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.