Can I Sue the Police for Wrongful Arrest or Injuries?
People are suing police departments at a higher rate than at any other time in history. Cities across the country are paying millions to settle these lawsuits. Whether the climbing rate in lawsuits is due to an increase in police brutality, public awareness or simply the fact that almost everyone has a camera in their back pocket, it’s important to know that suing the police is not as simple as suing your neighbor.
1. Yes, You Can Sue
When a person is injured during an arrest or another type of run in with the police, they do have the right to sue. Some people don’t know this. While police have immunity in many circumstances, that immunity does not apply to injuries or damages caused by misconduct.
2. Ante-Litem Proceedings
When you sue a private citizen, you file paperwork with the court and your lawsuit begins. Things aren’t this quick when you sue the police. Before you can sue a cop, the police department as a whole or any government agency or official, you must file an ante litem notice, or an intent to sue. You then have to wait for a response to your notice before your lawsuit can proceed through court.
3. Civil Rights Act
There is a section of the Civil Rights Act, Section 1983, that protects citizens from the use of excessive force and other violations of the Constitution. This section also allows for lawsuits to be filed against the police and the departments that employ them.
4. Suing for False Arrest
A police officer must have probable cause to arrest someone. Even if the prosecutor declines to follow through with the charges, the arrest was not necessarily illegal. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a case for false arrest.
5. Family Pets
People sometimes wonder if they can sue the police if the officers injure a family pet like a dog. These cases are typically complicated. In many instances, all that is needed is the officer’s word that they felt as though they were in danger. Again, this is when an attorney can be of assistance.
Suing the police is possible for any number of reasons, but it is not as easy as filing a civil lawsuit against a private citizen. If you believe that you have been wronged by the police in some way and are wondering if you have a lawsuit on your hands, an experienced attorney can assist you in taking the appropriate steps.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in DeKalb County, your reputation and freedom are at stake. Do not attempt to represent yourself in court. Reach out to our team of knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys for assistance. We will review the details of your arrest and help you understand that you have been charged with. Together, we will come up with a plan for your defense. Your first consultation will be held at no cost to you.