The proliferation of smart phones and other mobile devices with cameras has forced police brutality out of the shadows and into the mainstream consciousness. But police brutality attorneys say that you do not have to be shot or killed by law enforcement for an incident to rise to the level of police brutality.
Police misconduct can take a number of forms. In fact, while the use of excessive force is a clear instance of misconduct, there are other actions law enforcement can take that exceed their authority and in those cases, a police brutality attorney may be able to help.
These instances include:
- Discrimination: The police are not permitted to target people based on their race, sexual orientation, religious preference or gender. If you have been searched or your property seized inappropriately, that may also be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
- Issuing a false arrest: Police do not have the authority to arrest anyone they want to arrest, they need probable cause. You cannot be detained for no reason.
- Deliberate indifference. If one police officer sees another violating a person’s civil rights, they have an obligation to do something. If they do not, they are just as complicit as the police officer who committed the violation.
Police brutality attorneys say that the experience of being brutalized by law enforcement is can be very psychologically damaging. We expect to be protected by, not injured, by the police and other law enforcement. If you cannot turn to the police when you need help, where can you turn?
If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of police brutality or misconduct, there are a lot of things a police misconduct attorney can do. They are experienced at dealing with these cases and know what kind of recourse its victims have and what kind of compensation they should expect to receive. They can also help assemble the evidence in a way to create the strongest case for their clients.
The idea of going up against the police or other law enforcement agency may seem like an impossible task but it is not. If you are looking for a police brutality attorney, these are some things you can do:
- Talk to the people you know. You may not know if a friend of family member has been the victim of police brutality or has ever hired a police brutality attorney unless you take the time to ask. This may not be something people talk about. Ask the people in your life that you trust and ask if they have experienced any police misconduct or if they know anyone who has. You may be surprised by what you find out. Police misconduct is not always as overt as what you see on the news.
- Talk to the American Civil Liberties Union. They have a long history of protecting Americans’ civil rights and have access to a large database of lawyers. They may be able to offer you help or guidance.
- Talk to the American Bar Association and NOLO. They both have extensive databases of civil rights lawyers and police brutality lawyers. At the very least, they can give you some names of lawyers you can talk to.
- Compile a list of lawyers and make some appointments. Law firms provide free first consultations for prospective clients. Take advantage of that and go in and meet with the police brutality attorneys in your area. Here are some questions you can ask:
- What made you go into this kind of law? You really need a lawyer with passion for what they do.
- How long have you practiced this kind of law?
- How much of your practice is devoted to it?
- What do you think of my case?
- What kind of timeline am I looking at?
- Who will be working on my case? Law firms hire an array of people to work with their lawyers such as paralegals, legal secretaries and others. You should know who would have access to your information and who will be available if you have questions.
- What is the fee structure? All law firms handle billing differently so you should understand what your bill will look like.
Few experiences are as upsetting as incidents involving police brutality. If you have experienced this, a police brutality lawyer can help.