What Are Ways in Which Police Misconduct Can Arise?
Our civil rights lawyers in New York City have successfully handled countless cases and instances of police conduct. New York police misconduct cases fall into a few general categories of false arrest, malicious prosecution, tampering with evidence, fabrication of evidence, withholding of evidence and use of excessive or unreasonable force. In general, when the police do things they are not supposed to do, such as lying about what evidence there is against the person, arrest somebody when they really didn’t do anything wrong and then try to basically make up things or fudge or fabricate the evidence so to speak, that creates police misconduct. The other big area of police misconduct is police brutality cases where police use excessive force or force when it isn’t necessary or basically beat somebody when they shouldn’t have.
Another subset of that type of excessive force or police brutality is deadly force, where the police shoot somebody where there was no reason or no justification for that level of force. You really need to have the significant justification to use deadly force. Those are the general types of police misconduct cases that New York City police misconduct lawyers have seen.
How Is the Use of Force Determined to be Unreasonable?
There are two different laws with any use of force case by the police or police misconduct or police brutality case in New York. One set of law is under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which gives a civil remedy for any violation of constitutional rights. Generally, any use of force by the police is considered to be a seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, you have a right not to be subjected to excessive force. Under New York State law, New York State recognizes the cause of action for assault and batter, in which a person can sue if they were subjected to an assault and battery by a police officer. A battery actually is any unlawful touch or touch without consent and without privilege or justification.
The questions on both sets of laws come down to if the force used by a police officer was justified. If the answer is no, then the use of force should not have been used at all. Police do have a right to use some force if the person is resisting arrest, but they don’t have a right to use what they call gratuitous force. In other words, if you’ve surrendered to the police, they should not be hitting or kicking you or striking you with a blunt object after you’ve already surrendered and after you’re in handcuffs. What our experienced New York City police brutality lawyers see more commonly though is where a person says, “Hey, I didn’t really do anything. They beat me up for no reason and they lied and made stuff up”. The police will say that they resisted, that they gave them cause to use force, to restrain them, and that’s how the injury has occurred. These really become he-said she-said types of situations.
Our experienced Manhattan police misconduct lawyers know that early investigation is necessary. In recent years, one way our New York civil rights lawyers, have been able to prevail on these cases is if we get retained early. Our police misconduct attorneys will make every effort to obtain video and we issue subpoenas for surrounding stores and videos to really tell what happened. When our attorneys catch the police lying about their reasons for using force, a lot of times their case will fall apart. It becomes pretty evident that they hit the person or kicked the person, used mace or whatever and there was no reason for it. A lot of times, the severity of the injury, in and of itself, shows that the force was excessive. For example, if you have a fractured orbital bone, fractured ribs or fractures or tears or rotated cuffs that indicates that the significant amount of force was used. If the video evidence or all the eyewitness testimony says a person wasn’t resisting or if the person wasn’t even charged with the resisting arrest that really goes a long way to show that the use of force was excessive. Our New York City police brutality lawyers know that it is essential to preserve evidence and take pictures of all injuries as soon as possible after an incident.
In general, the standard is, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth Amendment violation, was the force used objectively reasonable. In other words, would an objectively reasonable officer have used this force in this situation? If the answer is no, then that’s a case of excessive force. Our New York City police brutality lawyers have extensive experience in handling people who’ve been involved in encounters of the police and who’ve been subjected to excessive force. We prevailed on many cases due to the early investigation.
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