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Civil Rights and Constitutional Protection–Police Misconduct

The primary civil rights enforcement statute, 42 USC 1983, gives access to the courts to sue governmental parties, such as law enforcement, to defend a citizen whose Constitutional Rights have been violated. A person can bring an action for police misconduct or brutality in federal court to demand damages for rights violated in the process of arrest, imprisonment, personal injury or denial of medical care by the state. It is within your rights to file a lawsuit whether the municipal authorities, the county sheriff or even state and federal agencies exercise improper conduct.

This powerful statute says the following:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or theDistrict of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress…

Whether the case arises out of false identification, arrest without probable cause or use of excessive force (like using a firearm or tazer, or beating with a club or a flashlight when it is not warranted), if the person acting on behalf of the state or the government crosses the line and becomes a violator of the law, instead of an enforcer and protector under the law, then a citizen can seek remedy. The rights of Due Process guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protects individuals from abuse by the government. In other words, the law states that no one is above the law.

The Bill of Rights is perhaps the most important limitation on governmental power in the history of humanity. These limitations are part of what makes our country great—our government allows the people to oppose the government, so our system is truly “of the people, by the people, for the people.” We can exercise the rights guaranteed to us as citizens of the United States in the courts through judicial authority and civil rights legislation. It is true that some direct lawsuits have direct immunity from being prosecuted under the government, but a qualified lawyer can help guide you through the process of a civil rights claim.

Robin L. Roberts, managing partner at Roberts and Blackledge has handled dozens of civil rights lawsuits and claims in federal court. Our firm is small, but we believe in standing up for what is right, even if it opposes conventional authority.

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