legal action. The department may choose to discipline an officer who merely acted unprofessional, but this is done at their discretion.
Examples of legally actionable misconduct
Situations where victims are beaten or shot when they pose no threat of violence or dangers to the safety of others are the most common kinds of police brutality lawsuits. There are also situations where an officer does not have a valid reason to arrest a suspect, but does so anyway through falsifying evidence or other means, causing damage to their reputation and other consequences such as a job loss. These are clear cut abuses of authority that can identify financial losses such as medical treatment costs or the need to change careers. Anyone who is unsure whether an interaction with the police is legally actionable or not should contact a local lawyer and explain their situation further.
Legal help for victims of police brutality
USAttorneys.com is a website that assists people who need help finding a lawyer in Cleveland and other cities around the country. Anyone can choose their location and a practice area to be matched with the right attorney based on their needs.