Bismarck, ND – There are many cases of police misconduct where the victim does not receive any kind of remedy. A number of factors are involved in the determination of whether a police officer will be held accountable and the department or city will actually pay out damages to the victim. There are also related issues with an officer being convicted criminally for severe forms of misconduct. An overview of the difficulties associated with suing the police can clarify why these problems exist. In any situation involving police brutality, the victim should attempt to get the best kind of legal help available to increase their chances of success.
The burden of proof
In civil cases, the plaintiff must meet an evidentiary burden to make the defendant pay out damages for their injuries and losses. This usually includes providing some kind of clear evidence of fault or misconduct. However, police departments are reluctant to share evidence that may implicate their officers, even when things like videos, pictures, and documentation is available. The tendency for departments to hide or withhold evidence to protect their own employees makes meeting the burden of proof difficult, especially if no one who was present during the incident happened to be filming.
Criminal cases can be brought against officers for things like excessive use of force and violence, as well as planted or doctored evidence. However, local prosecutors who usually work for the same city or county as the officer have discretion regarding whether to bring charges or not. There is also the potential that the defense can call other police as expert witnesses at trial and tell the jury that a use of force was justified, and that all actions taken by the defendant were standard operating procedures. This makes it difficult to secure a criminal conviction, and make famous trials of police brutality have resulted in the officers being acquitted.
Mismatches of resources
A person who has had problems with police brutality often simply does not have the resources to go up against the city or county government and win a lawsuit. The victim will usually only have their lawyer working to defend their rights, while a local government may have teams of professionals with similar training on their side. Due to this imbalance in resources, it is important for victims of police misconduct to retain the best attorney that they can find. The lawyer should also have experience in similar cases that implicate civil rights issues and lawsuits against various government entities.
Police brutality lawyers are available to provide assistance
USAttorneys.com helps people find local lawyers who can solve their problems. Anyone who has had issues with the police in Bismarck or other parts of North Dakota can use the listings on the site to get more information.