Nobody should be subject to police brutality, which may include sexual assault, unnecessary shootings, the use of clubs or tasers, the use of pepper spray that causes burns on the skin or eyes, and the use of racial slurs or epithets. Sometimes force is necessary to protect a police officer's safety or the safety of bystanders, but in other cases, law enforcement officers may abuse their authority and cause serious injuries to a suspect or witness. Police officers should not consider themselves above the law and are not entitled to abuse others as part of their job. Our Grand Rapids and Traverse City police brutality lawyers are ready to help you try to hold the government accountable for a violation of your civil rights. These claims tend to be complex and fiercely contested, so it is important to seek counsel from a civil rights lawyer early in the process.Seeking Compensation for Police Brutality
Many people incorrectly believe that police brutality is a result of increased episodes of police violence or crime. This is not true. However, there has been a recent rise in video cameras and camera phones recording police brutality. These may be powerful evidence to establish a victim’s version of events. However, judges and juries are often biased in favor of police officers, so it is vital to have an attorney who can persuasively present evidence, including recordings, and make sound legal arguments about what happened.
Many police brutality claims may be brought in federal court under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. Section 1983 allows people to sue government officials, such as police officers, for a deprivation of a constitutional right or a right provided by federal statute. Government officials may be protected by qualified immunity, but if a reasonable officer would have known that their conduct was unlawful in a particular situation, it may be possible to overcome this hurdle in court. Our police brutality attorneys can help Traverse City and Grand Rapids residents try to hold not only the individual officer responsible but also governments or agencies if they had enough personal involvement in a violation, allowed the violation due to gross negligence, or created a policy that allowed the violation.
Excessive force is one type of police brutality in which the force used was unreasonable under the circumstances. Often, excessive force and sexual abuse claims are brought under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. An officer purposefully touching you is considered a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. An officer's failure to read you your rights or use of torture during an interrogation may violate the Fifth Amendment. Racial slurs and verbal abuse are also wrongful and may violate your right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
If you successfully sue a law enforcement officer or another official under Section 1983, you may be entitled to compensatory damages, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. You may also be able to recover punitive damages in cases involving gross negligence or maliciously motivated actions.Consult an Experienced Police Brutality Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City
Police brutality may result in serious injuries or death. If you were harmed by the misconduct of officials or law enforcement, our Traverse City and Grand Rapids police brutality attorneys can help. We also represent people in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact Neumann Law Group at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free appointment with an injury attorney.