Sometimes police officers need to use force to control a difficult situation. However, there are many instances in which they use excessive force in order to dominate a civilian. Police brutality leading to serious injuries or wrongful death is not acceptable, but most instances of this behavior go unreported. At Phillips & Associates, our civil rights attorneys take police misconduct cases in New York City seriously. We provide aggressive legal representation for victims of law enforcement abuses of power, trying to hold officers and the city accountable.Police Brutality Causes Serious Harm
Police brutality consists of any illegal act that uses excessive force in connection with an arrest. It can include excessive force, sexual assault or rape, or misuse of police weaponry. Sometimes these cases end in settlements, which means that flawed policies will not be addressed. However, the victims may be able to obtain financial compensation for their injuries.
Title 42 U.S. Code § 1983 provides a mechanism by which a lawsuit for police brutality may be brought in either federal or state court. Under Section 1983, a police officer acting under color of law who subjects a person to a deprivation of rights, immunities, or privileges may be held liable to the injured party through a lawsuit. Excessive force during an investigation or arrest is one type of police brutality that can be addressed through a Section 1983 claim.
Other causes of action that may be brought alongside or in place of a claim of excessive force are assault, battery, false arrest, or wrongful death. These are causes of action governed by state law, and usually it is important to bring all claims related to a single episode or pattern of police brutality within the same lawsuit.
Some police brutality cases may also warrant suing a police officer's supervisor. A supervisor may be at fault if he or she participated in the brutality, failed to adequately supervise or train an officer, established a police practice permitting excessive or deadly force, or failed to properly discipline an officer who was known to use excessive force. In order to sue the city and individual police officers, you will need to serve on the city a notice of claim within 90 days of the assault that gives rise to the lawsuit.
What if police brutality results in the death of a spouse, parent, or child? In New York, certain family members can bring a civil suit for wrongful death and sue all responsible parties. You may be able to recover medical bills, loss of consortium, and conscious pain and suffering. If an officer's conduct was wanton and malicious, it may be possible to recover punitive damages as well.Contact a New York City Attorney after an Incident of Police Misconduct
Police brutality cases can be challenging. It is not uncommon for officers to unite behind an accused colleague or to argue that force was warranted. In some cases, there may be eyewitnesses to the brutality who may have videotaped the incident or remember it, and it may be helpful to your case for your attorney to contact them immediately after the incident. At Phillips & Associates, our civil rights lawyers offer experienced representation for New York City residents whose rights have been infringed in all five boroughs, including Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. If you or a loved one is a victim of police brutality, call us as soon as possible at (212) 248-7431 or schedule a consultation through our online form.