Police misconduct is becoming a hot topic in Utah and across the nation. Police misconduct can take many forms and can result in an innocent individual becoming a victim of unwarranted violence and rights violations. Victims of misconduct have the right to sue the police department to protect their civil rights. If you or a family member was a victim of police misconduct, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer. Criminal attorney and civil rights lawyer Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience that he will use to help you fight your claim. Overson Law is here to explain how you can sue the Salt Lake City police department.
Types of Police Misconduct Cases
As mentioned, there are several types of police misconduct that can lead to a lawsuit against the police department. Three of the most common police civil rights violation cases involve police brutality, illegal search and seizure, and unlawful arrest.
Police brutality is one form of police misconduct. Cases of police brutality often involve a law enforcement officer that used excessive force when dealing with an individual that was not a threat to them. For example, if an officer repeatedly strikes a handcuffed victim that is not resisting, they would be committing police brutality. Shootings of unarmed suspects of crimes is also a frequent police brutality topic that is receiving nationwide coverage.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Unlawful search and seizure is another type of police misconduct. Illegal search and seizure occur when law enforcement conducts a search of a person’s home, property, or person without a valid reason. Depending on the circumstances, law enforcement typically needs probable cause to perform a search, and police typically need a warrant as well. If an officer does not adhere to these laws, then they have committed police misconduct.
If you were a victim of an unlawful arrest, you might also have a cause of action against law enforcement. Not every violation of the law is an offense that requires law enforcement to arrest you. Under some circumstances, your actions should only warrant some time type of infraction. For example, if you are stopped for running a red light, you should only be issued a traffic ticket unless you committed a more serious offense too, like driving under the influence. If you are unlawfully arrested for a minor offense, arrested for an offense that you did not commit, or you are arrested without probable cause, you may be able to file a claim against the officers involved in the illegal arrest.
To learn more about police misconduct, you should consult with an experienced Taylorsville criminal defense lawyer.
What to Do If You Plan to Sue Law Enforcement in Utah
If you were a victim of police misconduct, there are certain actions you should take if you want to file a lawsuit against the police. First, you should gather as much evidence about the misconduct as you can find. If anyone witnessed the misconduct and is willing to help you, you should document their name, phone number, and any other relevant contact information. If the witness is willing to make a written statement and have it notarized, this will also help you.
If you have a recording of the interactions with law enforcement, this can also help you prove your case. Recording law enforcement in Utah is legal.
If you were injured in an encounter with law enforcement, you should seek medical attention immediately. Inform the hospital staff of how you received your injuries so that they can help you document your injuries. You should also take photographs of any injuries or any damage to your property that occurred during the encounter.
Additionally, there should be an incident report stemming from your encounter with law enforcement. You are entitled to request this report, and it should be a simple transaction. However, if the incident involved other people, it may take longer to recover the report due to privacy concerns. You should also file an open records request. This request will give you all public documents pertaining to your encounter with law enforcement.
You can also file a complaint with the internal affairs department for the police department. However, it is understandable to avoid filing this claim if you have already been mistreated or injured at the hands of law enforcement.
There are various federal civil rights laws that may allow you to file a claim against a police department. To prove your case, you must be able to provide enough evidence to support your claim and convince a jury that your rights were harmed.
Contact an Experienced Utah Civil Rights Attorney to Discuss Your Police Misconduct Case
If you or a family member was injured in an encounter with the police, you should speak with an experienced Park City criminal defense attorney. Overson Law is dedicated to providing you with legal representation that is tailored to your unique needs. Darwin Overson understands how frightening it can be to have a negative encounter with a law enforcement officer that is not acting appropriately. Darwin can help you pursue justice against an officer that acts outside of our laws. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact (801) 758-2287.