Police officers are responsible for protecting civilians, and most officers do a fantastic job of it. However, there are always going to be people who neglect their responsibilities and abuse their power—no matter their line of work. The Cato Institute explains that excessive force is the most common misuse of authority among officers of the New York Police Department. If you were the victim of police brutality, call Goldberg & Allen, LLP today at 212-766-336 to discuss your situation with a criminal lawyer in New York City.
Here is some information to help you understand your rights if police use excessive force:
When is force excessive?
The law requires law enforcement agents to use a continuum of force when subduing suspects. This means that officers may only use the amount of force that the situation justifies. If an officer uses more force than the situation warrants, he or she may be guilty of excessive force.
Common reports of excessive force include:
- Officers using physical force against those who are already in custody and not resisting.
- An officer using a weapon against unarmed individuals or those who are unlikely to carry weapons.
- Officers physically intimidating witnesses and suspects into giving statements.
When do you have a right to sue?
Victims of police brutality have the right to claim damages for their injuries. You can file your claim in federal court if the officer conducted an unreasonable search and seizure and violated your Fourth Amendment right.
Additionally, you can claim violation of your right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. You may be able to file your claim within the federal Civil Rights Act.
Furthermore, New York state laws offer similar protections, giving you an avenue to sue in state court. If the use of excessive force caused you or your loved one injuries or death, you can file a wrongful death or negligence lawsuit and sue for various damages, such as medical expenses, loss of income or emotional trauma.
You can file your claim against the officer who assaulted you unreasonably, his or her police department or the government agency or municipality responsible for his or her employment. You also have the right to file a formal complaint against the officer in question and to request a detailed investigation into the officer’s activities at your local police department.
Excessive police force has the potential to destroy people’s lives. It frequently causes unnecessary injuries and even fatalities, which have profound repercussions, including intense emotional hurdles and financial losses.
If the use of excessive force has disrupted your life, a criminal attorney can help you understand your rights. Goldberg and Allen, LLP has extensive experience handling these cases. Call 212-766-336 to arrange a free consultation.