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Queens Civil Rights Attorneys

Legal Representation for Victims of Police Misconduct in Queens

In the United States, civil rights are defined in the Constitution and in some cases by federal statute. They are protections and privileges intended to protect citizens from overly intrusive actions by the government. For example, all citizens have the right to due process and equal protection under the laws. The Constitution does not spell out how these rights may be enforced, but there may be several options available to you if you believe your protections have been violated by a police officer or other state or local official. At Phillips & Associates, our attorneys take the civil rights of Queens residents seriously, and we can help you develop a strategy for your case.

Common Types of Civil Rights Violations

In some cases, it is best to file a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), a city agency that is independent from the police department. It was established under Chapter 18-A of the New York City Charter, and it is empowered to take complaints, investigate, make findings, issue subpoenas, mediate, and even recommend actions be taken on complaints.

CCRB takes four types of complaints: force complaints, abuse of authority complaints, discourtesy complaints, and offensive language complaints. Force complaints are those that involve police misconduct that is unjustified, such as punching a civilian or shooting a civilian who poses no threat. Abuse of authority complaints are those in which the police use their powers improperly, such as for the purpose of intimidating or mistreating a civilian. A complaint related to offensive language usually has to do with derogatory remarks based on a civilian's perceived race, religion, ethnicity, or other protected characteristic. Discourtesy complaints are typically based on an officer's use of offensive language or gestures.

In general, the comments you make in a CCRB complaint may be used against you in criminal or civil proceedings for damages, so you should not file a CCRB complaint without first consulting with an attorney. Your attorney can file your complaint for you, in the event that you would also like to pursue a civil lawsuit to enforce your civil rights.

Civil rights complaints can be filed in federal or state court. Generally, claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are filed only against those that directly participated in the civil rights violation. For example, such a claim might be filed against a police officer who shot you while investigating. In many cases, § 1983 claims are brought alongside common law claims. Common law claims arise under state law and include misconduct such as malicious prosecution or assault and battery. Under the common law theory of vicarious liability or respondeat superior, a municipality can be held accountable for its employee's misconduct. This theory of indirect liability is not available in § 1983 claims.

Consult a Queens Attorney for Your Civil Rights Claim

Queens is the largest of the five New York City boroughs. It is considered the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. Both JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport are located there. The borough was established as one of the original 12 counties of New York in 1683, before becoming a borough of New York City in 1898. If you have been subjected to police misconduct in Queens or one of the other boroughs, the experienced lawyers at Phillips & Associates may be able to help you pursue compensation. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or contact us through our online form.

What Our Clients Say?
"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
"Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone." Margaret
"Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done." Massimo
"Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues." Karen
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