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Police brutality leads to lots of questions. Here, we’ve compiled and answered some of the most commonly asked questions we hear on this topic. Please browse our FAQs to start getting your own questions answered on this difficult topic.
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I have great respect for police and I’m hesitant to file a police brutality case even though I’ve been hurt. Why should I do it?
It is possible to respect the police and to pursue a police brutality case. We admire the hard work that many police officers do every single day to keep our community safe. Yet, we still believe that police officers who cause injuries or deaths by using excessive and unreasonable force should be held accountable for their actions. More importantly, we believe that the people who have been injured by police brutality should not have to pay for their own injuries or losses.
Police Brutality Cases Help Ethical Police Officers
Most police officers enter the profession for noble reasons. They want to enforce the laws and protect people—they do not support the police officers who abuse their power and put people in harm’s way by using excessive force.
When the police officers who do use excessive force are held accountable, it sends a clear message to the rest of the police force that police brutality will not be tolerated. This helps the police force maintain its good reputation and credibility in the community and it makes the jobs of well-meaning police officers a little easier.
You Deserve Fair Compensation If You’ve Been Hurt by a Cop
It is nice of you to consider the effect that your police brutality case may have on other police officers and your community. However, it is also important to think about yourself. You have been injured because a police officer did the wrong thing and used unreasonable force against you. You deserve fair compensation for all of your injuries, including but not limited to past and future:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Other damages as allowed by law
To learn more about the pros and cons of pursuing a police brutality claim, please call our experienced police brutality lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are available any time via text, phone, or email and we would be pleased to meet with you in any of our Illinois offices or in a location that is convenient for you.
How can I file a complaint against an Illinois State Police Officer?
It takes a lot of trust in the police department and a lot of personal strength to report police brutality. You are asking other law enforcement officials to investigate what happened and to report back on the potential wrongdoing by one of their own.
Reporting police brutality is, however, an important step to take. There needs to be an investigation into what happened so that the reputation and work of the majority of police officers—who are good people and who do not use excessive force—is protected.
Making a Police Brutality Report to the Illinois State Police
If an Illinois State Police Officer has used excessive force and hurt you, then you have the right to report it to the Illinois State Police, Department of Internal Investigations. You can do this by completing the Illinois State Police Complaint Against Department Member form completely and accurately. It is important to note that Illinois state law requires that you sign your complaint form and that it is notarized as a sworn affidavit before you submit it. Once this has been done, you may submit your complaint to:
Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigation
801 South Seventh Street, Suite 100-N
Springfield, Illinois 62703
Additionally, you may be able to report your allegations of police brutality to the federal government by filing a complaint with the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
Contact an Illinois Police Brutality Lawyer Before Making a Complaint
An internal complaint may be one way to pursue justice after you’ve been hurt by a police officer’s use of excessive force. However, you may also be able to file a civil lawsuit and be able to pursue damages for the serious injuries that you’ve suffered. If you’ve been hurt by a member of the Illinois State Police or by any other law enforcement officer in the State of Illinois, then we encourage you to contact our experienced police brutality lawyers as soon as possible for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
What should I do if a loved one's been killed by a police officer's deadly force?
You lost your loved one due to unnecessary force. We understand that it is a devastating, painful, and overwhelming loss. As you grieve and adjust to life without your loved one, it can be very difficult to know what to do next.
Protect Important Evidence
As the plaintiff in a police brutality wrongful death claim, it is up to you to prove what happened. This will require evidence. Depending on the specific circumstances and location of the incident that took the life of your loved one, this evidence may include:
- Police cameras. Cameras on patrol vehicles, body cameras, and surveillance cameras in police stations may have captured what happened to your loved one.
- Other cameras. If your loved one was hurt on the street, for example, then area businesses or homes may have captured the incident on their private security cameras and you may be able to get these recordings.
- Police dispatch records. This should tell you which officers were at the scene of the incident. One or more of these officers may have used excessive force, and one or more of these officers may be witnesses to what happened.
- Witnesses. It is important to find out if anyone else saw what happened. Their testimony may be very useful.
Other forms of evidence may also be useful in your case and should be discussed with your lawyer.
Talk to a Police Brutality Lawyer as Soon as Possible
It is not up to you to know what evidence to seek, how to report an incident of police brutality, or what steps to take after your loved one has been the victim of police brutality. Instead, you can leave these things up to your police brutality attorney who will advise you of rights and protect your potential recovery. To learn more, please contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 as soon as possible. We would be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can learn more about your rights.
Can I report police brutality to the federal government?
You may be hesitant to report police brutality to the police department that employs the officer who hurt you. You may worry that a fair and accurate investigation won’t be done because the officer’s friends and colleagues will try to protect him.
Federal law protects you—and everyone in the United States—from police misconduct. Accordingly, the United States Department of Justice may be able to investigate your allegations of police brutality even if you were hurt by a local cop or an Illinois State Police Officer.
How to Report Police Brutality to the Department of Justice
The Department of Justice handles both criminal and civil cases. If you believe that the police violated a criminal law then you may file a complaint with the Department of Justice. You should send your complaint in writing to:
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66018
Washington, D.C. 20035-6018
If you believe that the police violated a civil law such as the Police Misconduct Statute or Title VI of the Civil Rights Act then you can send a written complaint to:
Coordination and Review Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66560
Washington, D.C. 20035-6560
Either type of complaint should include basic information about your claim including:
- Your name and contact information.
- The name of the officer and law enforcement agency involved in the incident.
- A detailed description of what happened.
- Contact information for anyone who may have witnessed what happened.
The Department of Justice May Investigate, But it Will Not Represent You in a Police Brutality Incident
The Department of Justice may advise you of your rights, but it will not act as your lawyer. You do, however, have the right to work with a police brutality attorney to make sure that all of your rights are protected and that you are seeking justice from all the appropriate sources.
We encourage you to contact our experienced Illinois police brutality lawyers if you’ve been hurt or if a loved one has been killed by police brutality. We would be happy to meet with you and to discuss your claim. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, please contact us online or call our office directly at 800.800.5678.