Upholding your rights when police do not

by | Aug 27, 2019 | Firm News

From the moment you encounter a police officer, your life could take a very different turn. While many men and women who serve in law enforcement uphold the law with dignity and respect for the Ohio citizens they serve, others misuse their positions and authorities for their own purposes. Still others may fail to exercise appropriate restraint when dealing with a tense situation. It is during these times that you may become the victim of civil rights violations.

The violation of your rights can occur in a variety of ways. Some are obvious and may even result in your physical harm. However, not every incident of police misconduct will end up on someone’s cell phone or go viral on social media, so it is important to know your rights so you can recognize when law enforcement steps over the line.

Police misconduct violates your rights

If police abuse you physically or violate your rights in other ways, you have the right to seek justice in the civil courts. The reason why police stopped you in the first place and whether a court found you guilty of that crime does not abolish your right to fair treatment by police. Police who willfully do any of the following may be liable for any damages you suffer:

  • If police arrest you without probable cause and detain you for an unreasonable time without charges, you may be the victim of a false arrest.
  • Police who search you, your vehicle, or your home without a warrant or probable cause may have violated your Fourth amendment rights of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
  • After an unlawful arrest, if your case proceeds to court under the recommendation of police, you may be the victim of malicious prosecution.
  • Police who fail to defend you when fellow officers violate your rights may hold some liability for injuries or damages you suffer.

Perhaps not the most common example of police misconduct but certainly the one that gains the most attention is brutality. This occurs when an officer uses force that is unreasonable for the circumstances. Even if police have valid intentions at the time, if officers use excessive force resulting in injuries to you, it is wise to consult with an attorney about your options.

Police enjoy a limited immunity against prosecution when they remain within the bounds of their authority. For this reason, it is a good idea to seek legal advice and assistance if you are considering pursuing a claim in civil court against law enforcement officers who may have violated your rights.