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Police misconduct under United States federal law

According to U.S. federal law, peace officers who violate the constitutional rights, privileges or immunities of U.S. residents can be held liable for the injuries that result from such violations. As such, a person who is unlawfully injured by a police officer due to the excessive or unlawful use of force may want to prove that his or her constitutional rights were violated. This would, in turn, increase the chances of the plaintiff receiving a monetary damage award.

Here are three legal issues that plaintiffs injured by police violence may want to focus on in this regard:

The Fourth Amendment: This amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. If a police officer carries out a search and seizure operation on your person or property, but he or she does not have a reasonable cause of action to do so, then a Fourth Amendment violation may have occurred. Furthermore, individuals may not be arrested without reasonable cause.

Excessive use of force: Police are only permitted to use a reasonable amount of force required given the circumstances. When potentially lethal levels of force are employed by officers to carry out their duties, they must have a clear and viable reason to use such force.

Failure to intervene: Police officers further have a duty to stop their fellow officers from violating a fellow citizen's civil rights. Failure to intervene in these circumstances could result in an officer's liability.

If your civil rights were violated by an officer of the law in New York, and you've suffered serious injuries as a result, the law is on your side. Following a detailed examination of the legal issues at play in your situation, you may want to consider the strengths and weaknesses associated with a potential lawsuit.

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Sivin & Miller, LLP Attorneys at Law
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