Holding Officers Accountable

Apr 17 12:31 2011 richardmkenny Print This Article

Attorney Richard M. Kenny represents victims of police misconduct cases that involve:
•    Excessive force
•    Police brutality
•    False arrests
•    Taser gun and stun gun injuries
•    Racial profiling and improper stops
•    Violation of civil liberties and due process
•    Physical and emotional harm

A recent federal lawsuit by a 40-year-old financial worker from Wall Street against the New York Police Department (NYPD) alleges that police officers sodomized a man at his home when they responded to a domestic disturbance. Officers called to his residence after he locked out his girlfriend,Guest Posting burst into his apartment, assaulted him and then attempted to cover up their abuse, he says. The man testified that officers kicked and punched him; his offered as evidence a pair of his jeans with a hole in the seat and retractable baton on which is own DNA was found.

A spokesman for the police said that the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau reviewed he claims and determined they were unfounded, and the district attorney opted not to prosecute for lack of evidence. An attorney for the city says that his injuries are minor and could have been caused by constipation, and that his underwear had no hole.

This case is just one high-profile example of what can happen when police get out of control. Whether they have mistakenly arrested you, improperly charged you with a crime or used inappropriate amounts of physical force, police officers need to be held responsible for their actions when they cross the line. While the majority of interactions are positive, trends seem to indicate that unacceptable behavior by law enforcement is on the rise.NYPD Payouts Approaching $1 BillionAn Associated Press report says that in the last decade, the police department in New York City has paid $964 million in settlements and trial verdicts for brutality cases, accidents and crashes, and other matters. Among these payouts were:•    An $8 million settlement with a man who was shot and paralyzed by a police officer•    Payment of $7.125 million to an individual who was attacked and sodomized by officers in a police station•    A $7.15 million settlement reached with the family of a man shot to death by officers on the morning after his bachelor party; the officers involved who faced criminal charges as a result of the shooting were all found not guilty

CBS reports that the city spent more than $23 million to compensate for police bullets or brutality. One Brooklyn precinct sergeant has been sued at least seven times on excessive force and brutality claims, says CBS. In all, these seven lawsuits have cost the city more than $188,000. Another plainclothes detective has been involved in four suits settled by the city for a total of $171,500; another case against him is pending.

Beyond the Criminal ChargesOfficers are only allowed to use as much physical force as is necessary to control the situation; in many routine stops and arrests, no physical force is required at all. Police brutality commonly refers to the use of excessive physical force but can also involve verbal abuse or threats. It can vary in degree and may involve:•    Inappropriate or excessive physical force•    Assault or beatings•    Sodomy or sexual abuse•    Wrongful shooting•    False arrest•    Racial profiling•    Prison guard abuse

While police brutality may result in charges or disciplinary action against the officer, the victim may also have a claim for damages. Complaints of police misconduct may be met with disapproving attitudes but it is important to remember that not everyone who has an encounter with officers is the subject of an arrest or even of investigation. Even those that are arrested have the right to remain free from excessive use of force.

Types of Civil Claims

There are differing remedies for police brutality. The Civil Rights Act extends federal Constitutional protections to citizens with regard to action taken under the color of state law. That is, a victim of police brutality may possess a federal civil rights claim against city and state police officers who violated his or her Constitutional rights.

Traditional personal injury law may also offer a remedy for victims of police brutality. Victims may be able to sue abusive police officers in order to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and physical pain and emotional suffering.

Some arrests are lawful; not everyone who is arrested has a claim for damages. However, those who have been injured or intimidated by police action should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the occurrence and whether they may have a state or federal claim for damages.

Additionally, if a person is falsely charged with a crime, he or she will want to be sure to prepare an aggressive defense against the charges. Pleading guilty can result in being unable to bring a claim for false arrest. An attorney can protect the victim’s rights in negotiations and at trial, working together with the attorneys who are handling the criminal case. There are specific requirements that must be met in each particular municipality, as well as strict deadlines for filing and a claim, even a valid one, may be lost if the time restrictions are not met.

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Contact Manhattan Police Misconduct Lawyer if you believe that you have suffered abuse at the hands of law enforcement officials or that someone you love was harmed, it is important to figure out whether you have a valid police brutality claim on your hands. For a free initial consultation, contact our office in New York City at 212-421-0300 or toll free at 888-720-4529. Schedule an appointment with us and get the representation you deserve.

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