If you live and work in New York City, you know that police interactions can go sideways. Many citizens -- especially people of color -- have good reason to be leery of encounters with police.
While this state of affairs is always more complex than simply framing the police as criminals in uniform, police brutality is a real thing. It's always at the back of one's mind and for hundreds of individuals each year it plays out in real life. You do have legal recourse if you are the victim of police misconduct and civil rights violations.
You have rights and remedies for police misconduct
If you follow the news, you may be discouraged when juries repeatedly find police officers not guilty of criminal charges after they injure or kill a person in the line of duty. While this is certainly disheartening, if you do not stand up to police brutality, who will? With passionate guidance by an experienced civil rights attorney, it is possible to fight for justice, even if the fight is against those sworn to uphold it.
Police misconduct takes many forms:
- Physical brutality and excessive use of force
- Unwarranted use of pepper spray or Tasers
- Injuries inflicted by police dogs (K-9 units)
- Racial profiling such as stop-and-frisk or "driving while black"
- Bogus charges of resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer
- False arrest and unlawful detention
You absolutely deserve fair compensation for your injury
Choosing the right team to fight your fight with you is one of the most important aspects of fighting police misconduct. You don't want just any attorney, you want attorneys with a proven record of fighting police brutality cases and bringing home settlements.
You may worry that you are not entitled to any compensation if there is evidence against you that you committed a crime. This is a reasonable fear, but not a reason to decline to bring a lawsuit. Even if you are suspected of or charged with a crime, you still have rights. This is one of the fundamental problems with the police brutality issue — law enforcement officers are not supposed to be in the business of deciding your guilt or handing out punishments. Being arrested does not justify violent abuse at their hands.
Furthermore, when you stand up for your rights and bring a lawsuit against the police, you are not just standing up for yourself — you're standing up for victims of police brutality everywhere who may not have the courage or the means to stand up for themselves.
Don't wait to take action
Going down this path will not be easy. It is crucial to build a strong team to bring the fight to the police department's doorstep and demand justice.
It is also important to remember that you don't have forever to make your decision. If you wait too long to file notice against a governmental body, the statute of limitations may expire, making the pursuit of justice more difficult if not impossible.
Fight for what is right. If you or someone you know suffered injury from police brutality or were deprived of your civil rights, speak to an attorney who can discuss the specifics of your situation and what legal recourse you may have.
Source: Research On Law Enforcement And Racial Conflict (JournalistResource.org)