Civil Rights

Brooklyn Civil Rights Attorneys

Legal Representation for Individuals Subjected to Police Misconduct in Brooklyn

Civil rights are basic rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution, and in some cases also by state and local laws. These rights include the rights to be free from excessive force by the police or prosecutorial misconduct, such as malicious prosecution. Civil rights violations can result in humiliation, loss of liberty, serious injury, or even death. At Phillips & Associates, our attorneys can provide tenacious representation for people who suffer civil rights violations in Brooklyn and other boroughs of New York City.

Redress for Civil Rights Violations in New York

42 U.S.C. § 1983 offers the method by which your constitutional rights, such as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures or the right to due process, may be enforced in court. This law provides that you can sue state or local officials if they deprive you of your federal Constitutional or statutory rights, privileges, or immunities under color of state law. You would need to prove that the defendants deprived you of a federal right and that the deprivation occurred under color of state law.

Often, these claims are brought against an individual police officer or a group of police officers. You may also sue a supervisor, as long as the supervisor directly participated in the civil rights violation. For example, you could sue a supervisor who instituted a policy of stopping and frisking black men, or who repeatedly looked the other way when an officer used excessive force against suspects. You may also be able to sue a municipality under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but only if you can show that the municipality's customs or official policies and regulations were the moving force behind a deprivation of federal constitutional rights.

Some common types of civil rights violations include excessive force and false arrest. Excessive force occurs when a police officer uses more force than what a reasonable police officer would have used under the same circumstances. For example, if a police officer kicks a handcuffed suspect while he is on the ground and unarmed, this would likely be excessive force.

False arrest claims that are brought under § 1983 arise out of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable seizure of one's person. A seizure is considered unreasonable when a police officer or other official acting under color of state lacks probable cause. A complete defense to a false arrest claim is an officer's probable cause to make the arrest.

Remedies for a civil rights claim brought under § 1983 include compensatory damages, actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees. In many civil rights cases, there are also state common law causes of action and corresponding remedies available. For example, false arrest can be brought as a § 1983 claim, but it can also be brought as a state common law claim. Similarly, excessive force can often also give rise to a common law claim for assault and battery. A state common law claim is sometimes more advantageous to a plaintiff when, for example, a municipality's policies and practices are partially or fully to blame for the excessive force or false arrest. Unlike § 1983 claims, state common law claims permit plaintiffs to use the doctrine of respondeat superior to hold a municipality vicariously liable for its employees' misconduct.

Discuss Your Civil Rights Claim With a Brooklyn Attorney

If you have suffered from police or prosecutorial misconduct in Brooklyn or the surrounding area, the experienced lawyers at Phillips & Associates may be able to help you seek compensation. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or contact us through our online form.

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