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Fair Employment Lawyers at Kaplan Weiss LLP

What Laws Protect People When It Comes To Police And Government Misconduct?

On the state level in California, we have the Bane Civil Rights Act, codified at Section 52.1 of California Civil Code. It provides that any person acting under cover of authority who interferes with the exercise of enjoyment of legal rights will be liable to the person whose rights were impinged upon. This means that if a law enforcement agency or governmental agency violates constitutional rights, they could be liable for misconduct. A classic example of that are cases of excessive force or wrongful arrest cases where police officers use their authority selfishly to take advantage of ordinary citizens. Those ordinary citizens can then bring a lawsuit against a police officer and the police department for damages and other appropriate relief.

We have a similar type of provision on the federal level. Title 42 USC Section 1983 prohibits persons acting under cover of authority from interfering with the exercise of constitutional rights.

Who Could Be Potentially Liable In These Types Of Cases?

In cases of police and government misconduct, law enforcement or the individual police officers that committed violations are held responsible. In some cases, their whole departments are held liable.

When Is The Police Department Liable For The Actions Of Police Officers?

There are certain scenarios in which a police department is liable for the acts of its officers. One of those circumstances is when there is a policy or procedure in the department that leads to a violation of constitutional rights. An example of when police departments can be liable is when they fail to train their officers properly, which results in a systemic deprivation of constitutional rights. When the training is inadequate, and it amounts to deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of the individual, there is a case to prosecute an entire department. Sometimes a government department ratifies illegal conduct and approves it. In certain cases, the supervisor can also be held directly liable for the officer’s conduct as opposed to just the department.

How Common Are These Violations? Is It More Common Than We Think?

Civil rights violations by the government are more common than we think. It’s not unusual that something goes wrong in the process of law enforcement. Further, it’s not uncommon for the government to exceeds its authority in correcting these wrongdoings. We get many calls each week about police misconduct, wrongful arrests, excessive use of force, or improper prosecution. All of these could give rise to a claim.

Many of these violations may be considered minor because they do not result in any physical injury. However, there are also many egregious examples that happen daily, including in correctional facilities. For example, there are cases where someone in jail or prison is physically assaulted or killed. A jail or prison is legally liable in these circumstances. Another example would be someone who was wrongfully detained longer than they should have been confined. In this situation, the former inmate would have the right to receive compensation for being over imprisoned or over-jailed beyond a court sentencing. An experienced attorney would also investigate cases of inmate negligence, or even advocate for victims of wrongful imprisonment. Another example of police misconduct that leads to civil rights violations is when government officials use their social status to elicit sexual favors from victims. For example, a police officer might offer a victim aid or support only if they comply with a sexual favor. This is a real example our firm has encountered.

For more information on Police & Government Misconduct In California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 257-8999 today.

Fair Employment Lawyers at Kaplan Weiss LLP

Call Now For A 30 Minute Case Evaluation
(213) 257-8999