Civil Rights

Civil Rights Violation Lawyers in New York City 

Assisting Victims of Police Misconduct in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, & Florida

All Americans are guaranteed basic rights, known as civil rights, under the United States Constitution. The state of New York and New York City recognize additional rights and liberties. Unfortunately, all too often, police officers and others in authority positions violate these rights. When their violations of civil rights result in injury or death, the police may be held accountable in state or federal court. At Phillips & Associates, Attorneys at Law our New York City civil rights violation attorneys advocate for people who have been harmed due to police misconduct or prosecutorial misconduct.

Protections Under Civil Rights Laws

The U.S. Constitution and some federal laws are designed to protect you from overly intrusive conduct by the government and its representatives. For example, you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. However, nothing in the Constitution tells you how to enforce your Fourth Amendment right.

Title 42, Section 1983 of the United States Code is the law that provides a mechanism for enforcing your rights. Under this law, any person or entity that uses color of state law to deprive someone of federal Constitutional rights, immunities, or privileges can be sued in state or federal court. You can sue state and local officials, but not federal officials, under this law if your civil rights have been violated under color of state or local law. For example, if you need to make a claim that your constitutional rights were violated by the federal government or its officials, you can bring what is called a "Bivens" action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

In order to prevail in a Section 1983 claim, you would need to show that the defendants deprived you of a right set forth under federal law and that the deprivation was committed under color of state law. Municipal ordinances or regulations, or a city's established policies, can give rise to municipal liability if the result is a deprivation of federal Constitutional rights.

Police misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct are often the basis for civil rights lawsuits. Police misconduct can include false arrests, surveillance abuse, assault, racial profiling, and corruption or bribes. Prosecutorial misconduct often takes the form of abuse of process or malicious prosecution.

Among the most common types of police misconduct cases are those involving excessive force by the police. This occurs when police officers abuse their authority during an investigation, raid, or arrest, resulting in severe injuries, permanent disability, or death. The standard for determining whether a police officer crossed a line and used excessive force is what a reasonable police officer would have done under the same circumstances.

Section 1983 cases are often brought in federal court because federal courts often produce faster, more consistent results. In some cases, however, it may be appropriate to file a lawsuit in state court.

Hold Police & Prosecutors Accountable

Civil rights violations cases can be challenging. The government can retain very sophisticated lawyers, and it is important that you retain an equally aggressive, knowledgeable lawyer. Evidence can disappear or be erased, so it is important to act quickly if your rights have been violated. At Phillips & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our New York City civil rights violation lawyers offer experienced representation for victims of excessive force or other improper conduct.

Call us at (866) 229-9441 or set up a consultation through our online form.

Lawyers Helping Victims of Police Misconduct

State and local officials, such as police officers and prosecutors, have broad powers to perform their duties. However, when they abuse their authority and violate the civil rights of civilians, the result may be deprivation of liberty, injuries, loss of reputation, or even loss of life. At Phillips & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our attorneys represent individuals with civil rights claims against police officers and prosecutors in New York.

Holding Law Enforcement Accountable for Violations

You can obtain remedies for civil rights violations pursuant to federal law 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or under state law. In many cases, it may be appropriate to assert § 1983 claims alongside state law claims.

The city may be vicariously liable for a police officer's conduct under the doctrine of respondeat superior. However, a municipality can only be sued under § 1983 if its official practices, policies, regulations, or ordinances violate the civilians' civil rights, or if its customs (widespread practices) are the moving force behind the deprivation of rights. For example, if it is an official municipal policy to conduct raids involving strip searches only in neighborhoods associated with poor black or Latino residents, the municipality could be held responsible under § 1983.

In order to prevail on a § 1983 claim, you will need to show that you were subjected to conduct that happened under color of state of law and that the conduct deprived you of guaranteed federal Constitutional or statutory rights. Civil rights cases are often brought in connection with federal Constitutional rights, such as the right to due process or the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Enlist an Experienced Attorney for Your Civil Rights Claim

If you suffer a civil rights violation in New York City, time limits may apply to some or all aspects of your claim, and it may be important to consult an experienced attorney right away. At Phillips & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our lawyers offer knowledgeable representation. 

Call us at (866) 229-9441 or contact us through our online form.

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