Civil Rights Violation Lawsuits &
Police Brutality Lawyers

In the United States, police officers have a significant amount of power to enforce laws, make arrests, and maintain safety. However, when that power is used incorrectly, it can have devastating, lifelong effects on innocent victims and people accused of crimes. About 1,000 people are killed by law enforcement officers each year, and many more are injured, wrongfully arrested, or otherwise mistreated by agents of the criminal justice system.

We all have rights under the US Constitution, even if you’ve been arrested or convicted of a crime. When police abuse their power, use excessive force, and engage in misconduct, it is a violation of your civil rights, and you may be able to take legal action in response.

As former NYC prosecutors, we know the good, the bad, and the ugly of New York’s criminal justice system. Too often, we’ve seen the damage that a corrupt cop can cause—and that’s what fuels our mission to advocate for victims of police brutality and misconduct. With Santana Law Firm on your side, you’ll have a team of experienced civil rights lawyers working tirelessly for you. With decades of experience behind us, our team of lawyers routinely secures significant settlements and positive verdicts for victims of police misconduct.

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What Are Civil Rights Violations?

Every person in the United States is entitled to legal protections under federal law. These protections are granted through several laws and constitutional amendments:

  • The First Amendment grants freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom to protest.
  • The Fourth Amendment protects you from police use of excessive force and illegal search and seizure of your property.
  • The Fifth and Sixth Amendments mandate that people charged with crimes are entitled to a fair and speedy trial, legal representation, and information about their criminal charges.
  • The Eighth Amendment outlaws excessive bail, fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects you from discrimination based on your race, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.

These rights apply even if you are in police custody, if you have been charged with a crime, or if you are in prison or jail. Every law enforcement officer is required to abide by these laws. When they don’t, it is a violation of your civil rights.

Common police civil rights violations include:

  • Wrongful arrest without probable cause
  • Unreasonable search of your home, vehicle, or body
  • Sexual assault and harassment
  • Racial profiling
  • Police shootings
  • False imprisonment, including unauthorized physical restraint
  • Excessive force or physical violence, which can result in injury or wrongful death
  • Cruel and unusual punishment

If police violated you or your loved one’s civil rights, you may be able to take legal action. The sooner you reach out to a skilled NY civil rights lawyer, the sooner you can hold the bad actors accountable and begin to find closure after police trauma.

Have You Been Abused by Police? Contact Our Office Today for a Consultation

Police Shootings Harm Thousands Each Year

When police arrive on the scene of a 911 call, tensions can quickly rise. Officers are supposed to calm the situation and use less lethal methods, such as bean bag guns or Tasers, before reaching for their firearms. But too many poorly trained, reactive, and rookie cops use their weapons hastily with deadly results. In the most devastating cases, police shoot innocent people who are wrongly assumed to be carrying a weapon or behaving erratically.

Thousands of people are killed in police shootings each year. Even those who survive may face lifelong issues, including loss of limbs, paralysis, brain and spinal cord injuries, comas, disfigurement, anxiety, PTSD, and loss of income.

Police are entitled to use force that is reasonable for the circumstances, but using more force than necessary is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. If you or a loved one has been involved in a police shooting, you are not alone, and your rights matter. Santana Law Firm can help you hold bad cops accountable and recover compensation for your pain, suffering, and medical bills.

Police Misconduct Is a Violation of Your Rights

Although shootings are one of the most common forms of police misconduct, there are numerous ways police can violate your rights. In other cases of brutality or excessive force, law enforcement may:

  • Beat arrested or incarcerated people, or turn a blind eye to beatings
  • Sexually assault people in police custody
  • Use chokeholds or obstruct breathing
  • Use physical torture to induce a confession
  • Use tear gas, rubber bullets, and other anti-protest devices

Police misconduct isn’t always violent. In other cases, officers may violate legal requirements and procedures that are put in place to protect civilians. This may include:

  • Arresting or detaining people without cause
  • Coercing someone to commit a crime
  • Conducting unlawful searches without a warrant
  • Failing to inform people of the reason for their arrest
  • Illegal seizure of property
  • Planting evidence
  • Racial profiling
  • Turning off body cameras or improperly documenting arrests

If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of police misconduct, you do not have to suffer in silence. Contact Santana Law Firm today to determine if you have a legal claim.

When Can You Sue For Civil Rights Violations?

If you or a loved one has been killed, injured, or suffered other serious consequences because of the actions of a police officer, you might be able to take legal action. The best way to determine if you have a viable legal case is to speak with an experienced civil rights lawyer. Our firm offers free, confidential case evaluations to help you determine the best course of action and understand what you may recover through a lawsuit.

In civil rights lawsuits, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim. In New York, the statute of limitations varies depending on the facts of your case, but in cases of police brutality, you typically have one year from the date of the incident to file a claim. If you have another civil rights case, such as a claim of wrongful arrest or illegal search, you may have up to three years to file a claim. It is imperative that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to preserve your right to sue. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you cannot file a lawsuit.

Although legal remedies can never make up for the loss of life or the trauma of police brutality, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Wrongful death
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental health treatment
  • Medical bills
  • Lost income and reduced earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability

By taking legal action, you may also force police departments to improve their policies and remove abusive cops from the force.

If you are involved in a criminal lawsuit related to an incident of police misconduct, identifying a civil rights violation may help reduce your charges, your sentence, or even get your case dropped entirely. Our criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in civil rights violations and will automatically review your case to determine if there are any violations that could influence your case.

What Does a Civil Rights Lawyer Do?

Police departments usually do everything they can to hide or minimize civil rights violations. For example, the City of New York spends millions of dollars each year on settlements to prevent victims from proceeding to trial and presenting evidence against the NYPD. The last thing police departments want is bad press from a civil rights lawsuit, and they often attempt to silence and intimidate victims who come forward.

This is why you need an aggressive, experienced lawyer on your side in police brutality and police misconduct cases. With more than two decades of experience handling civil rights cases, our team of lawyers will stand up to powerful police forces and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

Led by a former Brooklyn prosecutor turned advocate for police brutality victims and criminal defendants, the Santana Law Firm team will:

  • Thoroughly investigate the violation of your civil rights and gather evidence to support your claim
  • Identify witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • Research the offending officer to see if they have a history of misconduct
  • Contact our network of experts who can explain why your rights were violated
  • Protect you and help you get the compensation you deserve

Contact our office at any time to discuss your case confidentially. We can begin working immediately to investigate your case, develop your claim, and advocate for you.