Cases of police brutality are surging amid the ongoing protests sweeping the nation. Although police officers are meant to protect and serve the citizens of the United States, there are millions of cases in which they do exactly the opposite. If you were the victim of excessive force or other forms of police brutality, you are not alone. You have the right to seek legal action to hold the assaulting officer responsible. No one is above the law, and it is within your rights to be compensated for your injuries. See the information below to know how to fully exercise your rights against police brutality.
What is Police Brutality?
Although the American public can generally believe that officers are present to ensure their safety, quite the opposite has been the case for a growing number of U.S. citizens.
Victims of police brutality can be attacked in several different forms, including:
- Excessive force: Physical force is the prominent method by which officers seize criminals. Yet, this practice is also too often used on innocent civilians. Physical force may include any of the following:
- Use of tasers
- Beating victims with a baton
- Illegal takedowns
- Use of firearms
- Unwarranted searches or seizures: Under the Fourth Amendment, searches and seizures that are carried out without probable cause are illegal, with exceptions.
- Sexual assault: An individual in police custody cannot legally give consent. So, any point of sexual contact between the arresting officer and detainee is qualified as assault.
The list of acts that can be legally recognized as police brutality is extensive. In addition to those listed above, this offense can also take the form of the denial of medical attention and racial discrimination. Given police officers’ limited immunity against lawsuits, you will need a lawyer to assist you in developing your case.
Your Rights in a Police Brutality Case
It is your right as a citizen of the United States to pursue legal action against the officer that assaulted you. Additionally, it is your right to hire a lawyer to assist you in achieving this goal. Your protections are secured by the Fourth Amendment, described above, along with the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. These laws state that individuals under arrest have the right to remain silent when detained by officers. In no way are you obligated to provide a statement to your arresting officers without a lawyer present.
Further, you have the right to be protected against “cruel and unusual punishment,” and to have your case addressed by due process of law. As you prepare to file a lawsuit against the assailing officer, collect the following information to develop the strongest possible case:
- The officer’s identifying information:
- Department through which they are employed
- Badge number
- Name and physical description
- Contact information of witnesses
- Details of your assault:
- Injuries you incurred
- Time and date of the incident
- Location where you were attacked
- All events that transpired before and during the assault
Lawsuits against police officers are notoriously difficult, but you don’t have to go it alone. Remember to exercise your right to a lawyer as you bring the guilty officer to justice. Your lawyer will stand by you, making sure to collect every bit of evidence necessary to demonstrate the officer’s illegal behavior and the resulting impact on your life and wellbeing. Get in touch with a lawyer today if you are ready to exercise your rights in full.