How to Know You Were a Victim of Police Brutality: A Short Guide

excessive forceThere have been plenty of cases in the media during the past year that have highlighted police brutality, prison abuse, and excessive force. Thanks to social media and smartphones, police abuse of civil liberties can be caught on video and shared around the world, sometimes even as it’s happening. However, it can be difficult to define police misconduct, and the line between use of force and use of excessive force isn’t always clear.

Besides speaking to an excessive force attorney, how do you know if you have a potential civil rights claim? In order to move forward with a police misconduct case, your situation must fall under situations like the following.

False arrest
A very common claim against police officers is false arrest, or when you believe you have been arrested without proper cause. Typically, an arrest occurs when the police officer has probable cause that you have committed a crime; however, “probably cause” can look different to everyone. While the fourth amendment is meant to protect illegal search and seizures, if the officer has any reason to believe a crime may have been committed they can make a legal arrest. Plus, they are able to take someone into their custody even if the crime did not happen in their presence.

In order to accurately prove a false arrest claim, the victim must be able to show that the cop did not have any probable cause or did not follow the proper protocols.

Malicious Prosecution
Malicious prosecution means that the officer denied the victim the right to liberty. This can mean several things:

1. The police officer started their own criminal trial without a judge present.

2. There was no probable cause at the time of the arrest.

3. The proceeding was brought with intent to harm the defendant.

Excessive force
A trial around the use of excessive force relies upon one primary question: if the force was reasonable considering the circumstances. Most cases will be solved by a judge, who will decide if the police officer’s intentions were malicious and if the amount of force used was appropriate for the situation.

What can you do if you were the victim of police misconduct?
Are you a victim of police misconduct? Then consider hiring a police brutality attorney who will fight for your rights in court.

Too often, the U.S. criminal justice system favors the testimony and reputations of police officers over ordinary citizens, and many judges and jury members are reluctant to rule against police officers. However, with the help of excessive force attorneys, you may not need to go to trial at all, as 96% of injury cases and most civil cases are settled pre-trial.

If you have reason to believe your civil rights were violated by a law enforcement agency, then police misconduct attorneys will fight to uphold your civil rights and get the settlement you deserve.