As citizens of New York City, we trust our police officers to keep us safe and protect our well-being. Unfortunately, these officers can make mistakes and either negligently arrest the wrong person. In these cases, the officers misuse their authority and violate an innocent person’s rights, resulting in a false arrest or imprisonment. Fortunately, filing a civil lawsuit provides financial compensation for time spent in custody.
Last March, 27 year old postal worker Glenn Grays was almost hit by an unmarked police car while delivering a package. The police officers stopped Grays, demanded his ID, cuffed him and took him away. With the altercation caught on video, it is clear Grays was trying to perform his job and did not deserve the disorderly conduct charge. After suffering anxiety and inability to perform his job, Grays decided to sue the City of New York.
What does False Arrest mean?
A false arrest occurs when a law enforcement officer detains a person without first obtaining the necessary legal authority. An example would be arresting someone just because he angered the officers, like in the case of Glenn Grays. Conversely, with legal authority police can arrest someone, even someone later found innocent. Precise laws and requirements exist to prevent false arrests from occurring. False arrests are violations of both Federal and State law, as well as the Fourth Amendment.
What is False Imprisonment?
A false imprisonment can be committed by anyone, such as employers, medical staff, loss prevention staff, private security, etc. It occurs when another holds forcibly against their will with a risk of injury or death. In this case, a victim’s freedom of movement is restricted wrongfully. Excessive force may be used in this case in order to hold the victim in custody, but aggressive gestures or words may constitute false imprisonment as well. Excessive use of force can be claimed when a police officer uses physical force against a suspect when the suspect is not resisting, or when a confession is forced through threats.
How Much is My Case Worth?
These violations of civil rights entitle the victim to financial compensation. Possible losses caused by a false arrest or imprisonment consist of, but not limited to:
- Loss of freedom or liberty
- Disrupted work
- Inability to perform family responsibilities and other obligations
- Damage to personal and professional reputation
- Emotional and mental distress
- Physical damages in the cases of excessive force
The amount of time spent in wrongful custody usually determines the amount of compensation. In cases that involve injury, the extent of the physical and psychological injury is important in assessing damages. The amount depends on the specifics of the case. Cases with excessive force usually have a higher financial return, but cases resulting in loss of freedom still warrant compensation for the victim. Generally, jurors are sympathetic to victims of false arrest, false imprisonment, and excessive force. These types of cases involve the violation of some of the most basic rights that we have as American citizens.
What to Do:
If you believe yourself to be the victim of a false arrest or imprisonment, it is important to contact an experienced false arrest attorney immediately and discuss a possible civil rights claim. You and your attorney will investigate and determine any losses or damages inflicted. Contact us today to receive a free evaluation of your case and discuss further legal options.
About the Author Kiersten Klang is an Associate Legal Editor for www.lawyers24-7.com.