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Police Brutality & Personal Injuries

Unfortunately, police brutality seems to be a regular part of our news feed these days—both in and outside of Florida—particularly now that people have the ability to use their camera phones to capture what would otherwise be one person’s word against another. For example, according to the 2010 National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project, just during 2010 there were close to 5,000 unique reports of police misconduct involving almost 7,000 officers and 7,000 victims.

Sometimes civil suits against police officers and those in the government who choose to allow their law enforcement to commit these atrocities is necessary in order to address some very disturbing rights violations and the injuries that go along with them. These violations often include the use of excessive force and resulting wrongful death, false arrest, or malicious prosecution, and the resulting physical, emotional, and often financial/legal distress that comes with them.

Qualified Immunity

Police officers, in the course of their employment, are protected by what is known as qualified immunity. Although they can question, arrest, and detain suspects under certain circumstances, there are limits on how far they can go with the use of force and they cannot deprive you of your constitutional and legal rights. Specifically, they must have probable cause or reasonable grounds to make an arrest or conduct a search and seizure and they have a mandatory duty to intervene if another officer is violating your constitutional rights.

Common Violations

Police officers are limited to what is reasonable while acting in the capacity of their jobs. Stories that appear on the news most frequently cover the use (and misuse) of excessive force; police officers who have unleashed brutality onto citizens—beyond what was necessary to enforce the law and protect others—resulting in serious injuries and/or wrongful death.

Other common violations tend to center around false arrest (Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure) and/or malicious prosecution (Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty). Violations of these Civil Rights provisions—known as section 1983 claims—allow anyone deprived of their rights to bring a lawsuit alleging police brutality in federal court and recover for their injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death. This includes both being a victim of excessive force or being denied proper medical attention while in police custody. Police officers cannot abuse their power to conduct racial profiling, brutality, and other crimes.

Clearwater Federal Tort Claims Attorneys

Clearwater attorney Mike Walker is prepared for and experienced in handling federal tort claims against government agencies and others, including those linked to personal injury and/or wrongful death. These claims can be quite complicated and tend to require gathering a significant amount of evidence—as well as an experienced attorney—precisely because of the degree of immunity that police officers and other government entities have. Contact the office today at 727-927-2020 or online and receive a free consultation.

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