Walnut Creek Police Brutality Injury Lawyer
The police are supposed to protect the community and make citizens feel safe and secure. They are sworn to protect and serve. Yet there are far too many incidents of police brutality, where a law enforcement officer uses an unreasonable or excessive amount of force – resulting in serious and sometimes fatal injuries for victims. At Milanfar Law Firm, PC, we are passionate about advocating for victims of police brutality in Walnut Creek and throughout California. Find out how we can help you with this type of lawsuit during a free initial consultation.
What Is the Definition of Police Brutality?
Police officers have the right to detain criminal suspects and use force to do so, when necessary. There is a line, however, between reasonable and unreasonable use of force. Acting against a suspect in a way that is excessively violent or harasses the individual can constitute police brutality. The use of excessive force by a law enforcement officer is a crime. Fortunately, victims of police brutality in California are protected by law and have the right to speak up.
Common Examples of Police Brutality and Misconduct
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. This includes protection against the use of excessive force by law enforcement personnel, as well as protection against discrimination and harassment. Unfortunately, some law enforcement officers overstep the bounds of the law and engage in acts that are too violent for the situation. Examples include:
- Discriminating against someone based on his or her race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
- Harassing someone based on a protected class, such as making a stop or arrest with no probable cause.
- Verbally or emotionally abusing a suspect, such as through intimidation, racial slurs or threats of violence.
- Searching or seizing an individual’s property without probable cause, permission or a warrant to do so.
- Depriving a victim of his or her civil rights – rights that are protected by the Constitution.
- Placing a suspect under false arrest or holding an individual in containment with no legal authority or grounds to do so.
- Using weapons such as tasers, nightsticks, or pepper spray without cause or in excess.
- Using deadly force against a suspect without reason, or causing a suspect’s wrongful death.
Any action or behavior that is excessive or unreasonable based on the circumstances can lead to a lawsuit being filed against the law enforcement officer. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances. The question of reasonability asks what an ordinary, law-abiding police officer would have done in the same situation. If federal law means that the officer should have used a lesser level of force to achieve the same goal, the officer can be held liable for police brutality or misconduct in the civil courts.
Police Brutality Can Cause Serious Injuries
Police brutality or the excessive use of force can result in serious, life-changing injuries for a victim. A police officer is armed with many different tools and weapons that should only be used when absolutely necessary. Wielding these weapons offhandedly, without regard to safety or necessity, can result in severe injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Back or neck injuries
- Gunshot wounds
- Taser-related injuries
- Injuries from police dog attacks
- Emotional injuries
- Fatal injuries
If you or a loved one suffered any type of injury from an incident of police brutality, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your associated medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, and more. The attorneys at Milanfar Law Firm, PC can help you with any type or level of injury, including catastrophic injuries and a loved one’s wrongful death.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against the Police for Brutality?
Police brutality and other examples of civil rights violations are against federal law. Bring attention to your case first by reporting the law enforcement officer to his or her police department. Request to file an internal complaint with the department and provide as much detail about the incident as possible.
The department can take administrative action against the officer during and after an investigation, such as suspension or termination. The officer may also face criminal charges for crimes committed against you. This route does not result in any financial compensation for you as a victim, however. To pursue compensation for your medical bills, emotional distress, and other damages, you will need to file a civil lawsuit.
A civil lawsuit against a police department for the misconduct of one of its officers can be based on negligence (the failure to use proper care) or intent to harm. A police brutality lawsuit may use either legal doctrine, depending on the circumstances. It can be difficult to go up against a police department on your own, as this is a government entity that may claim legal immunity. Level the playing field by hiring a plaintiff’s attorney.
How to Prove Police Brutality
Police brutality has been plaguing the streets of California for decades. However, it has only recently gathered more attention, in part because of smartphones and bodycams that can record police activity and expose misconduct. The attorneys at Milanfar Law Firm, PC can help you collect this evidence – and other forms of proof – to strengthen your case against a law enforcement officer or police department. Evidence of police brutality can include:
- Video footage of the event
- Incident reconstruction
- Eyewitness statements
- Photographs of your injuries
- Medical records and a doctor’s opinion
- Police officer depositions
- Testimony from expert witnesses
Our lawyers can thoroughly investigate the police brutality incident that injured you in Walnut Creek. During our investigation, we will collect all available evidence against the defendant(s) to build a compelling case on your behalf. The strength of the evidence is important, as the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence. Working with an attorney can make it easier for you to prove your claim.
Are You a Victim of Police Brutality? Speak to a Lawyer in Walnut Creek Today
If you were injured in an act of police brutality in Walnut Creek, California, you have legal rights and options. You can obtain a clear understanding of these options by contacting Milanfar Law Firm, PC to discuss your case in detail. Our lawyers understand how these cases work and what it takes to achieve top results for clients. Request a free consultation online or by calling (925) 433-6003 today.