Police misconduct and brutality is a hot-button issue that we are hearing more and more of these days, but the fact is, police misconduct has been happening for quite some time now: long before the media covered it on a frequent basis. In cases where police officers are found to be at fault and have been guilty of misconduct, victims may be able to pursue monetary compensation in a police misconduct lawsuit. Police misconduct may result not only in serious physical injury but mental anguish as well. Statistics from the Bureau of Justice reveal that from a one-year report of incidents involving potential police misconduct, 86.7 percent of the affected individuals (whether it was someone suspected of a crime, someone being arrested or someone already detained) believed that the police were not behaving properly.
Police misconduct occurs amongst several different types of law enforcement officers and officials, including:
- Police officers
- Local law enforcement
- State and federal officers
- Correctional officers
- Patrol officers
- Probation officers
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the most commonly reported cases of police misconduct include physical assault . In situations involving physical assaults, these cases typically occur when victims have just been detained or arrested; victims are also sometimes convicted prisoners. A police officer may be found guilty of police misconduct if he or he used unnecessary or excessive force when detaining or arresting a suspect. In cases involving convicted prisoners, officers may turn to physical assault as a form of punishing or retaliating against a prisoner.
Sexual misconduct can also result in a police misconduct lawsuit and can happen in several ways. For example, it has been reported that officers may commit non-consensual sexual acts with individuals in their custody. Aside from victims who have been arrested or detained, sexual misconduct also happens in jails, and patrol officers and wardens may be found guilty of committing such acts. It has also been reported that in some cases of sexual misconduct, officers have been guilty of coercion, and threatened their victims with falsified criminal charges and other consequences if they failed to comply. Oftentimes, victims of these crimes are scared to speak up because they are afraid of the negative repercussions that may result, which can cause even more emotional trauma.
When it comes to using excessive force, although police officers are technically permitted to use force when needed (for example, an unruly suspect who is resisting arrest or attempting to harm the police officer), what is deemed “necessary” can be subjective. Each side of the story can tell two completely different things: A police officer may claim that force was absolutely needed, whereas the other individual in this situation may insist that he or she was being fully cooperative. Additionally, excessive force in general can be a grey area, and one might argue that a line has to be drawn somewhere when it comes to just how much force can be used.
Victims of police misconduct will typically file complaints with the proper local departments and then go from there. Some victims may choose to go straight to an attorney for help. If a police officer is found guilty of misconduct or excessive force, there is not only criminal implications, but the victim may pursue damages in the form of a police misconduct lawsuit. These types of lawsuits work a bit differently than accident lawsuits, and in general, can be a bit more complex. The plaintiff in these lawsuits will usually need to prove that the officer did, in fact, act unprofessionally. This is why it is so important to have a good lawyer by your side. If you already are working with a lawyer on a police misconduct lawsuit, odds are, he or she has the right skills for your case’s best possible outcome. But because these cases can be complicated, they can also take a long time to finalize.
Because certain cases might take a while before they finalize, it can be a long time before plaintiffs will see settlement money. However, instead of waiting on a lawsuit to finalize before receiving money, there are other options to explore. One of these options is pre-settlement funding, which is also commonly known as a lawsuit advance. Pre-settlement funding allows plaintiffs to receive money, so long as their case qualifies. . At USClaims, we are happy to help lawsuit plaintiffs by offering pre-settlement funding. Contact us today to find out if your case qualifies and to get started!