Residents in the United States are afforded certain rights and protections by law, called civil rights. This includes protection against excessive or unlawful force used by the government, various forms of discrimination being prohibited, and penalties for individuals and organizations that violate these rights. One of the most dangerous types of civil rights violations is one that happens at the hands of a law enforcement officer whose job is to protect and serve through actions including excessive force and illegal containment. If you believe you have been the victim of police brutality in Orange County, a skilled defense attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can help.
The civil rights of residents in the United States are extremely important as they are intended to ensure that all people are treated equally. There are various laws, regulations, and statutes that have been put in place to guarantee that these rights are protected and that anyone who violates them is penalized. The federal government, as well as the California state government, have crafted laws that protect the civil rights of citizens.
One level of federal protection is provided by the Constitution through various amendments. These things are put in place to ensure that citizens do not have their rights violated by the government. The Constitution protects the following rights:
Another type of legal protection from the federal government was put in place by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law specifically protects employees from discrimination from their employers on the basis of their race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. Gender identity and sexual orientation can also be included in the category of sex. There are also newer pieces of legislation that protect against discrimination based on age, pregnancy, and disability status.
The state of California has also put laws and protections in place to expand on what the federal government has put in place. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) includes all of the protections from the Civil Rights Act but also bars discrimination based on age, marital status, medical conditions, immigration status, primary language, military status, genetic information, and ancestry. In addition to that, California also passed the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which requires businesses to offer accommodations to patrons with disabilities. Despite these protections, civil rights violations can still happen in Orange County, CA, one of the most egregious being police brutality or misconduct.
Police and other law enforcement officers are intended to protect and serve the communities that they are a part of. Unfortunately, that is not always the reality. In some situations, such as protests that may get out of hand or a traffic stop when the person pulled over is upset, an officer may use too much force or otherwise engage in misconduct.
If the actions or mistreatment are severe, it could be considered police brutality. Some of the most common examples of this are police beating citizens, using unnecessary force to get a protest to disperse, abusing someone based on their race, or even killing someone with no valid reason.
If you have experienced any of the following at the hands of police, you may be entitled to damages for your losses.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of police brutality, it can be difficult to know how to proceed.
When an interaction with police goes badly, it can lead to injuries from excessive force, trauma caused by the fear of being harmed, or even the death of a loved one. You may not know how to proceed either because you are unfamiliar with your options or are dealing with your own recovery. The team at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, will help you understand the most effective way to respond.
If you are seeking damages, compensation, or legal recourse, then a good course of action may be to file a lawsuit. For cases where the brutality was enacted by a local or state officer, you will need to file a 1983 claim, which requires you to prove that they were acting in their official capacity as an officer and that your clearly established rights were violated. These cases can be filed against individual officers, the police department they work for, and even the entire county when necessary. If your mistreatment came at the hands of a federal officer, you would need to file a Bivens claim, which can only be brought against an individual officer.
Winning one of these lawsuits can result in the victim being awarded damages, compensation, or any losses they suffered as a result of the police brutality they experienced. These damages may include monetary compensation to cover losses, a court order or injunction to prevent the misconduct from happening again, penalties intended to punish the defendant, and attorney and legal fees for a 1983 claim. One challenge that you may face when dealing with a police brutality case is avoiding an officer’s qualified immunity.
There are some arguments to be made that, in certain circumstances, force is necessary for a law enforcement officer to do their duty. In order to add credence to this argument, officers are given qualified immunity, which means they are not responsible for paying damages in certain situations, even if they used force and harmed a civilian. This immunity comes into play if an officer can show that they did not violate an individual’s rights or, if they did violate any rights, they were not established well. You must overcome this in order to win a 1983 claim or a Bivens lawsuit.
The reality of police misconduct and brutality is a difficult one and can cause significant physical pain, emotional turmoil, and financial challenges for the victims. Effective legal representation from an experienced attorney is essential when you are facing a police brutality case. The team at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can guide you through your case. Contact our office today for assistance.