Police Brutality Lawyer Medford, OR
If you have had your civil rights violated during an encounter with police, a police brutality lawyer Medford, OR residents trust at Andersen, Morse, & Linthorst can let you know exactly what your unique options are after learning more about your personal situation. If the violations resulted in serious injury, you may have the right to collect compensation. Although you may be afraid to speak up, your legal action could reduce the likelihood that other citizens have to suffer the same fate.
Police brutality and civil rights violations are unjust challenges that have gained widespread public attention in recent years. It is possible that these problems are either happening more often than in the past or are being more widely reported due to the availability of recording devices (cellphones). Working with an experienced police brutality lawyer Medford, OR residents can confide in is a good way to start evaluating your legal options.
A High Burden of Proof
For better and worse, police officers are given a lot of latitude and discretion in their law enforcement tactics and methods. Because of this, police are often immune from citizen lawsuits – even when injury occurs – if the police officer is deemed to have acted reasonably. This is true even if the officer failed to exercise due care or acted negligently.
However, a police officer can be held legally liable when he or she engages in willful and unreasonable conduct that violates a suspect’s Constitutional (civil) rights. Working with an experienced police brutality lawyer Medford, OR families trust will allow you to better understand whether your particular situation meets this criteria and is therefore grounds for legal action.
Types of Rights Violations and Legal Remedies
Most of the time, police misconduct cases are pursued under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. Under this provision of the law, anyone exercising authority under state law (such as police) is prohibited from depriving others of their rights under federal law or the Constitution. Rights violations under Section 1983 can include:
- False arrest/imprisonment
- Unreasonable or excessive force
- Malicious prosecution
- Failure of officers to intervene when witnessing constitutional rights violations committed by other officers
When Is Force Excessive or Unreasonable?
This can be a tricky and nuanced question to answer. However, there are some important guidelines resulting from numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions that can provide helpful guidance. It all starts with the premise that force/threat/coercion exists on a spectrum, ranging from just having a police officer present, to verbal commands, to physical force to use of a weapon.
The first guideline provides that while some amount of force may be necessary and warranted in police interactions, it must be executed in proportion to the threat that a suspect poses. The second guideline is that force should only escalate in response to the threat and stop when it is no longer needed to subdue the suspect or to de-escalate the situation. If you were injured during an altercation with a law enforcement officer and the force used was likely disproportionate to the threat you may have posed to the officer, a police brutality lawyer Medford, OR victims trust can help you build a case.
There are many examples of excessive force and police brutality. Here are just a few:
- Hitting or kicking a suspect who is already on the ground and not resisting
- Using physical force or violence against a suspect who is handcuffed or otherwise already detained and not resisting
- Using a weapon on a suspect who is unarmed and who officers have no reason to suspect may be armed
- Using force against suspects or witnesses as a way of extracting information or confessions
The “Bad Apples” of Law Enforcement
In general, American trust the police officers in their community who serve them. Most people trust the police at least to some degree, and it is a testament that the vast majority of officers are well-intentioned people who are properly trained to do their job effectively. However, just like any other group of individuals, there will be “bad apples” that cause the respectable members of law enforcement to be looked at in a negative light by the community. When these few harmful police officers commit brutality, there are several negative consequences:
- Community trust in law enforcement is reduced
- The police officers feel more on-guard and threatened
- The police are more likely to use aggressive force due to being in fear of their own safety
- The neighborhood feels less safe
- Less crimes get solved
- Hostility towards police officers increases
Losing Trust in Police Officers
If you or someone you love had endured great harm because of a police officer inflicting brutality, a police brutality lawyer Medford, OR residents trust can imagine the anger and fear you may be feeling. Law enforcement is supposed to protect us, and when they fall very short of that duty it can make us wonder who is supposed to watch out for us after all. And unfortunately, many police departments will attempt to cover up or avoid responsibility for what happened. Others in the department may make up false stories or refute the victim’s claims to protect their fellow officer.
Our team is prepared to represent your case, and are not afraid to go up against a big or small law enforcement department. There is hope, and there may not have ever been as good of a time as now for victims of police brutality to come forward. Stories of mistreatment have been shared in the news, and victims have received the justice they deserve for the abuse. What you do need is a strategic and relentless police brutality lawyer Medford, OR victims can depend on to advocate for your behalf during this time.
How To Protect Yourself
Sometimes clients ask our team at Andersen, Morse, & Linthorst if there is anything they can do to help prevent police brutality from happening to them. And sadly, we wish we knew the answer to that. Some instances of brutality have occurred to people who are entirely innocent and were just going about their day not doing anything wrong. But, what you can do is install a camera on your dashboard and press record whenever you get pulled over by an officer. The footage may be useful later on to help you pursue compensation and justice if anything were to go awry. If you have any evidence of the brutality, please share this with your police brutality lawyer Medford, OR community members trust during your initial consultation.
Do You Have a Case? Talk with an Experienced Attorney
Police brutality cases can be scary and frustrating because of the wide latitude police officers have, the tendency for police departments to “close ranks” around an at-fault officer, and the credibility differential between a police officer and someone suspected of/charged with a crime. Nonetheless, police officers can and should be held accountable for violating the rights of citizens and injuring them unnecessarily.
Our team is ready and proud to represent victims of civil rights violations, including police brutality and excessive force. If you were injured in a police encounter and believe that your rights may have been violated, please contact a police brutality lawyer Medford, OR victims depend on today to share your story with an experienced and compassionate legal team at Andersen, Morse, & Linthorst.
Common Causes of Excessive Force
Police officers are supposed to serve citizens and protect them from harm. While the majority of police officers do a good job, some of them abuse their power and use excessive force. It’s hard to imagine that some officers on the force do this, but it’s a reality. Here are some of the most common causes of excessive force that a police brutality lawyer in Medford, OR sees:
- Prejudice: Unfortunately, prejudice still exists in this day and age. Police officers may assume that people of certain races are more violent and use excessive force when detaining them. They may have witnessed people of certain races behave violently when getting arrested assume all of them behave that way. As a police brutality lawyer in Medford, OR can confirm, it’s never acceptable for officers to use excessive force just because they have preconceived notions of a suspect.
- Fear: As a police brutality lawyer in Medford, OR can attest, sometimes police officers are truly afraid of the suspects they’re trying to detain. They may fear that the suspect will physically attack them. However, even if an officer is legitimately scared, it’s no excuse to use excessive force on a suspect. The officer should instead figure out a way to calm down the suspect.
- Bad Environment: As difficult as this may be to believe, some police departments encourage the use of excessive force. Some police officers may feel pressure to use excessive force on suspects, which can result in deadly consequences.
Effects of Excessive Force
If police use excessive force on citizens, these citizens may die or suffer serious injuries, like broken bones, head injuries and back injuries. Even if they recover from these injuries, they could suffer lifelong emotional injuries. They may become very afraid of police officers and think they are always out to get them. These individuals may avoid going out frequently because they’re afraid of running into a cop.
Hiring a Police Brutality Lawyer
If you’re the victim of excessive force by a police officer, you should speak to an experienced police brutality lawyer in Medford, OR as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can help you bring a lawsuit against the police officer and department to get the justice you deserve. Common damages in police brutality cases include medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
During your first consultation with a police brutality lawyer in Medford, OR, be prepared to answer many questions about your case. Your lawyer may want to know when and where the incident occurred and what types of injuries you sustained. Be completely honest in your answers and provide as many details as possible. If you have any evidence pertaining to your case, such as witness reports or medical records, bring them with you to the consultation.