Often a tragic event can have a silver lining if you look closely enough. Good things tend to have a way of coming out of something bad. John Walsh is a famous American father who tragically lost his young son Adam Walsh. Instead of lying down in defeat, he fought back for positive change by dedicating his life to capturing criminals. He has since gone on to bring thousands of criminals to justice through his work on the television show America’s Most Wanted. Other parents whose children have suffered similar fates, have turned to Congress to fight for tougher criminal laws in the wake of their children’s deaths-so that they did not have to die in vain. Good versus evil scenarios have deep roots in our country’s history. Over a hundred years ago, it was the negative activity of the Ku Klux Klan that encouraged a bill in Congress to get passed. It was designed to eliminate their barbaric activities. The bill was the United States Code Section 1983-also called the Civil Rights Act of 1871. It was created not only to protect the civil rights of African Americans, who had recently been freed from slavery, but also to protect the constitutional rights of all citizens. Under this law, you are able to seek compensation for wrongful arrest by police officers and in some cases, security guards. There are also state laws which specifically prohibit wrongful arrest.
If your rights have been violated by the police, contact a New York Police Civil RIghts Abuse Lawyer at Michael Gunzburg, P.C. today!
When deciding cases of civil liability with respect to police officers, the law differentiates between intentional and unintentional acts. The nature of the case determines the outcome. In order to win under Section 1983, the courts state that plaintiffs must allege and prove two key things: First, plaintiffs must show that the alleged conduct occurred under color of state law. Second, plaintiffs must show that the conduct deprived plaintiffs of Constitutional rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the United States Constitution. Our police civil rights abuse lawyers know the ins and outs of the law and will be able to tell you if your rights have been violated.
One of New York’s most famous and tragic cases of Police Civil Rights Abuse was with the case of Amadou Diallo, who was shot in the Bronx by NYPD 41 times. In the end, the four members of New York’s Street Crime Unit who killed Diallo on February 4, 1999 were acquitted of all criminal charges. How could this be? You could argue that is was a case of mistaken identity and simple semantics. The plainclothes officers were patrolling the Bronx in an unmarked car in search of a serial Bronx rapist when they saw Diallo in the vestibule of his Bronx home. According to them, he was acting suspiciously, ducking in and out of shadows and looking at them suspiciously. Apparently it was light enough for them to see him acting suspiciously, but too dark for them to see accurately. They argued that because it was dark, they thought they saw him reaching for a gun and responded by opening fire, fatally shooting him. It was only after the fact that they learned he was unarmed-having only his beeper, a wallet and keys on him at the time. The officers claimed that the shooting was a horrible — yet reasonable — accident, not a murder. Semantics!
Concluding that the officers were justified in their decision to shoot the unarmed West African vendor and part-time student, the Albany jury rejected the second-degree murder charges against the police. They also rejected reckless endangerment and all the lesser charges against officers Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy. The defense successfully claimed that Diallo was responsible for the events that led to his accidental shooting, not the police. Lawyers for the officers argued that Diallo failed to obey a police order to halt, making an ordinary police stop turn into a deadly shooting. Despite the acquittals, the Diallo family was not convinced. They filed a wrongful death suit against the City of New York, eventually getting a $3,000,000 settlement. You don’t have to take police abuse lying down. When criminal charges get dropped, you can pursue a civil suit. We have handled many clients with their New York Police Civil Rights Abuse cases for over two decades. Let us help you and your family get the most compensation available under the law.