While the police have some leeway to use force in order to do their jobs, they do not have free reign to commit acts of violence and abuse against the citizens they are sworn to protect. A federal law referred to as “Section 1983” gives citizens the power to enforce their Constitutional right to be free from police misconduct. Various state laws provide similar protections as well. As a result, if you believe that you are a victim of police misconduct, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.
In New York, police misconduct laws protect victims who have been assaulted, harassed, and abused by:
- Officers with NYPD and other local police departments
- State Troopers
- Members of federal police agencies such as the FBI
Common Forms of Police Misconduct
In order to know if you have a claim for compensation, it is important to familiarize yourself with some of the abuses of authority that commonly give rise to claims for police misconduct. Some of the most common forms of police misconduct include:
- Use of Excessive Force – Police officers are authorized to use a “reasonable” amount of force if necessary to apprehend or restrain a criminal suspect. What constitutes “reasonable” force is often a case-by-case determination, and what is reasonable under one set of circumstances may be deemed excessive under another.
- Use of Lethal Force – Use of lethal force is reasonable only under extreme circumstances. If you have lost a loved one to a police shooting, beating, or other lethal police action, you may be able to pursue a claim against the government for your loss.
- Failure to Intervene – Police officers have a duty to intervene to protect citizens’ Constitutional rights. If you were subjected to excessive force by one police officer while others stood idly by, their failure to intervene may be grounds for a police misconduct claim as well.
- False Arrest – Under the U.S. Constitution, police officers must have “probable cause” in order to make an arrest. If you were detained without probable cause or subjected to an unreasonable search or seizure, you may have a claim for police misconduct.
In each of these situations, the best way to protect yourself is to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. If you are going to take on the government, you need to act quickly, and you need experienced legal representation on your side.
Schedule a Free Consultation at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. Today
The attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. are passionate about helping New York City residents stand up for their legal rights. If you or a loved one has been victimized by the police, we want to hear about it, and we want to help you fight vigorously for maximum compensation. To find out if you may have a claim for police misconduct, call our law offices at 1-877-737-4806 or schedule a free consultation online today.