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Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer

Chicago Police Officers and other law enforcement officials have broad powers that allow them to perform their legal duties. The United States Constitution, along with various state and federal laws, have established restrictions regarding what measures law enforcement personnel can take when working to enforce the law. However, police officers can sometimes go too far when they are attempting to enforce state and federal laws and violate the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect and when that occurs it is important that you contact a Chicago Civil Rights Attorney.

Fighting Against Chicago Police Misconduct

Any person who has been stopped, or interrogated, by police officers knows how upsetting and stressful the experience can be. Even though being questioned by the police is disturbing, as long as the police officer is properly performing their duties the civil rights of the individual being questioned have not been violated. A Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer can help you determine if you have a case. Police officers are responsible for knowing how to legally question a suspect without violating their constitutional rights, and there are measures in place to protect a police officer from being punished or sued for doing their job

Police officers and their superiors are protected from being sued for performing their duties in a responsible manner. Even if a police officer makes a mistake because of negligence, or a failure to handle a situation with care, they are still protected from legal persecution. However, if a police officer willfully does something irresponsible and unreasonable their conduct may be placed under closer scrutiny. Once a police officer purposefully does something to violate an individual’s constitutional rights, civil rights laws become applicable to the situation and a Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer can help you.

Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer Fighting Against Chicago Police Misconduct

Section 1983, a federal statute, is the primary civil rights law that protects the victims of police brutality. The federal statute allows victims of police misconduct or police brutality to hire a Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer and bring civil rights lawsuits against the police officers who willfully violated an individual’s civil rights. Initially established as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, the federal statute was originally passed in an effort to restrict members of private vigilante groups (such as the Ku Klux Klan) and government organizations from using aggressive actions to oppress other citizens.

The laws that grew from the original Civil Rights Act and became Section 1983 protect citizens from having their constitutional rights deprived by an individual who is acting under the authority of state or federal law. Though this section applies to all members of the government, it is most commonly used to address the misconduct of police officers. Chicago Civil Rights Attorneys who file Civil lawsuits and claims made against police officers use this law in instances of unreasonable or Excessive Force, False ArrestMalicious Prosecution, Prison Rape, Police Misconduct, Police Shooting, Excessive Force, Illegal Search and Seizure, Coerced Confessions, False Arrest, Wrongful Death, Malicious Prosecution and Failure to Intervene.

Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer Representing Unreasonable and Excessive Force Victims

Unreasonable and excessive force claims are what most people associate with police misconduct. Highly publicized, instances of excessive force by police often result in extensive physical injury or even death. Regardless of how serious the physical injuries are, whether or not the incident is considered to be one of excessive force it is determined by all of the circumstances and facts surrounding the incident in question and an experienced Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer can help you determine if you have a case.

The police officer must be able to prove that their use of force was reasonable based on the individuals case, and the interaction between the police officer and the victim of the police misconduct. The motivations and the intentions of the police officer are not the primary deciding factors in an excessive force case. Even if a police officer had unprofessional, or possibly corrupt, intentions the motivations are not important if the force the police officer used was reasonable. Get in touch with a Chicago Civil Rights Attorney to determine if the force used against you was reasonable. If the police officer uses excessive force, the opposite also is true. A police officer with a professional reason, and appropriate motivation is still held responsible if they use unreasonable or excessive force to achieve their goal.

Chicago Civil Rights Attorney Handling False Arrest Claims

False arrest is a claim brought by Chicago Civil Rights Attorneys against police officers who violate a citizens Fourth Amendment right. The Fourth Amendment right protects citizens against unreasonable seizure, which is a term that refers to arrest. When a claim of false arrest is brought against a police officer, the individual making the claim has reason to believe that the police officers involved did not have probable cause for the arrest. Without probable cause, an arrest in the United States is illegal and a violation of the United States Constitution. If an arresting police office does have probable cause, or a reason to believe the arrest is necessary, then the rights of the person being arrested have not been violated.

Police officers have the power to arrest individuals they believe have committed a crime even without obtaining a warrant. As long as the felony or misdemeanor was committed in the presence of a police officer, or has been committed in the presence of individuals who have provided the police with information and a signed complaint, a person can be arrested. Even if the information provided by others is later found to be incorrect; the arresting police officer cannot be held liable for false arrest and it will not be a civil rights violation. If a police officer believes that the information they received at the time of arrest was correct, they are safe from prosecution. Any person who believes he or she was a victim of false arrest must be able to prove that the police officer who arrested them lacked probable cause and a Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer can help you make this determination. If a person is unable to prove beyond any doubt that the police officer who performed the arrest did so without establishing probable cause they will not be able to succeed with their false arrest claim.

Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer Handling Chicago Police Officer Failure to Intervene Cases

One responsibility of all law enforcement officers is to protect citizens from fellow police officers. Every law enforcement officer must work to prevent constitutional violations, even if their coworkers are responsible for the violation. If one police officer witnesses another police officer violating the constitutional rights of a person they are sworn to protect, they must stop the misconduct and if they fail to do so then they can be liable in a civil rights lawsuit brought by a Chicago Police Misconduct Lawyer. When a police officer refuses to protect a citizen from another police officer they may be held liable for their failure to intervene on behalf of the victim. If you believe that an officer failed to intervene to protect you then contact an experienced Chicago Civil Rights Attorney.

Chicago Malicious Prosecution Lawyer

During a malicious prosecution lawsuit, brought by a Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer, a victim of police misconduct is claiming that a police officer violated their Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty. In order to win a malicious prosecution suit claim, a victim of police misconduct must be able to show the court four things:

  • The arresting police officer initiated the criminal proceedings.
  • The criminal proceedings ended in a manner that proved the innocence of the victim.
  • There was no probable cause for the arrest in question.
  • The proceedings against the victim were brought with malice.

In the same manner as false arrest, the victim of police misconduct must be able to prove beyond a doubt that the police officer had no reason to make the arrest that initiated the criminal proceedings. Malicious prosecution cases can be very tough to prove but an experienced Chicago Civil Rights Attorney can help you decide if you have a case and should file a civil rights lawsuit against the police.

Chicago Civil Rights Attorney

Chicago Police Misconduct: If You’ve Been Affected

Initiating police misconduct cases against police officers can be very difficult and require a knowledgeable Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer. Even if a person believes that he or she is a victim of police misconduct, they may find that the police officer(s) in question are immune from lawsuit and legal prosecution. In many cases, a person who feels victimized might not have a viable legal claim against a police officer.

When a person does have a viable claim against a police officer, they may find that they are still unable to file a civil rights claim. Filing claims against police departments and individual police officers is a very expensive process. The individual bringing the civil rights lawsuit must be able to obtain evidence that supports their claim. This includes getting statements from the police, statements from witnesses, applicable records, and other supporting documentation that can be used to prove the police misconduct in question.

Evidence that supports your police misconduct claim is the most important part of establishing a viable police misconduct suit. If you feel that you’ve been a victim of police misconduct, contact Chicago Civil Rights Attorney Michael Schmiege as soon as possible to avoid losing valuable evidence that could play a crucial role in determining the outcome of your case. There are other steps that you can take to following instances of police misconduct to help prove your case.

Always take numerous photographs of all injuries and any damage caused by the police during the incident. Be sure to keep clothes and other objects that were torn or stained. Do not wash or clean anything that was stained with blood, and seek out any witnesses to the event. Document the full names, addresses, and telephone numbers of anyone you believe may have witnessed the incident and give this information to your Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer.

Most importantly, write down everything that happened during the incident as soon as you can. No matter how traumatic and memorable the incident may seem, it is possible that you will forget important details after the incident occurs. Writing down everything that happened as you remember it will ensure that your attorney gets a clear picture of what happened to you.

Contact Chicago Civil Rights Attorney Michael Schmiege immediately if you have been a victim of police abuse or police misconduct. Call 312-626-2121 to schedule your free consultation.

We litigate cases involving civil rights violations, police misconduct and police brutality throughout Illinois. Areas served include the cities and counties of Chicago, Cook County, DuPage, Lake, and Will along with cities and counties all throughout Illinois.

Often times civil right violations, police misconduct or police brutality cases will invovle an arrest and criminal charges being filed. If this is the case it is important that you contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. Michael Schmiege handles all criminal matters in State and Federal courts.