As government officials, police officers are generally immune from civil lawsuits unless the plaintiff is given permission by the government to sue. 42 U.S. Code, Section 1983 gives citizens the rights to seek money damages when a government official deprives the citizen of his or her rights.
Overcoming this immunity means proving to the court that the officer’s use of force was unreasonable given the circumstances surrounding the case. For instance, an officer obviously has more leeway to use force if you are standing up swinging a baseball bat than if you are lying down, unarmed with your hands behind your back. The officer’s motivations and intentions for using force could also factor into the court’s decision. One of our experienced police misconduct attorneys can advise you on whether or not your case constitutes excessive force.
Building an Excessive Force Case
In order to win an excessive force case, you must carefully collect and preserve all relevant evidence of the encounter. The exact definition of excessive force is rather vague, so it is up to you and our civil rights lawyers to create a narrative that will convince the court you were the victim of excessive force. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when building your case:
A coherent story: It may be hard to remember minute details of the night you were beaten by police officers, especially if head trauma was a factor, but creating a consistent version of events will greatly aid in convincing a judge you are telling the truth.
Photographs or Video: Document as much as possible pertaining to the incident. Take pictures of your injuries and damaged clothing or other objects. Try to locate a witness who took a video of the use of force.
Witnesses: Sympathetic witnesses that will testify on your behalf are crucial to winning a case. Without an unbiased third party offering an opinion, the case could easily digress into a “he said, she said” situation, with the word of the officer in higher standing than your own.
Next, hire one of our experienced police misconduct attorneys to assist you with the case. Battling a police department by yourself will likely be a waste of time and energy, but with the assistance of our qualified attorneys, you have a fighting chance at justice and remediation for a police excessive force injury.
Speak to a Los Angeles Police Misconduct Attorney
Police misconduct attorneys are here to assist you in standing up to police misconduct and asserting your rights. With offices in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Irvine and Riverside, we take great care in defending the civil rights of the Greater Los Angeles area. Contact us today for a free consultation.