When Can I Sue For Police Misconduct? - Personal Injury Lawyer | Cooper and Friedman

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When Can I Sue For Police Misconduct?

Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on January 30, 2022
Are you a victim of police brutality, wrongful arrest, or other unlawful action by law enforcement? Call us.

Police misconduct is a disturbingly common phenomenon. Around 1 in 4.7 officers are implicated for some act of misconduct in their lifetime, according to the 2010 National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP).

Each year, thousands of Americans face frightening, unwarranted mistreatment from police officers. Misconduct can take many forms, but, across the board, the physical or psychological suffering it causes is debilitating and disempowering. 

Many victims of misconduct choose not to report their case out of fear of retaliation, or feeling like they lack sufficient evidence or validity. That’s why educating yourself about common types of police criminality is essential. It can help you or a loved one identify an experience as misconduct, and take proper legal action.  

Common Types of Police Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct 

Police sexual misconduct is often unreported, and accurate statistics are difficult to find. However, according to research by Bowling Green State University, over 400 incidences of rape were reported from 2005-2013 in the United States. A study conducted from 2005-07 found that victims are almost always female, many younger than 18 years of age. 

Sexual misconduct can include humiliation, harassment, coercison, violence, even “sexual extortion.” Populations such as minorities, teenage drivers, intoxicated drivers, and nighttime drivers are especially vulnerable. 

Use of Excessive Force 

While some force may be required to apprehend dangerous or uncooperative people, the force becomes “excessive” when it’s beyond reasonable necessity, rapidly escalating to brutality, violence, or a fatality. 

In court, the case will be examined circumstantially, taking into account factors such as the type/severity of crime allegedly committed, whether or not the individual was cooperating or subdued, the dialogue between the police and individual, and any extraneous variables or alternative circumstances that could’ve played a role in the results. 

Wrongful Arrest

In order to arrest someone, the police officer must be able to provide “probable cause” for the individual’s past, current, or future criminal activity. If you are detained without probable cause, it is considered wrongful arrest, and you are eligible for pursuing legal action. 

Wrongful Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects American citizens from “wrongful search and seizure.” These are cases when a law enforcement officer doesn’t have a search warrant, consent, or probable cause to support evidence of a crime. 

Harassment and Other Crimes

Harassment can be used to describe a variety of forms of police misconduct, including racial profiling, illegal “stop and frisk,” or emotional damages to a person (like intimidation or verbal abuse). Coercion, tampering, and malicious prosecution are also common crimes committed by police officers.  

Police Misconduct in Local News

The state of Kentucky is no stranger to police misconduct. In March 2020, Breonna Taylor of Louisville was fatally shot in her home during a failed police raid. This garnered national attention and demonstrations, leading to a banning of Louisville’s “no-knock” warrants, widespread efforts at police reform, and a $12 million wrongful death lawsuit brought forth by Breonna Taylor’s family. 

More recently, in August 2021, a Louisville police officer, Cory Evans, pleaded guilty to use of excessive force. The victim had been surrendering, kneeling with his hands in the air, when Evans used a riot stick to strike him on the back of the head.

In August 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice announced an investigation into Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government and the Louisville Metro Police Department. According to the official press release, “the investigation will include a comprehensive review of LMPD policies, training, and supervision, as well as LMPD’s systems of accountability, including misconduct complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition, and discipline.” Results and recommendations from this ongoing investigation remain inconclusive. 

Police Misconduct Lawyers in Louisville, Kentucky

If you or someone you love is the victim of police misconduct in the state of Kentucky, the attorneys at Cooper and Friedman PLLC can help. Our experienced legal team has decades of combined experience fighting for the rights of victims throughout the state. For more information or to schedule a consultation with a lawyer, give us a call today at 502-459-7555.

Posted Under: Civil Rights Law, Discrimination Law, Harassment, Law Firm News, Personal Injury

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