Just because someone wears a badge doesn't mean that they have a free pass to act however they want – or to treat others however they want. There are various ways in which law enforcement officers may be liable for injury or damages that they cause. Things such as:
- Excessive force
- False arrest
- Negligent/reckless driving
These are all potential grounds for a civil rights and/or personal injury claim. While most officers uphold their promise to serve and protect, there are still many instances where police officers violate citizens' civil rights. Halperin Law Center is here to protect those rights. Get a lawyer on your side immediately if you are a victim of police brutality or misconduct in Virginia.
PROTECT YOUR FOURTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees certain rights, including the right to not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without going through the legal system. These claims are often litigated in Federal court under 42 U.S.C. §1983, which states that if a person acting under color of state law violates your civil rights, he or she may be liable and required to pay you damages.
The Richmond civil litigation attorneys at the Halperin Law Center are experienced defenders of civil rights and can fight to recover the monetary damages that you are rightfully due. Contact us today to discuss your case!
When a police officer uses more force than that which is necessary for what he or she is authorized to do, they are deemed to be using "excessive force," which can be a violation of a person's civil rights. If the victim is injured as a result of the excessive force, the police department may be required to compensate them for damages. An officer may be violating someone's civil rights if he or she unnecessarily assaults, causes harm, or fires his or her weapon at them.
For example, a police officer may be within his or her right to handcuff a suspect who is under arrest; however, the suspect's constitutional rights may be violated if the officer were to then point a weapon at an unarmed and handcuffed individual. Whether or not there is a viable claim for damages depends on the reason for the use of force, the intent or goal of the officer, and whether or not they had the authority to proceed with those goals.
Victims of police brutality may sustain injuries that cause them to incur financial damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Federal and State law may entitle them to compensation for pain and suffering, as well as for the humiliation and embarrassment that the police officer's misbehavior has caused that person in the form of punitive damages.
Wrongful & False Arrest
False arrest is defined as a police officer physically detaining someone without the legal right to do so; therefore the validity of a false arrest claim depends on what authority an officer has in that particular situation. It is unlawful for you to be detained based solely on your race, gender, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. You may not be searched or arrested unless the officer has a warrant or probable cause to assume that you have committed an offense.
You are within your rights to remain silent if you are placed under arrest. You have the right to have an attorney present when questioned. If you feel that your civil rights were ignored and that you have been the victim of an unlawful arrest, the Halperin Law Center may be able to help you recover monetary damages.
Reckless & Negligent Actions: High-Speed Pursuits
Law enforcement officers are fallible like any other human being. This means that they may commit negligent, wrongful, or reckless acts. If you watch the news, you certainly have seen video of high-speed pursuit pursuits. High-speed chases are recognized as one of the more dangerous police tactics in use, killing more innocent bystanders than police firearms.
Motor vehicle accidents that occur due to drivers fleeing police kill an average of one person per day in the United States, including more than 150 innocent bystanders per year. In addition to those killed as a result of high-speed pursuits, an average of two innocent bystanders per week are killed a result of police cruisers responding to calls for service.
Common injuries that occur include:
- Permanent disability
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limbs
These injuries can result staggering medical bills and lost wages, as well as the physical and emotional pain and suffering.
Most people recognize and agree that police pursuit is necessary in some instances, particularly when violent crimes are involved. Proper policies, training and implementation can reduce the number of unnecessary pursuits, thereby reducing the number of fatalities and injuries. There are a myriad of factors to consider when examining whether an officer's decision was negligent.
Read about Attorney Jonathan Halperin's $6 million jury verdict against the District of Columbia resulting from the deaths of an eight-year-old boy and his aunt in a high-speed police pursuit. This decision was affirmed by the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Let Our Firm Advocate for Your Rights
A Richmond attorney who has experience with police misconduct cases can analyze your case and determine if the policies and procedures involved in your situation were violated in any way. Halperin Law Center is here to guide you through this difficult and complicated process to seek just compensation for your harms and losses.
A proven track record of success in negotiating settlements and winning verdicts for our clients.