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