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Defend Yourself From Police Misconduct With Legal Help

Have you ever wondered about the challenges people face when dealing with police misconduct in California? Excessive force, false arrests, and other issues can profoundly impact individuals and communities. 

If you or someone you know has experienced police misconduct in California, seeking help from a Los Angeles police misconduct attorney is crucial. Understanding your rights and legal options is the first step toward seeking justice for police misconduct. 

Quick Summary:

  • Police misconduct is when police officers do things that are wrong or illegal while doing their job. 
  • There are different types of police misconduct, like using too much force, arresting someone without a good reason, holding someone when they shouldn’t, treating people unfairly because of their race, sexually assaulting someone, hiding or changing evidence, and intimidating witnesses.
  • Some common injuries from police misconduct include broken bones, brain injuries, and harm to internal organs. Weapons like batons, tasers, pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and chokeholds can cause severe harm and even death.
  • If you experience police misconduct, stay calm, document the incident, and preserve any evidence, like photos of injuries. Seek medical help if needed and file a complaint against the officers. Contact a lawyer for advice and protect your rights by not sharing details on social media.
  • Immunity protects officers from being sued for their actions on the job. This means you can’t usually sue the police unless they did something very wrong, even if you feel scared or upset during an encounter.
  • You can challenge immunity by using laws like Section 1983 of the US Code. This law, made to protect African Americans’ rights after the Civil War, allows you to sue government agents who violate your rights and seek damages.
  • You can file a claim under the Bane Act if someone, including the police, tries to stop you from exercising your civil rights using threats or violence. The Bane Act, created in 1987 to fight hate crimes, now covers any action that prevents someone from exercising their civil rights, even if it’s not considered discriminatory, and is often used in cases of police brutality.
  • If a loved one dies in police custody, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Your loved one has the right to receive medical care, and if they don’t get the right treatment and die, you can seek legal help to file a lawsuit.
  • To prove misconduct by a peace officer, you need to show that the force used was not reasonable. Factors like the seriousness of the alleged crime, whether the person posed an immediate threat, and if they were trying to resist arrest or evade the officer are considered in determining reasonableness.
  • A police officer can now be decertified by the government in California for serious misconduct, thanks to Senate Bill 2. This law allows the state to strip officers of their licenses for actions like sexual assault, dishonesty, abuse of power, physical abuse, and other serious misconduct.

What is Police Misconduct?

Police misconduct is inappropriate conduct and illegal actions taken by police officers in connection with their official duties. It can include various behaviors, such as excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, racial profiling, and sexual assault. 

Police misconduct can have a devastating impact on the victims, both physically and emotionally. 

It can also erode public trust in the police and make it more difficult for law enforcement to do their job effectively. If you have been the victim of police misconduct, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

What are the Types of Police Misconduct?

There are many different types of police misconduct, but some of the most common include:

  • Excessive Force: This is using force more than necessary to achieve a legitimate law enforcement objective. It can include punching, kicking, tasering, or shooting a suspect.
  • False Arrest: This is the arrest of a person without probable cause. It can happen when a police officer makes an arrest based on mistaken identity or for a crime they did not commit.
  • False Imprisonment: This is the unlawful detention of a person. It can happen when a police officer holds someone in custody after they have been released from arrest or refuses to let someone go after they have been cleared of suspicion.
  • Racial Profiling: This is the practice of targeting people for suspicion or arrest based on their race or ethnicity. It is a form of discrimination that can lead to wrongful arrests, excessive force, and other forms of police misconduct.
  • Sexual Assault: This is any sexual contact or behavior that is forced or coerced. It can happen when a police officer is on duty or in the context of an arrest or interrogation.
  • Tampering With Evidence: This is the intentional destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence. It can happen to prevent a conviction or to frame an innocent person.
  • Witness Tampering: This is the intimidation or coercion of a witness to prevent them from testifying. It can happen before, during, or after a trial.

What are the Most Common Police Misconduct Injuries?

Despite their names, non-lethal or less-lethal weapons can cause severe injuries and even death. Cases of police brutality and excessive force often involve the use of one of the following:

  • Police Batons: Hitting someone with a baton can lead to broken bones, broken teeth, fractured skulls, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and many other severe injuries.
  • Tasers: The strong electrical charge in police tasers can be deadly.
  • Pepper Spray or Pepper Balls: Pepper spray, also called “OC” spray, is used for crowd control in peaceful protests. It is also used when people are said to be resisting arrest. Most injuries from pepper spray are minor, like breathing or skin problems. However, some people have had severe allergic reactions.
  • Tear Gas: Police use tear gas in crowd control like pepper spray. Breathing in tear gas can harm your lungs, especially if you already have health issues. Tear gas can also make your heart beat faster and raise your blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks for some people.
  • Rubber Bullets: During protests and other times when they need to control crowds, police use rubber bullets and similar projectiles like bean bags. These can break bones, cause skull fractures and other brain injuries, harm internal organs, and hurt people’s eyes.
  • Handcuffs: Handcuffs aren’t usually seen as weapons. However, some people who’ve been hurt by the police were injured after being handcuffed and thrown down or into a wall for supposedly resisting arrest. During protests, some peaceful protestors were also seriously hurt when police used scissors to cut off zip ties and accidentally cut their wrists and hands.
  • Chokeholds: After seeing how chokeholds used by police often lead to death, many police departments are now banning them. While this is a good move, it doesn’t solve the main problem – which is policing that’s too aggressive and racism built into the system. Until we deal with these issues, police chokeholds will probably keep hurting and killing people, especially people of color.

What are the Steps I Need to Take When I Experience Police Misconduct?

Below are steps that you can take when you are in a situation of police misconduct:

  1. Remain Calm and Composed: While encountering police misconduct can be emotionally charged, try to remain as calm and composed as possible. Avoid escalating the situation further by maintaining a respectful demeanor.
  2. Document Everything: As soon as it’s safe, start documenting the incident. Write down the names, badge numbers, and physical descriptions of the officers involved. Note the location, date, time, and specific details about what transpired. If there are witnesses, try to obtain their contact information.
  3. Preserve Evidence: If you were subjected to physical harm or if your property was damaged, take photos of any injuries, bruises, or damages. These visual records can serve as valuable evidence later on.
  4. Do Not Resist Arrest: If you are being arrested, even if you believe it’s unjust, it’s important not to resist. Resisting arrest could lead to additional charges and potential harm. Comply with the officer’s instructions but remember to assert your rights calmly.
  5. Invoke Your Rights: You have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions without our attorney present. Politely inform the officers that you choose to exercise your right to remain silent and that you would like to speak with our attorney before answering any questions.
  6. Seek Medical Attention: If you’ve sustained injuries from police misconduct, seek medical attention immediately. Your health and well-being are a priority, and medical records can be evidence of any harm you’ve suffered.
  7. File a Complaint: After the incident, file a formal complaint against the officers involved. Contact the appropriate internal affairs division or civilian oversight agency to report the misconduct. Be sure to provide all the details you’ve documented.
  8. Gather Witnesses: If there were witnesses to the incident, ask them if they are willing to provide statements or testify on your behalf. Their accounts can corroborate your version of events.
  9. Contact an Attorney: Contact a Los Angeles police misconduct attorney. They can provide legal advice, guide you through the process, and help you determine the best course of action.

What is Immunity?

Usually, an officer can’t be sued for things they do while working because of governmental immunity. This means the government can’t be sued unless it says it’s okay

Even though being stopped and questioned by police can be scary and upsetting, as long as the officer is doing their job correctly, they’re not violating your rights. In simple terms, you can’t usually sue the police for doing their job reasonably.

How Can I Overcome Immunity?

Even though police are protected by governmental immunity, there are state and federal laws that let people take legal action against them for misconduct. Section 1983 of the US Code lets individuals sue police officers and others acting under the government’s authority when their constitutional rights are violated. 

This law, also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871, was created to protect the rights of African Americans after the Civil War. Its main goal remains the same today. It lets people sue government agents who violate their constitutional rights and claim damages.

How Can I Bring a Civil Rights Claim Under the Bane Act?

The Bane Act stops anyone, even the police, from stopping you from exercising your civil rights using intimidation, violence, or threats. This includes your right to vote, peacefully gather and protest, own guns, or be friends with certain people. If someone tries to stop these rights using force or threats, our police misconduct attorneys can take legal action. 

This can also include damaging property. The Bane Act was made in 1987 to fight hate crimes, but now covers any action that stops someone from exercising their civil rights, even if it’s not seen as discriminatory. It’s mostly used in cases of police brutality now.

Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim If My Loved One Died While in Police Custody?

If someone you care about dies while in custody—whether in a detention center, jail, or during transfer—you might be able to file a wrongful death claim. Everyone has the right to get medical care and treatment, and it should be given without delay. 

Your loved one should receive care for issues like alcohol and drug withdrawal, medical conditions, and injuries from other inmates or jail staff. If they get sick or hurt while in custody and die because they didn’t get treatment, a Los Angeles police misconduct lawyer can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.

How Can I Prove Misconduct by a Peace Officer?

While police can use reasonable force to arrest or detain someone they believe committed a crime, they shouldn’t use too much force. These factors decide if the force used was reasonable or not in a police misconduct case:

  • How serious the crime the officer believed was committed.
  • If the person the officer was dealing with was an immediate danger to the officer or others.
  • If the person was trying to avoid being arrested or was resisting the officer.

It can be hard to tell when an officer is justifiably detaining someone or when they’re being physically abusive.

Can a Police Officer Be Decertified by the Government Following Misconduct?

California used to be one of just four states without the authority to take away a police officer’s license. But with the passing of Senate Bill-2, the state can now remove officers from duty for things like sexual assault, dishonesty, abusing their power, physical abuse, and other serious misconduct.

Why Do I Need a Los Angeles Police Misconduct Attorney?

When faced with the alarming situation of police misconduct, having a skilled legal professional on your side can make a remarkable difference. Here’s why you need a police misconduct attorney in Los Angeles to guide you through this challenging ordeal:

  • In-depth knowledge of Laws and Regulations: Navigating the legal landscape surrounding police misconduct requires a comprehensive understanding of federal and state laws and local regulations. A police misconduct attorney in Los Angeles is well-versed in these intricacies and can determine the most relevant laws that apply to your case.
  • Skilled in Proving Misconduct: Establishing police misconduct can be challenging due to the complex nature of these cases. A lawyer knows how to gather and present evidence that demonstrates the abuse of power, excessive force, racial profiling, or other violations of your civil rights.
  • Access to Resources: Police misconduct cases often require thorough investigations, witnesses, and access to various resources. A Los Angeles police misconduct lawyer will have the necessary connections and resources to build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Effective Negotiation and Litigation: An attorney knows how to advocate for your rights efficiently, whether through negotiations or in the courtroom. We can negotiate with opposing parties, including law enforcement agencies and their legal representatives, to seek fair compensation or resolution.
  • Reducing Emotional Burden: Dealing with the aftermath of police misconduct can be emotionally draining. A legal professional provides a supportive and knowledgeable presence, relieving you of the burden of navigating complex legal procedures alone.
  • Maximizing Compensation: If you’ve suffered physical, emotional, or financial damages due to police misconduct, your attorney can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. They will assess the extent of your damages and work to secure a fair settlement or verdict.

Call Our Los Angeles Police Misconduct Attorney Now!

Navigating the legal landscape in cases of police misconduct can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our trusted Los Angeles police misconduct attorney is well-versed in the relevant laws, regulations, and precedents that govern these cases.

We will diligently investigate the circumstances, gather evidence, and work tirelessly to build a strong case on your behalf. Your rights matter, and we are committed to safeguarding them. We also offer California the following services:

Call us today to get a free consultation from our knowledgeable lawyers.

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