A police officers’ primary purpose is to serve and protect our communities. To do so, they are often endowed with a broad range of rights and powers in order to carry out their duties. In a sense, to borrow a phrase from a constitutional professor, police officers are soldiers of the constitution. They are officers of government. Sadly and regrettably at times, such powers get taken advantage of or abused thus leading to severe police misconduct. If you’ve experienced police misconduct you should retain a police misconduct lawyer. When this happens, it is important for the victim or their loved ones to immediately contact an attorney to learn their rights and how to go forth from this unfortunate event.
The Fundamental Legal Premise:
– The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by police officers. The Constitution provides that [t]he right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The United States Supreme Court has recognized that “[n]o right is held more sacred . . . than the right of every individual to [be] . . . free from [the] restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.” The framers of the United States Constitution specifically drafted the Fourth Amendment “to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials.” The Fourth Amendment generally requires that all searches and seizures be made pursuant to a warrant based upon probable cause. Accordingly, on numerous occasions, the United States Supreme Court has examined a variety of stop, search, and frisk issues that are relevant to determining whether a Fourth Amendment violation exists.
Know Your Rights
The most common statute regarding police misconduct is known as Section 1983. This statute declares it unlawful for anyone acting under the authority of the state to deprive another of their rights under federal or Constitution law. The most common claims brought against police under this statute include false arrest, use of excessive or unreasonable force, and malicious prosecution. These types of cases are brought in federal court but can be brought in State Courts (New York State Supreme Court).
Types of Police Misconduct in New York City
False arrest cases are often accompanied with the claim that their Fourth Amendment, or unreasonable search and seizures by government, has been violated. This can be complicated and difficult case, as very strong evidence is required to prevail. However, our experienced and distinguished attorneys can certainly help guide you through this tough time.
False Imprisonment usually results following a false arrest. The time you spend incarcerated or with your freedom deprived is violative of your constitutional rights – and it is compensable!
Without a warrant for arrest (or observing the crime), a police officer requires probable cause. Many of these types of cases are litigated around whether the arresting officer had probable cause.
Excessive force from police authorities has received the most publicity lately and is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Such outrageous events can often lead to serious physical injury or death. The surrounding facts and circumstances often determine whether an officers actions were reasonable or not.
Claims of malicious prosecution are often accompanied by the deprivation of the Fourteenth Amendment, or the restriction of basic rights to citizens and other persons. Similar to false arrest, this can be a difficult case and requires strong evidence from the plaintiff in order to prevail.
Failure to Intervene
As discussed, a police officer’s primary duty is to protect individuals in the community. With that said, if an officer witnesses another officer violate an individuals federal or constitutional rights, they may be liable to the victim for failing to intervene.
If you experienced any of these or feel that you are a victim of queens police misconduct then call the MM Law Firm and speak to a police misconduct lawyer now.
What Can You Do?
The evidence supporting your claim is the most important aspect of your case:
Take photographs of any injuries or damages caused by the police. Make sure these photographs are clear and take photos from various angles, as well, in order to get a fuller picture of the scene,
Safeguard any clothing or other objects that were a part of the incident, especially those that have been torn or have blood stains on them from the incident,
Try to get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident,
As soon as possible, write down your account of the accident with as many details as you can recall. Be as specific as possible.
Call Michael Manoussos & Co PLLC immediately.
In any situation involving police misconduct, always be cooperative. Do not make a bad situation worse (or give the authorities something to have on you). Do not to talk the police without a lawyer. The best advice is to remain silent.