Police Brutality and Excessive Force Attorney in Florida
Police brutality and excessive use of force is an unfortunately common occurrence throughout the United States, including Florida. It seems as if every week we hear about a person becoming seriously injured or even dying at the hands of a law enforcement officer. If you or a loved one are a victim of police brutality or excessive force, you could claim compensation through a civil lawsuit.
The effects of police brutality can stay with you for years after the initial incident. When you choose Rodal Law to represent your lawsuit, you can claim damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more.
- Our firm has sued many cities and municipalities all over Florida
- Our firm has sued many police officers for violating our clients’ constitutional rights
- Our firm has significant experience in civil litigation. We have represented over 500 cases in federal court and twice as many in Florida court.
- We will always work closely with you to investigate your claim. Rodal Law values open and honest communication from consultation to settlement.
- Our attorney will conduct an in-depth investigation into your police brutality incident, crafting a compelling case on your behalf.
Your Fourth Amendment Rights
The United States Constitution protects you from excessive force during an arrest or stop by police officers. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution states that police officers cannot subject you to illegal searches and seizures without probable cause. In addition, police officers can only use enough force proportional to make an arrest – if you did not have a weapon and were complying with their requests, the officers cannot use excessive violence against you. If a police officer did use excessive force, you could hold them accountable through a civil lawsuit.
What Is Excessive Force and Police Brutality?
Under state and federal law, police officers have the right to use whatever force is necessary to either defend themselves or make an arrest. When determining if you experienced an act of police brutality, you will have to consider if another reasonable person with the officer’s knowledge about you and the supposed crime would have deemed the force necessary under the same circumstances.
If a person is resisting arrest, the police officer can use more force to make the arrest. Sadly, many police officers use alleged “resisting arrest” as an excuse to engage in excessive force. Officers can use greater amounts of force if the suspect committed a felony over a misdemeanor. Officers can also use deadly force if they believe that the suspect is threatening them with death or bodily harm. However, if you were complying with the officer, did not commit a serious crime, or did not make any indication that you were going to harm the officer, the use of excessive force would be an act of police brutality.
Proving an Act of Excessive Force or Police Brutality
When you hold a police officer accountable for an act of brutality in Florida civil court, you can file a lawsuit to receive compensatory damages for the arrest. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, post-traumatic stress disorder, property damage, and many other forms of economic and non-economic harms. However, the burden of proof is on you and your lawyer to prove that the officer or officers are liable.
Excessive Force or Police Brutality cases are generally very complex and involve complicated factual and legal questions, such as whether the officer is entitled to qualified immunity. In simple terms, qualified immunity offers government agents protection from getting sued for certain actions performed within their official capacity, unless their actions violated “clearly established” federal law or constitutional rights. Rodal Law is experienced in navigating the murky waters of qualified immunity.
In addition to pursuing damages under federal law under 42 U.S.C. 1983, in many cases, Rodal Law also pursues damages under state law, like assault, battery, and false imprisonment. These state law claims also raise tricky legal procedural issues like requiring specific notices to be delivered before you can even bring the case. Rodal Law has the experience you need to help navigate through these complex laws.
Once you do file a case, your attorney will have to prove liability through a preponderance of the evidence—this term means that you will have to prove that the officer more likely used excessive force in your arrest than he or she did not. While you do not have to prove that the officer committed an act of brutality beyond a reasonable doubt, you will have to provide evidence that the officer knew that there was no justification for the excessive force in question.
Your attorney from Rodal Law can help you craft a compelling case in your favor. If you are a victim of police brutality in Florida, choose Rodal Law to represent you. We know how to navigate the tricky world of police brutality litigation, helping you receive the compensation you need to recover. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation at our offices in Fort Lauderdale.