What Is The Law In California
In order to prevail on a California claim or lawsuit for false arrest, the plaintiff would need to prove the following elements:
Once a plaintiff alleges that the defendant arrested him/her without legal process, the burden rests on the defendant to justify the lawfulness of the arrest.12 Common defenses that defendants raise are that they had probable cause to make an arrest, or that they had a good faith belief that the arrest warrant was valid.13
Defendants will likely claim that qualified immunity protects them from false arrest lawsuits, though the statute is unclear whether qualified immunity applies to false arrests.14 But as long as plaintiffs can show that defendants violated a clear constitutional right, qualified immunity does not apply and the defendants can be sued.15
Plaintiffs bringing a false arrest lawsuit in California can sue for monetary damages to cover the costs of any medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any other out-of-pocket costs. In most cases involving police officers, their police department pays any civil damages.16
Can You Sue The Police Department
If youre involved with a lawsuit against a police officer, most likely its because the officer violated one of the following civil rights afforded to you by the Constitution:
- Excessive Force
- False arrest and/or illegal search and seizure
But not all actions are subject to a lawsuit, and police officers have whats called qualified immunity, or a court precedent thats designed to protect law enforcement officers from frivolous lawsuits, and not let the threat of a potential lawsuit get in the way of doing what can turn out to be a very dangerous job.
Who Can Sue The Police Department
Police misconduct can present itself in various forms. A person can successfully sue the police for harassment if they are able to provide evidence proving that an officer either illegally spied, racially profiled or made discriminatory remarks against that person.
Additionally, discrimination lawsuits can be filed if the individual can prove a pattern of racial or sexual discrimination, or discrimination based off of ones gender or sexual identity.
A person can also sue the police for violating their Fourth Amendment rights, which protects them from illegal searches and seizures. Lastly, a person who was a victim of excessive force is able to sue the police.
In any lawsuit against the police, extensive evidence must be presented in order to win, as police officers and departments can be notoriously challenging to overcome in court. However, with the right attorney by your side, your case will have a much higher chance of success.
You May Like: How To Become Police Officer California
When Can You Sue The Police
If you have a claim against a police officer for excessive force, discrimination, harassment or another civil rights violation, you must be able to prove the following:
- You have to prove a pattern of abusive, discriminatory or harassing behavior by the officer in question. Court precedents dont allow lawsuits for one specific incident.
- If you are claiming that you were wrongfully arrested, you have to prove that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated because of the unreasonable search or seizure. In other words, you have to prove that police did not have probable cause or enough evidence to arrest you. Police officers, on the other hand, only have to prove that they believed to the best of their ability at the time that there was sufficient evidence or probable cause for a judge to throw your case out.
- If you are claiming excessive force, youll have to show there was significant injury or death if you are a loved one suing on behalf of someone who died in police custody. Just how severe your injury was and whether it was serious enough for a lawsuit will have to be determined by a judge or jury.
What Happens When You Sue An Individual Police Officer
Bringing a lawsuit against the individual police officer who assaulted you, injured you, or caused the death of your loved one goes a long way toward bringing you a sense of justice. Many of our clients are not simply seeking compensation for their injuries. They also want to hold the officer who injured them accountable. Many officers hide behind the police department, hoping that the problem will just go away and the department will handle the issue. Naming the individual police officer in a lawsuit is one way to hold officers accountable for their personal wrongdoing.
When private individuals who have been injured through acts of police brutality sue an individual police officer, they often name the police officers employer in suit, as well. In other words, the plaintiff will typically name the individual police officer and the Philadelphia Police Department as defendants in the same lawsuit.
Read Also: What Is The Best Free Police Scanner App
How To Begin A Police Negligence Or Misconduct Claim
Assaulted by the police in the UK? What happens if a Police officer assaults you? Can you sue a Cop for assault? These may be some of the questions you are asking yourself after being a victim of Police misconduct in the UK. Or maybe you have suffered as a result of Police negligence and dont know how to go about making a police negligence compensation claim. Well dont worry, all you need to do is contact us and we will help you every step of the way to make sure you receive the payout you deserve via legal aid.
When we receive your call, we will provide you with a free consultancy session. This will give you the opportunity to ask as many questions as you need regarding making your police misconduct claim, and it gives us the chance to get some information from you too so that we can understand your situation and advise you in the best way we can. We can also arrange for you to have a local medical if needed at no extra cost to you.
Then on your command, we will launch your police negligence claims on a No Win No Fee basis. What this means is that you will only be charged legal fees if your case is a success, and so you have no need to worry about any surprise legal bills! Please read further on in our guide to find out more about No Win No Fee personal injury claims.
Suing A Police Officer For Police Brutality
Many lawsuits filed against individual police officers in Philadelphia involve some type of police brutality. Police officers cannot use excessive force against a suspect when arresting him or her. Suppose you have suffered a serious injury during an arrest, and a police officer caused your injury by using excessive force. In that case, you will have a valid legal claim against the officer and the police department.
Proving excessive force can be challenging. Police officers do have a right to use the same amount of force on suspects that the suspect is using against the police officer. In extreme cases, police officers are justified in using deadly force. However, they cannot use deadly force unless the suspect is using deadly force against the officer. Unfortunately, many cases of police shootings are unjustified. When police officers unjustly kill a suspect, the family has a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the police officer and his or her employer.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Get A Copy Of A Police Report
Police Misconduct Case Study
A police misconduct lawsuit was filed involved the shooting death of a twenty-three-year-old man in Flint Township. He was pulled over by police for a traffic stop but got out of his car and began to flee. While fleeing, he was shot and killed by the police officer.
Plaintiffs proved the police officer had no reasonable justification for the shooting. The city then agreed to pay a wrongful death settlement to his family in the amount of $ 1,390,000.
How To Sue A Police Officer/ Police Department
If you have had an encounter with a police officer and believe your rights were violated, there are a few things you need to do to build a strong foundation for your case.
First, you need to save all evidence that could help you prove what transpired during the incident. Photographs and video recordings can be powerful pieces of evidence in this context.
Once you have collected the evidence, speak to witnesses who were present during the incident, and convince a few of them to come out and help you prove your case against the police officer. A few witnesses who were present at the time of the incident may remember what happened and will play a critical role in strengthening your case.
Finally, hire an experienced civil rights attorney who assesses your case and advise you accordingly. The attorney will also evaluate your evidence and ensure it is properly preserved, and all witnesses are interviewed. The attorney will do everything to ensure your rights are protected and a complaint is filed on time.
Recommended Reading: How To Locate A Police Officer By Name
How Hard Is It To Sue A Police Officer In Florida
A bad encounter with a Florida police officer may not only result in an individual feeling uneasy and distraught, but it may also have them questioning whether there is anything they can do to hold the officer accountable for the manner in which they were treated. Can they file a complaint or lawsuit? Will they have to jump through hurdles to get their lawsuit filed?
While filing a lawsuit against a Florida police officer is a bit more complicated than filing a complaint, it isnt impossible to do. In fact, much of the process can be handled by an experienced Florida police brutality lawyer should a victim choose to retain one.
Can You Sue For Police Misconduct
Law enforcement officers have a dangerous job protecting communities and keeping people safe. The people who serve as police officers have a difficult job, and many of them are professionals who treat citizens fairly and equally. However, some officers abuse that power and dishonor their uniforms. Police officers are not above the law, and if youve been a victim of police abuse, you might wonder if you can sue the police. Use this guide to learn the answer to this question and others involving police abuse.
You May Like: What Degree Do I Need To Be A Police Officer
Illegal Search And Seizure
Unlawful search and seizure is another type of police misconduct. Illegal search and seizure occur when law enforcement conducts a search of a persons home, property, or person without a valid reason. Depending on the circumstances, law enforcement typically needs probable cause to perform a search, and police typically need a warrant as well. If an officer does not adhere to these laws, then they have committed police misconduct.
How Do You Determine What Is Excessive Force
Excessive force refers to physical force used beyond what a police officer reasonably believes is necessary under the circumstances. This would include brutal physical force, such as punching or striking a person with a blunt instrument like flashlight, club, or other equipment.
Excessive also includes the use of a taser or stun guns when one is not necessary for restraint. Officers are trained to use the least amount of force possible to arrest or apprehend a criminal or crime suspect. Law enforcement officers cannot legally use physical force to coerce a statement or admission for anyone.
In addition, the police cannot use a choke hold or similar tactic that is in excess of the force required to effectuate an arrest. Recently, several noted excessive force deaths were caused by asphyxiation due to choking or deadly restraint techniques.
Finally, the use of excessive force has been found when officers place handcuffs too tightly on a suspect. This can cause significant nerve damage to the arms and hands. There is a proper way to place handcuffs to not injure a person.
Don’t Miss: Can The Police Get Keys Out Of A Locked Car
Can I Sue The Police For False Charges
Not a day goes by without coming across a story of an exonerated death row inmate or an overturned conviction. But, what you hardly hear about is whether or not they were compensated for being wrongfully convicted.
While it is illegal for a police officer to deprive you of your constitutional rights, a lawsuit against them for false charges would have to prove that they didnt have probable cause to believe that you had committed or were in the process of committing a crime at the time the arrest took place.
Alternatively, you would have to prove that you had a legal right to engage in the activity that prompted the arrest. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney will help steer the process.
Civil Rights Act Section 1983
When an individual has been the victim of a violation of their civil rights, they may be able to file a lawsuit against the police under the Civil Rights Act of 1871. This is done primarily under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which is generally referred to as a Section 1983 claim. A Section 1983 claim is a civil suit by a member of the public against the police department or government agency that violated the individuals rights. Generally, a successful Section 1983 claim requires the deprivation of an individuals civil rights, by a government official, acting under the supposed power of the law.
Also Check: How Do You Become A Police Officer In Minnesota
Our Tradition Of Excellence
The Brown family has maintained a tradition of excellence as legal practitioners for more than 65 years. For three generations the family has championed their clients in a manner that greatly exceeds the expectations of the client. The representation of their clients demonstrates the ideal practice of law.
Can I Sue The Police For A Violation Of My Civil Rights
Attorney James Minick The NC DWI Guy
Although police officers take an oath to protect and serve the public, there are certain times where the police do not uphold this oath and subject members of the public to violations of their civil rights through unreasonable searches and seizures or excessive force. When this happens, an individuals civil rights under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution are violated. As such, can an individual sue the police?
You May Like: How Do I Get My Police Report
Can I Sue The Police In California
Shouse Law Group » California Criminal Defense Frequently Asked Questions » Can I Sue the Police in California? » Can I Sue the Police in California?
Individuals who have been the victim of police misconduct in California may file a criminal complaint. However, various types of police misconduct could constitute a crime, civil cause of action, or both. Victims may consider filing a civil rights lawsuit in order to be financially compensated for the harm they suffered if a police department or individual officer is found civilly liable.
The California Tort Claims Act requires a written claim to be filed within the six-month time limit before a lawsuit may be filed against the state, county, governmental agency or government employee. Some of the more common California torts for which law enforcement may include:
Additionally, victims of police misconduct may also sue the police on the basis of constitutional violations under the First, Fourth as well as Eighth Amendments.
- First Amendment
Under the First Amendment, police officers may be sued for retaliating against individuals engaged in protected freedom of speech.
- The Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment prohibits government officers from inflicting cruel and unusual punishment. The police may be sued for subjecting a victim to unreasonable pain or torment while incarcerated.
When Can I Sue The Police Department
As mentioned above, it is absolutely possible to sue an individual police officer or the police department because no one is above the law. Although police officers have powers to enforce the law, they must follow laid down guidelines and procedures in conducting their duties.
But it is no secret that some officers go too far when carrying out their duties violating the civil rights of citizens in the process. In such circumstances, victims have the right to seek legal redress through state and federal courts.
There are several examples of police misconduct, including harassment, false arrest, racial profiling, falsification of evidence, perjury, and police brutality. The most common forms of police misconduct include:
If you believe a police officer has subjected you to unfair harassment or discrimination, you can sue him/her. However, to sue an officer for discrimination or harassment, you must prove that there was a certain pattern of behavior other than a singular, isolated incident.
For instance, if the police officer has established a clear pattern of treating one group of people with undue force but not another group, you can claim that there has been a pattern of harassment and discrimination.
2. False arrest
False arrest is one of the most asserted claims against the police department. Individuals bringing forth this complaint argue that a police officer violated their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable arrest.
Statutes Of Limitations For Lawsuits Against Police Officers
Section 1983 does not include a specific statute of limitations, which is the maximum amount of time that an injured party in a dispute has to take legal action. Therefore, the state where a case occurs will typically use its own statute of limitations for tort cases involving negligent actions and wrongful death. The majority of these cases carry a statute of limitations of between two and seven years. A lawyer who specializes in police brutality cases can assist you if you are involved in such an incident.