Police officers have a responsibility to protect their communities, unfortunately in some instances law enforcement officials cross the line and abuse their power. According to the Federal Department of Justice, it is a crime for a law enforcement officer to exceed their authority and detain an individual for no reason. This is known as false arrest. There are also provisions in the law that state that no one can be deprived of their liberty based solely on their race, sex, appearance or social standing. Police officers are required to act with courtesy and respectfulness. These laws protect all persons in the United States including citizens and non-citizens. Law enforcement officials that deprive another person of their rights protected by the constitution may be subject to criminal prosecution and civil litigation.
The “Police Misconduct Provision” specifically makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. (34 U.S.C. § 12601). The types of conduct covered by this law can include, excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests.
In addition to that provision, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the “OJP Program Statute” prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion by State and local law enforcement agencies that receive financial assistance from federal government. (42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. and 34 U.S.C. § 10228). These laws prohibit both individual instances and patterns or practices of discriminatory misconduct, i.e., treating a person differently because of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion.</P.
Most police officers became public servants to serve their communities and stop criminal activity. They had a desire to protect the innocent from those that would harm them physically or financially. They do their jobs to the best of their ability and in most cases, they and serve the community well. The unfortunate reality is, if all police officers acted in the right way the Police Misconduct Provision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 wouldn’t exist. The Civil Rights Act was codified into law by the US Congress because there are law enforcement officers who exceed their authority and target individuals and groups without any regard for their rights. These laws were put in place to protect those who have been abused by the police. The laws are meant to protect those individuals and groups and provide them some legal recourse when the police violate these laws.
If you believe you have been the victim of police misconduct, there are steps that you can take to fight this. Whether it was a false arrest, brutality or simple harassment you should think before you try to take on law enforcement on your own. It would be helpful to speak with an attorney that knows and specializes in police misconduct to help you navigate the legal system and if necessary, advocate for you. By retaining an attorney, you can be more confident that you can hold the police officer or officers accountable and also you may also recover financial compensation for your pain, suffering, loss of income and/or loss of your freedom. When you call the police misconduct attorneys at Ross & Hill in New York City, you will receive a free consultation and it will cost you nothing to retain their services. You will know that you have experienced police misconduct attorneys to guide and pursue the justice you deserve.
Some Examples of Police Misconduct Cases
Falsely Arrested for Auto Theft
In NYC, a middle-aged man rented a car from a car rental company. During the rental period, the car rental company, based on an apparent glitch in their system, marked the car as available for rent but was now missing from the lot. The car company reported the car as being stolen and cops quickly found the man and arrested him, despite the man providing valid proof of rental and payment history to the arresting officers. The man spent 11 hours in police custody. He was released only after the Rental Company acknowledged their mistake to the NYPD. The police and the rental company tried to get away with an apology and a refund for the car rental but the man wasn’t satisfied given the ordeal that he needlessly went through and after he showed the cops proof of his rental. The attorneys at Ross & Hill sued both New York City and the Rental Company and recovered a total of $52,000.
Mistaken Identity Leads to Mass False Arrest
In another outrageous example of police misconduct in New York City, a SWAT team operation gone wrong ended in 50 adults being falsely arrested at a private property backyard barbecue claiming they violated NYC Open Container Laws. What was supposed to be a 40th birthday bash with friends and family, turned into helicopters hovering over the home of a woman and her 50 guests and SWAT teams swarming her house with assault rifles pointed at guests.
The reason provided for the unlawful entry was a pursuit of a suspect in an unrelated crime they occurred months prior to this barbecue. While this mystery suspect was never found, that didn’t stop the NYPD officers from arresting all 50 guests and slapping an Open Container in Public Violation on them. Most guests testified they were not holding or consumed any alcohol, nor any beverages of any kind, at the time of the arrest early Saturday morning. The charges were dismissed, because even if they did take a sip of alcohol, it is surely not a crime for adults to enjoy a drink of alcohol in a private home. Ross & Hill represented 22 of those guests and recovered nearly $400,000 for those 22 who were held in police custody between 4 and 10 hours each.
These are examples of how a seasoned police misconduct lawyer can help individuals when they have been wronged by the police. According to the laws mentioned earlier in this article, these individuals were acting within the law and were deprived of their rights. However, without Ross & Hill no one would have been held accountable.
If you feel you were the victim of police misconduct, it is imperative that you do not try to take on the police alone. You should first speak with an experienced police misconduct lawyer to see if you have any legal recourse. An attorney can act on your behalf in court and you may succeed in recouping financial damages while holding the police accountable. You can call the veteran police misconduct attorneys at Ross & Hill at their offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan for a free consultation and find out if you have a case.