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Can I Sue The Police Department For Violating My Rights

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Title Vi Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 And The Ojp Program Statute

Arrested by Pensacola Police – EX Use of force Rights violation and charges dropped

Together, these laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion by State and local law enforcement agencies that receive financial assistance from DOJ. . These laws prohibit both individual instances and patterns or practices of discriminatory misconduct, i.e., treating a person differently because of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion. The misconduct covered by Title VI and the OJP Program Statute includes, for example, harassment or use of racial slurs, discriminatory arrests, discriminatory traffic stops, coercive sexual conduct, retaliation for filing a complaint with DOJ or participating in the investigation, discriminatory use of force, or refusal by the agency to respond to complaints alleging discriminatory treatment by its officers. What remedies are available under these laws? DOJ may seek changes in the policies and procedures of the agency to remedy violations of these laws and, if appropriate, also seek individual remedial relief for the victim. Individuals also have a private right of action in certain circumstances under Title VI and under the OJP Program Statute in other words, you may file a lawsuit yourself under these laws. However, you must first exhaust your administrative remedies by filing a complaint with DOJ if you wish to file in Federal Court under the OJP Program Statute.

Can You Sue The Police Department In Pennsylvania

The police are supposed to protect and serve, but, unfortunately, there are some officers who abuse their authority. For those who have been assaulted by the police or denied their rights, the feelings of frustration and powerlessness can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you have rights, and you can fight back.

If youve been harmed in any way by the police, you should talk to a civil rights attorney as soon as possible. Pennsylvania civil rights attorney Lauren Wimmer has the knowledge and experience you need to get the justice you deserve. If you need someone on your side who will fight for your rights, call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation today.

Sovereign Immunity and Civil Liability

Generally speaking, the police are immune from various types of claims. This means that you cannot sue the police department in many situations. For example, if you are injured in a car accident while riding in a police cruiser, you likely cannot sue the police department, even if the driver caused the accident through their own negligence.

Police Brutality

Many claims against the police involve the use of excessive force. However, the police are authorized to use whatever force is necessary in the following situations:

  • In order to make an arrest
  • In order to defend themselves
  • In order to defend someone else

False Arrest


What Your Claim May Be Worth

How Much Do Police Misconduct Lawyers Charge

The lawyer fees vary depending on the law firm you choose to represent you. Our lawyers will handle your case under our No Fee Promise. This means we do not charge any legal fees unless you win a settlement.

Best of all, we pay all of the case expenses in pursuing your lawsuit and costs nothing to get started. If your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing!

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How To Sue A Police Department And Win

If youve had a negative experience with the police, youre probably wondering whether or not you can take legal action against them. Even though taking a police department to small claims court can be daunting, it is possible to win. Even with laws like qualified immunity shielding police from some accountability, suing and winning against a police department is not impossible.

So, if youre thinking about suing the police, well show you where to begin. Moreover, well go into detail on how the entire process can be remarkably easy with DoNotPay.

Why You Should Or Should Not Sue

Can I Sue the Police For A Violation of My Civil Rights ...

At the beginning of this article was the statement that you may need to consider a very important question in your desire to sue the police department: For What? This is where an experienced lawyer must step in to assess the causes of actions that will form the basis of your lawsuit.

Some peoples right to privacy has been violated due to an illegal search and seizure. Others have been harmed by excessive or unnecessary police force. And in some instances, people have lost their lives due to lethal force. These are issues that carry serious Constitutional violations and Civil Rights. When discussing these kinds of cases, even then the facts must be evaluated in order to make sure the actions of the police department were justified.

However, there is no shortage of cases where a simple inconvenience was suffered due to an investigation, or a brief detention/encounter on the street, or a simple traffic ticket was issued where the driver felt they didnt deserve itwhere a lawsuit would bring nothing but grief on the part of everyone involved. Its these difficult types of individuals who will find conflict where most would simply move on. Suing police departments is no small deal. Many jobs and careers can be on the line and a frivolous lawsuit helps no one. Its also these kinds of instances where the lawyer involved must choose to take on a case and decide to either politely and professionally decline the case or further evaluate the claim.

Bart Kaspero

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

It is common to want to sue the police after unpleasant contact or friction, especially when the conflict resulted in an arrest that seemed unwarranted, unfair, or downright abusive. Suing the police is complicated, though, even when you have been a victim of some kind of police misconduct and are absolutely innocent with regard to your arrest. This overview of the downfalls you may encounter when you sue the police will help you understand and protect your rights.

Suing the police for abuse or other violations can be an arduous task not only because of the time and expense involved but also due to certain legal protections that apply to police. However, it is possible to successfully sue the police by becoming aware of the laws allowances and limitations, carefully building a solid case, and staying the course.

Legal Protections for Both Citizens and Police

How to Sue the Police for Misconduct

What You Should Do to Sue the Police

Can Police Officers Be Sued Personally

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Police officers are highly respected by most people because of the risks and liabilities they often face while protecting their communities and enforcing the law. However, policemen and women are ultimately human, which means they sometimes make mistakes everyone knows this. In these cases, officers are typically investigated for misconduct. What most people dont know is whether or not police officers can be sued personally for wrongful actions. Here is a close look at this subject.

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Police Misconduct And Civil Rights Claims In Texas

Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors| Last updated May 15, 2019

You may have grounds to file a civil rights lawsuit if the police mistreat you. The most common form of police misconduct is the use of excessive force, sometimes called police brutality. For instance, in one Texas case a woman alleged that a sheriff’s deputy slammed her into a concrete bench while booking her on charges.

The main obstacle plaintiffs face in bringing such lawsuits is that police officers have a certain degree of “immunity,” which ensures that they’re not unreasonably hampered in performing their difficult job. Generally speaking, police officers will be immune from suit unless they violate someone’s clearly established rights. The same immunity rules apply to lawsuits against sheriff’s deputies, correctional officers, and others in law enforcement.

Can You Sue The Salt Lake City Police Department

How To Sue A Police Officer

Police misconduct is becoming a hot topic in Utah and across the nation. Police misconduct can take many forms and can result in an innocent individual becoming a victim of unwarranted violence and rights violations. Victims of misconduct have the right to sue the police department to protect their civil rights. If you or a family member was a victim of police misconduct, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer. Criminal attorney and civil rights lawyer Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience that he will use to help you fight your claim. Overson Law is here to explain how you can sue the Salt Lake City police department.

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About The Civil Rights Division

We protect your rights through:


We sue or prosecute individuals and organizations who violate civil rights laws.

You can help us do this work by reporting a possible civil rights violation through our online form.


We help the entire federal government work together to enforce these laws.

Our teams work with other agencies to promote a consistent approach to civil rights laws.

Reasons For Suing The Police

Under federal law, police officers may be sued both personally and professionally . A civilian may file a lawsuit against a police officer for various reasons, including:

  • Infliction of emotional distress: When an officer purposely or recklessly behaves in a way that causes either emotional injury or distress through a negligent act.
  • Excessive force: When an officer uses deadly force in a situation that does not justify it.

In civil suits such as these, the burden of proof typically falls on the plaintiff, who must prove liability by a preponderance of the evidence . This is a significantly lower standard than the one for criminal cases .

There are two types of claims one can file against a police officer in a personal capacity:

: the plaintiff must demonstrate that the officer either a) knew that a fellow policeman was violating the plaintiffs constitutional rights b) had a reasonable chance to prevent the harm or c) decided not to act.

Supervisor Liability: This liability requires that a supervisor had knowledge that a subordinate officer displayed conduct that posed an unreasonable risk of constitutional injury to citizens.

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What Is It Considered A Police Beating

A police beating is when an officer causes unreasonable serious injury and harm to a person. Officers are legally permitted to physically assault or beat a person suspected of a crime. They can only use reasonable measures to apprehend or restrain a person.

It does not matter whether the person committed a criminal act or not. Even criminals have the right to be properly restrained and apprehended without suffering a serious injury, especially if they are cooperative with the officers.

Certainly, police officers can and should defend themselves against aggressive people. The issue is when they assault or beat a person who is restrained, helpless, or not even fighting back. Beatings often occur in police cars or on the road side.

What Are The Possible Benefits Of Taking Legal Action Against The Police

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Suing the police can be scary, but it comes with benefits if you win. For instance, here are some of the damages you will be compensated for depending on the type of case:

Damages Case
Economic damages If you successfully prove misconduct, you will get economic damages. These can make up for any financial loss including the loss of current or future income as well as the cost of all medical expenses .
General damages If you experienced a loss for which a calculated cost cannot be easily obtained, you will be awarded general damages. This can include emotional or mental distress, or a significant reduction of enjoyment in life.
Punitive damages You will be awarded punitive damages as a form of punishment to the defendant, and as a way of preventing other police officers from engaging in similar behavior.

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When Is Police Conduct A Sexual Assault

Incidents of sexual assaults by law enforcement personnel are a form of police misconduct. An officer cannot touch any person in a sexual manner at any time.

While many frisks and searches include pat downs of the chest and genital areas, these must be performed in a non-sexual manner. It is illegal for an officer to act outside the boundaries of performing these procedures when dealing with a suspect.

Further, under no circumstances can an officer demand a sexual favor in exchange for leniency of a suspect. Clearly, this is beyond any possible acceptable practice or procedure and is unlawful.

Negligent Infliction Of Emotional Distress

Citizens can also sue police officers when the latter cause emotional distress negligently, rather than intentionally or recklessly. The extent of emotional harm required for a successful lawsuit depends on the jurisdiction.

But in order for there to be potential liability for negligently caused emotional distress, the officer must owe a “duty of care” to the citizen. In other words, the court will consider whether the officer had some kind of special relationship with the plaintiff that’s distinct from the general police responsibility to the public at large.

For example, in a Louisiana case, a rape victim sued a sheriff for the emotional distress she suffered when the evidence in her case was mistakenly destroyed before a suspect had been arrested. The court held that the duty to preserve evidence goes to the general public, and that law enforcement doesn’t owe any special duty to protect an individual from the misplacement or mistaken destruction of evidence. .)

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Who Can File A Police Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Although police officers can face criminal penalties for unlawfully killing someone, they are rarely charged or prosecuted. However, families or victims are often successful in a civil wrongful death lawsuit against officers and department.

Recently Jennifer Damico filed a wrongful death and police misconduct lawsuit on behalf of the family of an unarmed man who died while restrained facedown in police custody.

When someone has died from a police assault or shooting, their surviving family members can file a civil wrongful death lawsuit. These cases demand compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent before death and for the loss of companionship by the family members. There is no limit to these amounts.

Financial losses, like lost income and funeral expenses, can also be awarded to the family. If the decedent supported a family, those damages are recoverable in the suit.

Can You Sue The Police For False Arrest

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Suing the police for false arrest is the allegation that the police acted without legal authority, or went beyond the power granted to them by their position as police officers. An officer who acted to arrest someone based on information they thought was true and reasonable, but was actually false, will not be guilty of false arrest.

On the other hand, if a police officer arrests a person based on their personal feelings or because that person insulted them, you can file police false arrest charges. Insulting a police officer is not a crime, so arresting someone for doing so is illegal.

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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.

What Is Police Abuse

Police abuse involves any type of misconduct or misrepresentation of power. Also called abuse of power, this encompasses the many ways that officers can take advantage of their powerful position in our society. Some examples of police abuse involve officers who treat citizens with unwarranted brutality, engage in corrupt acts that put innocent citizens lives at stake, or shoot people in response to little or no provocation.

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No Threats To Arrest Everyone

Officersmay also be prohibited by state law from taking certain actions wheninvestigating domestic violence allegations. Alabama law, for example,forbids an officer from threatening to arrest everyone involved in adomestic violence complaint for the purpose of discouraging the victimfrom asking for police assistance. The statute also prohibits an officerfrom basing the decision to arrest on the victim’s permission orrequest, nor can the arrest decision be based on a victim’s or witness’swillingness to testify in court. Other stateshave similar statutes that prohibit officers from taking actions thatmight hinder or block an appropriate investigation and prosecution ofdomestic violence offenses.

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