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Cochran Firm Blog, Philadelphia

The Importance of Police Misconduct Lawsuits

Knowing your basic human rights and when to file a police misconduct report is now more important than ever. According to an investigation by USA Today, at least 85,000 law enforcement officers across the U.S. have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct over the past decade. 

Our nation is in a fight against racial injustice, which is being met with police brutality across all fifty states. In order to keep these law enforcement officers accountable for their actions, we must first educate ourselves and each other on our own basic rights.

Police Misconduct & The Law

In our modern age, the police force is responsible for maintaining law and order in order to preserve the rights and safety of every American. Ideally, the American police force does this by enforcing laws, arresting lawbreakers, exercising force, investigating crimes, testifying in court, and creating documentation through reports.

However, the current system does not fit this ideal. Recent events have shown the shocking amount of police misconduct incidents across the United States. In fact, the United States has an alarming amount of police violence and police misconduct cases when compared to other countries.

One of the most alarming police brutality statistics is the number of deaths at the hands of police. In 2017, there were over 1,100 deaths related to police violence in the United States. Furthermore, around 92 percent of these deaths were caused by police shootings.

Even more relevant to the current conversation are the statistics gathered since 2013 that shows how many deaths are related to racial injustice. Specifically, this data shows that 28 percent of all deaths caused by police during this time period were black. In terms of the population, black people are only 13 percent of the total United States population.

Protections Against Police Misconduct

Recently, police departments have outlawed provisions that allowed excessive force. Still, that does not repair the damage caused by police brutality, especially the wrongful deaths. Especially when looked at in terms of racial justice. 

If you or a loved one have been a victim of police misconduct or police brutality, you have options. First, you can file a citizen complaint with your local police department for review by internal affairs. However, filing a complaint has less of a likelihood of causing change.

The most effective course of action is to file either a police brutality claim or a civil rights claim.

Police Misconduct & Civil Rights 

The events of the past month have highlighted the disturbing link between police misconduct and civil rights violations. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and more show the importance of holding police officers accountable for their actions. Specifically, actions such as excessive force and discrimination based on race.

This problem is particularly poignant because of the civil rights legislation that protects against racial discrimination. And yet, such discrimination is still occurring. Furthermore, it is one of the basic rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that all people should be free from discrimination.

As was mentioned, one important protection and defense from police brutality is your right to file a legal claim or lawsuit. Depending on the case, your claim may fall into one of four categories:

  • Civil Rights
  • Wrongful Death
  • Wrongful Conviction
  • Wrongful Arrest

Finally, and even more disturbingly, some police misconduct charges even include sexual assault. Know that if any of these injustices happen to you or a loved one, you deserve to seek compensation for those injuries.

Different Types of Police Misconduct Lawsuits

First, a civil rights lawsuit helps you recover damages received due to a civil rights violation. In terms of police misconduct, this looks like being arrested or injured for reasons based on your race. Additionally, a civil rights lawsuit can be brought against other people or organizations that violate civil rights. One example would include an employer denying a job opportunity based on race.

Next, a wrongful death lawsuit would seek financial compensation after the death of a loved one. In the context of police brutality, this would look like a family member filing a private lawsuit against the offending officer.

Wrongful Conviction and Arrests

Image Meta: If you or a loved one have suffered from a wrongful arrest in Philadelphia, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer at the Cochran Firm to seek legal compensation.

A wrongful conviction lawsuit is also known as a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit. These lawsuits are used to seek compensation for people wrongly imprisoned. Cases of wrongful imprisonment have long-standing damaging effects on the victims. Not only financial damages but also reputation damages and simply lost time.

A financial award can’t make up for all of that lost time, but it can help you or a loved one recover after being wrongfully imprisoned.

Finally, a wrongful arrest or a false arrest can cause damages similar to wrongful imprisonment. In fact, a false arrest can even lead to wrongful imprisonment. However, if caught in time, it can stop there. Still, for any damages caused by a false arrest, you can file a lawsuit and attempt to recover those damages.

Filing a Police Misconduct Lawsuit

First, you should file a complaint with the local police department. Secondly, you should talk to a trained police misconduct lawyer in Philadelphia or close to you. They will help you evaluate your case, offer legal advice, and answer questions. If you decide to move forward with a local Philadelphia attorney, your chances of winning compensation increase significantly. 

You will need evidence. So, if possible, record as much information as possible. And, if you witness police misconduct, police brutality, or civil rights violations, be willing to record and share evidence to prove the misconduct.

Contact Us Today

During this time, The Cochran Firm Philadelphia is continuing to take precautionary measures amidst COVID-19, but do not fear – we are still here for you. We will work with you virtually and waste no time getting your case on track. 

The attorneys at our Philadelphia office have secured numerous multimillion-dollar awards for victims of serious injury and many have even been recognized as Super Lawyers for their personal injury successes. 

When you are the victim of serious injury or illness, you deserve someone on your side who is both intimately familiar with state and federal laws, and fully devoted to helping you get maximum compensation. Call us today to schedule a FREE case evaluation at 1-800-THE-FIRM.