Police officers who use excessive force in detaining, arresting or otherwise interacting with a civilian may be held accountable for their civil rights violations, along with the government agency that employs these officers. Police are often trained on the best methods for interacting with a suspect and the appropriate policies and procedures for detaining a suspect or making an arrest. However, officers who commit police misconduct can be found to have violated both the law and the policies and procedures of their police department. These departmental policies may also be found to be constitutionally deficient in many respects. Police are trained to use only the amount of force necessary, unfortunately they do not always adhere to these guidelines. If you believe you or someone you know has been assaulted by the police, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit to recover financial compensation and other remedies based on your case.
Our office has extensive experience in evaluating civil rights violations, bringing federal civil claims against problematic cities and police officers, and holding them accountable for their actions.
What are some examples of excessive force and constitutional violations?
Depending on your case and the state in which you were injured, courts have found that certain conduct by police officers may constitute a violation of your civil rights. Some examples may include:
- The use of a taser during an arrest
- Assaulting a suspect while he or she is handcuffed
- Officers who attempt to stop video recording of their actions in public
- Shooting a suspect who is fleeing
- Shooting at a moving vehicle
- Shooting household animals or pets
- Punching, kicking or choking a suspect during detainment or arrest
What would a civil lawsuit against the police and the government entity that employs them look like?
Each case presents its own unique facts and circumstances. However, our office typically brings a federal lawsuit against officers who commit misconduct and the agencies that employ them through 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, which is generally known as a “Section 1983 lawsuit.” Officers who commit excessive force or other constitutional violations may be held liable under Section 1983 for their misconduct. These officers are also frequently entitled to what is known as “qualified immunity,” which generally protects officers from liability in cases where the law is not clearly established about whether a certain type of conduct is illegal. Our office has extensive experience bringing these lawsuits into court and contesting qualified immunity to ensure there is full accountability for injuries you may have suffered. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for these injuries, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Every case involving excessive force is different. To find out if your situation qualifies you to take legal action against the police, please call our office in Arlington to schedule a consultation.