US Constitution and Federal Laws Prohibit Police Brutality

You know that what happened was wrong. One (or more) police officers used more force than was necessary and hurt you unnecessarily. They violated your rights, caused you physical pain, and started your emotional suffering.

But What Laws Did the Police Officers Break?

To recover financial damages for police brutality, you need to prove that one (or more) police officers broke the law. Police brutality could, for example, violate the United States Constitution. Specifically, you may be able to file a lawsuit alleging that the police officer violated your:

  • 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable government searches and seizures. If police used excessive force during an arrest or traffic stop, then you could have a 4th amendment case.
  • 8th Amendment right for inmates to live free from cruel and unusual punishments. If police used excessive force while you are in prison, then you could have an 8th amendment case.
  • 14th Amendment right to live free from excessive force while detained by the police. If police used excessive force while you were in jail waiting for a trial, then you could have a 14th amendment case.

You may also be able to file a police brutality lawsuit alleging that the police violated the Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Additionally, the United States Department of Justice may file a lawsuit if:

  • A police officer willfully deprived you of your constitutional rights. 18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242 make it illegal for the government to deny a person’s constitutional rights. A police officer acts on behalf of the government, even when that officer uses excessive force. This law does not allow you to recover financial compensation, but it is a criminal law that allows the court to impose fines or imprisonment if the government proves that excessive force occurred.
  • There is a pattern of police brutality. You were hurt by police brutality, and you might not be the only one who was injured by officers from the same police department. If what happened to you was part of a pattern of police brutality incidents inflicted by a police officer or police department, then the Department of Justice may file a civil lawsuit pursuant to 34 U.S.C. § 12601. While you won’t recover individual damages pursuant to this law, the government can require police departments to change their policies, procedures, and practices to prevent future incidents of police misconduct.
  • You are part of a protected class. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows the Department of Justice to pursue a civil case if you were the victim of police brutality because of your race, national origin, color, sex, or religion.
  • You are disabled. Both Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prevent discrimination on the basis of disability. If you were the victim of police brutality because you are disabled, then the Department of Justice can seek relief on your behalf.

You Need to Know Which Laws Were Broken

When you file a police brutality lawsuit, you need to identify which specific laws were violated, how they were broken, and what damages you are entitled to under the broken law. This can be complicated to figure out, but it is critical to your recovery.

Our experienced Wisconsin police brutality lawyers are here to help you. We would be pleased to offer you a free consultation. If we take your case, then you won’t owe us any money until your case is successfully resolved according to our Win or It’s Free Guarantee.

While our past results do not guarantee any specific outcome in your case, the experience we’ve gained through securing the largest police brutality settlement in Wisconsin history is critical. We will use the skills we’ve learned and fight passionately for your fair recovery. Call us or fill out our online contact form now to learn more.

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham