How Can I Sue the Police for Harassment?

Although police officers are meant to function as protectors and defenders of the public, unfortunately, many do not experience them as such. Many officers have subjected citizens of the United States to unnecessary (and unwarranted) searches, stops, and even wrongful arrests. Each citizen of this country is protected by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is purposed to protect all people from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” If you have been subjected to these things by the police, or have been the victim of a different form of police misconduct, it is within your rights to hire a New York civil rights attorney at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, & Green to pursue legal action and receive the compensation that you deserve.

Protection from Police Abuse

Suing police officers for harassment or other misconduct is a daunting task, primarily due to the limited immunity they have against lawsuits. An officer will be protected from a lawsuit as long as the following is proven:

  • They were acting within the confines of their job
  • They were not carrying out their job responsibilities negligently or unreasonably.

Still, this should not discourage you from filing suit against an officer, as these factors are often highly subjective.

Section 1983 of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1871 protects individual civil rights from violation, even by law enforcement officers. Those whose rights have been abused by police officers may find a cause in Section 1983 to pursue legal action against the officer that was responsible for inflicting this abuse. The liability may also be placed on the local government under which the officer is employed.

“Police Misconduct” is a rather broad category that is comprised of a wide range of claims that can be made against the police. Examples include the use of excessive force, false arrest, and discrimination. If you have been subjected to any of these or other forms of misconduct, you must prove the following in your case:

  • The officer who was responsible for the harassment or other misconduct has exhibited a pattern of harassment in the past. (Unfortunately, a singular harassment event is rarely enough to support a claim of misconduct.)
  • The officer guilty of misconduct did not have probable cause or a warrant for arrest. Without evidence supporting the lack of these two elements, your case will be quickly dismissed.
  • The excessive force used by the officer directly resulted in serious injury or death. Again, this burden will be placed on you, as the victim or loved one of the victim, to prove that the policeman’s actions resulted in one of these two events.

Preparing to Sue a Police Officer

As you prepare to sue the police officer responsible for harassment against you, follow the steps below:

  1. Find out if you can file a grievance with the police department directly, or with their governing authority.
  2. Document and save all evidence the demonstrate police misconduct.
  3. Hire an attorney as soon as possible.

Filing a lawsuit against a police officer is quite difficult, but not impossible. If you believe you have been the victim of harassment or other misconduct by a police officer, get legal help as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.