Every few weeks, news headlines remind us how often New York City police officers and others around the country are accused of exceeding their authority or blatantly mistreating different suspects. While being a police officer is a very demanding job, citizens still have the right to hold law enforcement accountable when their constitutional or civil rights are violated.
Although some police misconduct is relatively minor, other incidents constitute gross abuse of power. For example, during September of 2017, two Brooklyn police officers apparently raped an 18-year-old woman. The district attorney’s office has now filed an indictment against the two men that includes at least 50 separate counts.
However, other acts of misconduct are far less obvious – although carried out on a routine basis. As your New York police misconduct lawyer will tell you, the most common types of illegal police activities include racial profiling, false arrest, the use of unreasonable or excessive force and malicious prosecution. And on some occasions, wayward police officers also subject citizens to different forms of illegal search and seizure without first establishing probable cause.
Before examining some of the most common forms of illegal police misconduct that should result in contact with a New York City police brutality lawyer, we’ll quickly review some recent, pertinent statistics. They should shed further light on the “police action claims” that are often filed to protect citizens against the small percentage of police officers who cannot be fully trusted to behave honorably while protecting the public. For more call and schedule a consultation with our injury firm in NYC today.
During fiscal year 2017, numerous claims alleging police misconduct were filed in New York City. Many of them accused our local police officers of violating citizens’ constitutional or civil rights.
As is common, many of the alleged constitutional violations claimed that the police officers discriminated against citizens based on their race, sex, disability, religion, age, or sexual orientation. “Police action” claims often involve using excessive force or wrongfully arresting or imprisoning suspects.
While the annual claim filings continue to periodically fluctuate, it’s quite clear that far too many NYC police officers keep failing to behave honorably while enforcing the law.
Here’s some additional information about the three most common claims filed against NYC police officers and how a New York City police brutality lawyer can help.
Officers facing this type of charge can often escape liability when they truthfully assert that they had probable cause to begin the entire proceeding.
The American public deserves to have police officers and other law enforcement personnel that they can trust to carry out their assigned duties in a highly professional and responsible manner. If we fail to hold all officers accountable when they abuse the discretion they’ve been given to properly carry out their duties, our cities become less safe for everyone. All citizens must be protected against government abuses — particularly those that occur when police officers take advantage of the natural fear that many citizens experience when they’re stopped or questioned.
In general, our courts first presume that the police have conducted themselves appropriately. If this level of respect were not accorded, few police officers would feel enough support to carry out all their duties. That is why simple negligence in performing their jobs will usually not subject officers to liability – especially when they can demonstrate that probable cause existed for their specific actions.
Nevertheless, when a citizen’s civil (or constitutional) rights have been violated and adequate evidence has been provided to the court supporting the claims of police misconduct, the injured party will often be awarded their attorney fees for bringing the lawsuit and compensatory damages. In some cases, punitive damages will also be awarded to discourage police officers from ever behaving in the same wrongful manner again. Of course, some lawsuits alleging police misconduct may also result in an officer being formally reprimanded, fired and sentenced to serve time in jail or prison. To learn more or discuss whether you may have the basis for a claim, consult with a New York police brutality lawyer today.