FAQ: Police Brutality and Misconduct

Have you been a victim of police brutality and excessive force? We are policy brutality and personal injury lawyers in Illinois, and we put together this FAQ about Illinois police brutality and misconduct.

Does police brutality violate the constitution?

Yes, what is known as “police brutality,” otherwise known as excessive force, may violate the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and the Illinois Constitution.

Who can I sue for police misconduct?

A personal who has been the victim of excessive force may be able to sue the officers who caused the injury, and even the municipality, county, or state that employs the officers.

Is a police misconduct case civil, or criminal?

While a police officer might face criminal charges for excessive force, suing police officers to get money for injuries is a civil case. In criminal cases, the police officers could go to jail if they are convicted of battery, or even worse, homicide. However, in a civil case, an Illinois police brutality and personal injury lawyer can help you obtain financial damages for injuries wrongly inflicted by police.

What law is involved in a police brutality case?

On a federal level, most police brutality and misconduct lawsuits are based on the Civil Rights Act of 1871. (42 U.S.C. § 1983.) Referred to as a Section 1983 claim, this type of personal injury suit will allege that the police officer, “under color of law,” violated the victim’s constitutional rights.

When a police officer uses excessive force, that officer’s actions give the victim a claim under section 1983 because they violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable seizures.”

What is “excessive force?”

Obviously police are allowed to use force to do their jobs. It is sometimes necessary for them to arrest people using force.

But when they go to far, they might use excessive force, thereby enabling the victim to file a injury lawsuit in Illinois.

Generally speaking, police can use “reasonable” force, but the problem comes in when they use more force than was necessary to make an arrest. For example, if a suspect resists, the police officer might have to use force, such as tackling the suspect. On the other hand, an officer would be using excessive force if the officer put a 17-year-old shoplifter in a choke-hold for stealing bag of chips.

You should speak to an Illinois police brutality and excessive force lawyer if you suspect you or a loved one may have been the victim of excessive force.