Van Wey, Metzler & Williams

Civil Rights Lawsuit Arising Out of Police Misconduct

Has your life been turned upside-down due to irresponsible and cruel acts of brutality conducted by a police officer? Contact us for a free consultation.

Police officers are supposed to protect our communities and our families, but the unfortunate reality is that many people still live in fear for their lives and safety when interacting with police officers, even if it is during a routine traffic stop. Even more unsettling is the multitude of stories and experiences from people of color who continue to face prejudice and unnecessary, forceful treatment at the hands of many police officers. It seems like nowadays you can’t turn on the news without hearing about another tragic case of police brutality. This type of treatment from undisciplined officers can often lead to unnecessary arrest, injury, or even death, and it needs to end.

Police departments across the country have struggled to regulate their officers and states have shown their reluctance to get involved and prevent these incidents from occurring. Officers are meant to protect and serve, yet so many of the people they are intended to protect live in fear that they or their loved ones will be arrested, injured, or killed at the hands of the police. This is where Van Wey, Metlzer & Williams steps in.

These officers must face the consequences of their actions, and we can help you on your journey to finding this justice. Families affected by unnecessary force who have been injured or killed by police while acting in the line of duty may be entitled to compensation. If you or someone you love was injured or killed by police and you feel that racial profiling and unnecessary force were the cause of those injuries, you may have a case against the officer or police department.

To discuss the specifics of your civil rights lawsuit, please contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

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Let’s talk about the Constitution. What are your rights?

The Constitution is what provides citizens with many rights and offers protection for those rights. This includes civil rights, expanded by the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, which protect against discrimination based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, and religion. The list is expansive, but the rights and protections you may recognize and should always be aware of include:

  • The right to freedom of religion, speech, and the press
  • The right to peaceful assembly and petition
  • The right to equal protection, including protection against actions taken based on race, gender, or other protected groups.
  • Protection against unreasonable searches and/or seizures, which include those that are conducted without a warrant or probable cause
  • Protection against the use of force that is greater than necessary to make an arrest or for detainment
  • Protection against a state’s deprivation of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law

Police officers and the departments that they belong to have a duty to protect, but too often we see them violate a citizen’s constitutional and civil rights. Unfortunately, we hear too often about clashes between an officer’s conduct and a citizen’s rights; When we see the clash between an officer’s conduct and a citizen’s rights, it often ends up very badly. We’re talking serious injuries, and unfortunately, even wrongful death. These happenings occur every day, and to put it simply, it’s not fair and it’s not right. When these situations happen, the victim or their surviving family members have options in seeking justice. A type of lawsuit that can be brought against the wrongful officer or police department is a civil rights lawsuit, referred to as a 1983 lawsuit.

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What types of cases can I bring against an officer or police department? Will it even work?

As mentioned, police officers and police departments have a duty to follow the law and not violate a citizen’s constitutional or civil rights. Depending on the type of harm or type of rights violation that occurred, a victim can determine the kind of claim(s) that is available for their civil rights lawsuit. It’s important to connect with an attorney who is not only knowledgeable in this subject matter but will do everything necessary to reach the desired outcome of your lawsuit. In doing this, it’s important to first identify the cause of the lawsuit. The following list, though not extensive, highlights some cases that a victim would be able to pursue against a wrongful police officer or police department:

  • Excessive force
    This includes the use of improper restraints such as chokeholds, neck restraints, or knee-to-neck moves which can lead to positional asphyxia
  • Empty hand tactics
  • Racial profiling
  • Improper use of weapons
    This includes shooting when unnecessary or use of multiple shots when unnecessary
  • Police brutality or corruption
  • Deadly use of force
    This includes the use of tasers or electronic control weapons, as well as the use of dogs when unnecessary
  • Providing inadequate training
  • Employing officers which the police force was aware had the propensity to abuse authority, mistreat citizens, or use excessive force
  • Inadequate supervision, control, and discipline for the abuse of authority, mistreatment of citizens, and use of excessive force

These are only a few of the different cases that can be brought forth against a police officer who has wrong you, a family member, or even a friend.

Please do not hesitate to share your case with us.

Learn More About the Cases We Accept

What is a 1983 lawsuit?

A 1983 lawsuit is brought for actions that are unconstitutional and deprive a person of their basic human rights. A 1983 lawsuit is a shorthand reference to a lawsuit that involves a claim against a state employee(s) who, while acting in the course of their employment, deprived someone of a right, privilege, or immunity provided for under federal law or the United States Constitution. In other words, a 1983 lawsuit is most typically referenced as a civil rights lawsuit.

These lawsuits allow victims or their family members to bring suit against wrongdoers who are employed by the state, such as police officers, for conduct that occurred while they were on duty, including detaining suspects, making arrests, performing traffic stops, or any other official activity.

What damages could I recover from filing a 1983 lawsuit against the police?

Actions against police officers or a police department in a 1983 lawsuit typically involve claims of excessive force, racial profiling, and discrimination. These actions transpire when a victim’s constitutional or civil rights are blatantly ignored, and often result in serious injury or, sometimes, even death. Plaintiffs who succeed in a 1983 lawsuit may be able to recover for:

  • Actual damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Punitive or Exemplary damages
  • Pre- and post-judgment interest
  • Attorneys’ fees and costs of suit

A Recent Historical Look at Police Misconduct Cases

Police misconduct and police brutality continue to be major issues that our country and many of its citizens deal with every day. Unfortunately, people of color tend to experience the most violations of their constitutional and civil rights by the police. Datasets from The Washington Post and Mapping Police Violence give us insight into the realities of police misconduct, such as police shootings, and how it affects Black Americans in this country. Below, we have provided a very brief, bird’s eye view of some police brutality cases, in which some involved a lawsuit, throughout the last decade. We understand that this in no way captures the severity of the situation and merely gives a glimpse into the persisting issues of today.

Civil Rights Lawsuit Arising Out of Police Misconduct

Let us help you fight for your earned rights.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed by a police officer, or an employee of the state, because of racial profiling, discrimination, unnecessary arrest, unreasonable force, or similar behavior, contact us today to further evaluate your rights to compensation.

Here at Van Wey, Metzler & Williams, we have more than 100 combined years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients against those who have done them harm.

You are entitled to a life free from fear of police and free from the use of violence against you and those you love. You are entitled to a life where you are not profiled or discriminated against by those who are entrusted with the responsibility to protect and serve.

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