Our Experienced New York City False Arrest, False Imprisonment and Excessive Force Attorneys Explain Some Important Things You Should Know If Your Civil Rights Were Violated by the Police
The police in New York City have a legal right to arrest, imprison and even use force. However, these rights are not unlimited. In fact, each and every member of the public has powerful civil rights based in our Constitution that are designed to protect against abuses of police power. If you were a victim of false arrest, false imprisonment or excessive force in New York City, contact our experienced NYC false arrest attorneys for immediate legal advice.
Have You Been the Victim of False Arrest, False Imprisonment, or Excessive Use of Force by Police in New York City?
The right to challenge the actions of the police is based in the United States Constitution. While the framers of the Constitution understood the importance of the police, they were clear to give important rights to members of the public to guard against the abuse of police power. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment provides that:
the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be searched.
This important provision of the Constitution has developed into a series of laws that serve as the foundation for some of the most basic types of claims against the police, including:
- False Arrest, or the arrest of a person without proper authority;
- False Imprisonment, the confinement of a person without proper authority;
- Excessive Force, the use of force that is unnecessary under the circumstances;
- Unjust Convictions, the conviction of an innocent person.
Were You a Victim of False Arrest By the Police in New York City?
Although false arrest is a form of false imprisonment, the two are not the same. False arrest typically involves law enforcement, since one must have legal authority to make an arrest. However, false imprisonment may be committed by anyone and does not necessarily involve a false arrest.
In the simplest of terms, a false arrest occurs when a law enforcement officer detains a person without proper legal authority. The law is very precise in terms of steps and circumstances that must be met in order to lawfully place a person under arrest. Most cases of false arrest that the public are actually aware of are publicized because brutality is involved or a lengthy incarceration; however, even a minimal amount of time spent in jail is harmful for the victim of a false arrest.
A false arrest has numerous implications for the victim. The mental and emotional distress can be overwhelming and cause long-term stress and emotional damage. Because of the severity of the impact on a victim of a false arrest, filing a lawsuit for monetary damages is not unreasonable. In fact, the officer and the municipality in which he or she is employed should be held accountable for causing undue distress, as well as violating a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Besides the mental and emotional stress of being detained, there are also practical factors involved in the resulting loss of freedom, such as disrupting work, family responsibilities, and other obligations, as well as the time it takes to resolve the situation. Unfortunately, individuals often experience irreparable damage to their personal and professional reputation as a direct result of a false arrest. A false arrest is a violation of federal law and state law, and our Bronx false arrest attorneys can help you seek compensation for your losses.
Were You a Victim of False Imprisonment In New York City?
While a false arrest is typically perpetrated by a police officer, false imprisonment may be committed by anyone – government employee, private security, loss prevention staff, nursing home staff, medical or psychiatric staff, employers, law enforcement, or anyone who forcibly restrains one against their will with a real or perceived risk of injury or death. In other words, any person who restricts another’s freedom may be held liable for false imprisonment.
Words, gestures, and actions that create reasonable fear that force will be used and injuries sustained if a person doesn’t comply with the perpetrator’s demands may constitute an act of false imprisonment. Even if a person isn’t literally confined, the use of language or actions that express intent to confine the victim may constitute false imprisonment. More egregious cases of false imprisonment might involve locking a person in a room or physically grabbing or holding a person. If an individual receives poor treatment, sexual harassment, or other harassment during the course of a false arrest and false imprisonment, compensation for the victim increases accordingly.
Were You a Victim of Excessive Use of Force By the Police In New York City?
There is no set limit on the amount of force that a police officer may use when making an arrest, but police departments typically expect officers to use the least amount of force possible when encountering a suspect. As our most highly trusted members of society, the assumption is that police officers will exercise prudence and exemplary judgment based on their viewpoint of the situation at hand.
There are numerous variables for determining what an appropriate amount of force may be, such as the nature of the crime the person is suspected of committing, whether or not the suspect is cooperative, and the level of threat that the person poses. When physical force is used by a law enforcement officer against a suspect who is not resisting, or is subdued, or is unarmed, or when physical force or the threat of force is used to elicit a confession, the officer is using excessive force. If a suspect is resisting, is armed, or is suspected of a violent crime or felony, the officer has more justification to use more force.
When a police officer goes too far, it is important not only for the victim to receive justice and compensation, it is also important to reassure the public that their safety is in capable hands with law enforcement. Not only has the victim endured harm and a violation of their civil rights, but the public’s trust is shaken when police brutality occurs.
Just as police officers are given discretion to determine how much force is necessary in any given situation, when a case makes its way to a jury, the decision is based on what the jury deems reasonable based on the officer’s perspective of the situation and the suspect at the time of the incident. The jury will be most interested in how the incident transpired, as this is the information they will use to determine whether law enforcement acted inappropriately or within reasonable limits when meting out force.
What Can an Attorney Do for Victims of False Arrest, False Imprisonment, or Excessive Use of Force?
Our experienced New York City false arrest, imprisonment and excessive force attorneys will evaluate the details of your case and determine whether there is a valid basis to file a claim. Claims for false arrest, excessive force and false imprisonment against the NYC Police Department, require a Notice of Claim to be filed within 90 days of the arrest. This important legal document must contain specific details about the claims being made in the case. A claimant can also file a claim under Title 42 of the United States Code Section 1983, which prohibits a person acting under state law from depriving a person of Constitutional rights.
Should our NYC false arrest, false imprisonment and excessive force attorneys decide to pursue a claim for you, the end goal is a monetary award to compensate you for damages and suffering, as well as medical bills, court costs, and lost wages. In New York, such claims seek to compensate the victim for tangible losses, as well as mental and emotional distress endured. Often, such claims are settled without going to trial.
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If you have any questions concerning your New York City false arrest, false imprisonment or excessive force, contact our experienced false arrest, false imprisonment or excessive force attorneys for a free consultation by email, or calling (800) 762-9300. You can also get started by simply filling out on of our case intake forms, and one of our attorneys will get right back to you.