Law enforcement officers have an excessive amount of power under the law to defend us. Unluckily, sometimes police officers end up abusing this power. Being a victim of police misconduct can be a terrifying experience. However, the Constitution and police misconduct laws limit the extent to which these powers can extend.
If you have been ill-treated by a law enforcement agent or police officer in Los Angeles, who acted beyond their legal power or authority, it is imperative to stand up for your civil rights and hire a police brutality attorney.
Before moving forward to address the concern of the day, let’s first discuss police misconduct in detail!
Police Misconduct: Explained
As mentioned earlier, the police have ample power to carry out legal activities. If police officers abuse their power, they can face both criminal penalties and civil liability. One type of police misconduct occurs when a police officer violates an individual’s constitutional rights.
However, the victimized person has the authority to file a civil lawsuit against that police officer, demanding monetary damages with the help of a police brutality attorney.
Police misconduct can also take place when an officer handles a particular situation using more force than necessary. Police officers only have the authority to use a minimum amount of force required to deal with a felonious person, stop a threatful occurrence from arising, or defend themselves or other citizens from harm.
For example, a police officer who hits a suspect who is handcuffed or not resisting an officer’s orders, might end up using unjustified or excessive force. This behavior could lead to a claim of police misconduct.
Civil Police Misconduct
Los Angeles` jurisdiction makes it unlawful for anyone acting under the State’s legal authority to deprive a person of their civil rights. Again, the victimized person can file a civil lawsuit demanding monetary damages in court.
However, several requirements must be met to make such kind of claim successful. It is tough to establish that a civil right exists or that the person who deprived another individual of the right was acting under the ‘color of law.’
An individual demanding relief under federal law for police misconduct should remember that the U.S. Constitution’s Eleventh Amendment caters limited liberty to police officers acting in their official facility with state authority.
A person who deems that the police have deprived them of a Constitutional right should consult an experienced police brutality attorney in Los Angeles to review options and evaluate the claimed misconduct.
Criminal Police Misconduct
Police whose actions violate federal or State felonious statutes can be guilty of wrongdoing, even if the officer was working in their official capacity at the time.
There are several possible examples of unlawful police misconduct, including;
- Sexual assault;
- Receiving or fencing stolen property;
- Selling drugs;
- Intended false arrest;
- Deliberate fabrication of evidence.
If a police officer is alleged of committing a crime due to an incident in which a citizen is a victim, they may be subject to a felonious trial.
However, in Los Angeles, the individual does not claim damages from a criminal trial and is not a party to the legal action. To recuperate damages, the person needs to file a civil complaint in federal or state court and seek help from the police brutality attorney.
What are the Legal Remedies for Police Misconduct in Los Angeles?
When police violate any individual’s civil rights, the victim can be eligible for a remedy. That remedy may include but is not restricted to:
- felonious prosecution of the offending police officer,
- a civil rights lawsuit claiming monetary damages and/or an injunction,
- file a civil rights lawsuit through Section 1983 or a Bivens claim
- asking the court to exclude any evidence that was found as a result of the misconduct,
Section 1983 Claim: The Basics
Police misconduct victims are eligible to file a civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. These claims hold those involved accountable for civil rights desecrations done under the color of law.
1983 lawsuits can produce the following remedies:
- an injunction or court order designed to keep the occurrence of misconduct, again, and/or
- financial damages.
The injunctions from successful 1983 claims can direct to considerable changes in a law enforcement agency. It can force the agency to:
- retrain the police officers,
- look over their official way of conducting duties,
- revise internal customs, and
- terminate offending police officers.
The financial damages from a Section 1983 claim include:
- compensatory reimbursements, to reimburse the victim for his/her losses,
- disciplinary damages, to punish the police officer, and
- alleged damages to cover for the loss of liberty from the victim’s dishonored rights.
However, recuperating monetary damages in a Section 1983 claim needs overcoming qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is basically a defense that the offending police officer can raise. It protects them from having to pay financial damages in a lawsuit if:
- they did not violate someone’s fundamental civil rights, or
- they did, but the right was not evidently well-known.
The lawsuit can be filed against local officials and entities or state, like:
- the police officer who committed the misconduct,
- the law enforcement agency, and/or
- the county, town, or municipality.
Bivens Lawsuit: The Basics
A Bivens lawsuit is generally referred to as a civil rights lawsuit for monetary damages filed against a federal official. It is quite similar to a Section 1983 claim. Though, unlike 1983 claims, Bivens lawsuits can be filed against federal individuals like:
- FBI agents or,
- narcotics officers at the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DAE).
Also, contrary to 1983 claims, Bivens claims cannot be filed against official entities like:
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),
- Department of Justice (DOJ), and
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Like 1983 claims, though, perpetrators can claim qualified immunity defense for their actions.
Forms of Police Misconduct in Los Angeles
Victims of police brutality or excessive force can file a lawsuit in Los Angeles and hire a police brutality attorney. This complaint is generally based on fundamental civil rights violations. As mentioned earlier, under the lawsuit, the victim can seek monetary damages. The victim can also demand an injunction that would put off future police misconduct. It could even lead to felonious charges being filed against the law enforcement officer.
Following are some of the most common police misconduct forms:
- false arrest,
- malicious prosecution,
- excessive force, and
- failure to intervene.
Wrongful arrest is a claim that is most often asserted against police officers in Los Angeles. Individuals bringing this claim declare that police violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. If the officer had probable cause to trust the individual had committed a crime, the arrest is judicious, and the Fourth Amendment has not been breached. On the other hand, police officers can arrest without an arrest warrant for a misdemeanor or lawbreaking committed in their presence.
Even if the evidence the officer relied upon later turns out to be untrue, the officer is not accountable if he believed it was right at the time of the arrest.
To succeed on a false arrest claim, the victim must show that the arresting officer did not have probable cause at the time of the arrest, that is, proof adequate to cause a judicious person to believe that a felony had been committed.
A malicious prosecution claim proclaims that the police officer intentionally or mistakenly deprived the victim of the Fourteenth Amendment right to authorization. To get successful in such type of claim, with the help of a police brutality attorney in Los Angeles, the victim must demonstrate the following things:
- The offender police officer started an unlawful proceeding.
- The proceeding turned out to be in the victim’s favor (no conviction).
- There was a lack of probable cause.
- The legal proceeding was caused by malice toward the victim.
- As with wrongful arrest, this claim will fail if the officer had probable cause to initiate criminal proceedings.
Excessive force claims receive the most exposure, possibly because the results of excessive force seem the most offensive, involving death or serious physical injury. However, under the Los Angeles jurisdiction, if the police officer’s use of force was rational depends on the totality of the circumstances.
The officer’s motivations or intentions are not regulatory. If the force was rational and reasonable, it doesn’t matter that the officer’s intentions were corrupt.
But the reverse is also accurate: if the officer had upright intentions but used irrational or unreasonable force, the excessive force claim will not be terminated.
Failure to Intervene
Police officers must defend individuals from legal violations by fellow officers. Thus, an officer who witnesses a fellow officer breaching an individual’s constitutional rights may be accountable to the victim for failing to intervene.
Hiring Police Brutality Attorney in Los Angeles
Civil rights claims are a crucial part of the legal system in Los Angeles, providing a balance between police officers’ duty to sustain the laws and the rights of citizens to be free from police misconduct.
Nonetheless, cases against police can be challenging. Officials may be invulnerable from suit, even though an individual feels he/she was victimized.
If you, your acquaintance, or your loved one has been the victim of police misconduct, contact Kirakosian Law APC right away so that valuable evidence does not slip out of hand. Our law firm is centrally situated in Los Angeles. Founding attorney Greg Kirakosian is dedicated and diligently practice law by serving ordinary people to take on prevailing organizations. This includes police agencies and government entities in the Los Angeles area that violate your civil rights.
These blogs are meant purely for educational purposes. They contain only general information about legal matters. They are not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult with an attorney.