Police officers can be held liable in New York State or federal courts when their actions exceed their constitutional authority, such as through police brutality and excessive force, harassment, false arrests, and illegal search and seizure.
Police brutality is perhaps the most shocking example of civil rights violations. Police officers are trained to respond to dangerous situations and often face high-conflict situations. Before they ever approach you, their adrenaline has kicked in, and they are ready to respond to any perceived danger. Sometimes the police let their emotions run unchecked, and they overreact and use excessive force. This can occur while capturing a suspect or placing someone under arrest, during a custodial investigation, or at any time while the police have control over an individual. Our office fights against all types of excessive force at the hands of the police, including uncalled-for or excessive use of K-9 attack dogs and unlawful shootings.
The police may violate your civil rights in other ways without resorting to outright violence. Unlawful harassment includes being pulled over solely because of your race or ethnicity, and being further subjected to questioning or searches without probable cause. If you are stopped on the street and arrested because you do not speak English well enough to answer the officer’s questions, your arrest may have more to do with the officer’s frustration and racism than any suspicion of guilt or probable cause to believe you have committed a crime.
Police conduct regarding searches and seizures and arrest procedures is governed by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. When evidence is obtained illegally through an illegal search or custodial interrogation, that evidence can usually be suppressed at trial by a competent criminal defense attorney. Yet whether the case is dismissed or the accused is eventually acquitted, that action does not redress the wrong which has been done by governmental overreaching. If such actions are allowed to go unchecked, the police will begin to feel it is okay to engage in such abuses, and they will continue if there is no one to stop them.
We fight against governmental abuses of this sort, including false and warrantless arrests, false imprisonment, and illegal searches and seizures, as well as prosecutorial misconduct such as malicious prosecution. Contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C., if you have been the victim of excessive force, harassment, or other types of police misconduct.