The U.S. Constitution limits the actions police can take when enforcing the law. In New York, police officers regularly cross the legal boundaries, violating people’s basic human rights. The nation’s civil laws protect civilians from suffering abuse by governmental officials, and you are entitled to enforce your rights in a civil lawsuit.
When an officer performs his or her job in accordance with the rules, there is no violation, and unless you can prove willful, unreasonable violation of constitutional rights, the police are immune to lawsuits. Call Goldberg & Allen, LLP at 212-766-3366 to speak with a criminal lawyer in New York who may be able to help you prove police liability. While there are many ways that police commit misconduct, read on for three of the most common complaints filed against the NYPD:
- False Arrest
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure practices and false arrest. The police may arrest someone without a warrant if they have probable cause that the suspect committed a crime or if a misdemeanor or felony occurred in their presence.
Unfortunately, officers frequently arrest individuals without probable cause. To prevail in a claim of false arrest, you must prove a lack of probable cause, which means demonstrating the officer did not have sufficient facts to reasonably believe that you committed a crime.
- Malicious Prosecution
The Fourteenth Amendment states that every American has a right to liberty. If you claim malicious prosecution, you are stating that the officer deprived you of this right and attempted to criminalize you with malicious intent. Similar to false arrest, this claim will not work if the officer had sufficient probable cause to begin criminal proceedings.
To win this claim, you need to prove the following:
- The police officer initiated a criminal proceeding against you.
- You prevailed against the criminal charge and the court did not convict you.
- The officer did not have probable cause.
- The proceeding was the result of intentional malice toward you.
- Excessive Force
According to the Cato Institute, the use of excessive force is the leading cause of complaints against the NYPD, and the media reports on it the most. Using excessive force can result in serious physical injury and even death. Officials have the authority to use reasonable force to subdue a suspect, but what constitutes reasonable varies among officers.
Determining whether excessive force was reasonable involves investigating the facts and circumstances of the incident. Under New York law, the officer’s intentions have no affect on your claim. Whether his or her intentions were good or bad will not change the court’s decision about whether the force used was reasonable.
Claims of police misconduct vary in severity and type. Brutality is common, and it is difficult to fight a police department. It is vital that you document any evidence or witness testimonies, and you must secure this information safely.
Goldberg & Allen, LLP, can advise you on the best course of action for your lawsuit. Call 212-766-3366 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney today.