San Bernardino Police Misconduct Lawyer
San Bernardino Practice Areas
San Bernardino Police Misconduct Attorney
Every individual has rights that must be respected, including anyone who has been arrested. Police officers have a duty to their community, but some do not always uphold the responsibility that comes with their level of authority. Police misconduct is an unfortunately common issue, and more people have become aware of the abuses of power committed against the people who should be protected.
Police misconduct is a term that covers actions from illegal seizures and planted evidence to police brutality and excessive force. These police actions are harmful and can sometimes be fatal. Even when you have been arrested, you have certain rights that must be respected. If police officers fail to respect those rights, you can hold them accountable for violating them. A police misconduct attorney is a valuable asset when protecting your interests, advocating for your case in court, and holding the at-fault parties liable for their deplorable actions.
Finding the Right San Bernardino Police Misconduct Attorney
When you’ve suffered a violation of your basic rights, you may not know what to do. Some people are not even aware that their rights have been violated. An experienced attorney can look over the facts of your case, arrest, and other interactions with law enforcement to determine the extent of police misconduct. When you’ve faced police misconduct, you can file a claim to recover costs for the damage done to you. Police misconduct may be criminally prosecuted in some cases, but this isn’t always possible. Fortunately, victims could still file a civil claim, allowing them to recover financial compensation and hold the responsible party accountable.
At Exum Law Offices, we have years of experience in criminal law and litigation, and we understand the system you’re dealing with. Many individuals have experienced civil rights violations during the investigation or arrest processes. You want to work with a civil rights attorney who understands the criminal law system and knows how to find civil rights violations. That’s why we work to help the communities in and around San Bernardino County protect their unalienable rights. Exum Law Offices has spent over 25 years fighting for civil rights, and we want to hold officers and municipalities responsible for their actions and failure to care for individuals and families in the community.
What Is Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct occurs when a police officer or multiple officers engage in illegal, harmful, and violent behavior that does not fit within their legal authority. These actions result in rights violations, severe injuries, and death. Misconduct can include abuse of power, such as illegal searches and seizures. It also includes excessive force, such as police brutality and shootings. Police misconduct is both an issue perpetuated by individual officers and a systematic problem, and these parties should be held accountable.
Police misconduct disproportionately impacts communities of color around San Bernardino. When you’ve suffered from these traumatic situations, you can feel overwhelmed. In many situations, you are still under arrest despite rights violations. You need an attorney who understands how to handle both criminal charges and civil rights violation cases.
Police Misconduct and Abuse of Power
Police officers have significant authority, but some abuse this authority for personal or professional gain. When officers step outside their authority and harm the rights of others, it’s considered police misconduct. This can occur during arrests, seizures, investigations, and in jail.
Abuses of power often include:
- Unlawful detentions
- Planting evidence
- Forging warrants or records
- Failure to read Miranda rights
- Unnecessary use of force
- Any other violations of Constitutional rights
Additional police abuse of power includes:
- Illegal Searches and Seizures: You have protection against unreasonable search of personal property, such as your home, car, or your person. If a police officer does not have a warrant or probable cause for a search and/or seizure, this is likely police misconduct.
- Racial Profiling: Racial profiling occurs when a police officer conducts a search, traffic stop, or arrest of an individual with no probable cause and only suspects them because of their skin color.
- False Arrests: An arrest must be lawful, or it is outside the bounds of a police officer’s authority. They must have probable cause or a warrant to arrest a suspect, and they must follow specific guidelines and procedures during the arrest. Probable cause means that the officer has reason to believe that a crime was committed, and this belief was reasonable and in good faith.
- Malicious Prosecution: This form of police misconduct occurs when a false arrest is made with no probable cause, and there is malicious intent. Malicious prosecution can also be the fault of attorneys, judges, and other authorities involved in the case.
- False Imprisonments and Wrongful Convictions: A wrongful conviction can be incredibly traumatic. You may have had to plead guilty or were found guilty of a crime that you didn’t commit. You could be facing months to years in jail or prison, or you may have even served many of them. The judgments that led to your conviction may have been influenced by police misconduct, such as coercion of witnesses or evidence fabrication. At-fault individuals should be held accountable.
When you file a claim for police misconduct, you can earn compensation to cover damages caused by lost time while under arrest, the time you were imprisoned, and any damage to personal property.
Police Misconduct and Excessive Force
Police officers have the authority to use reasonable force in certain circumstances when defending themselves or others or while arresting an individual. However, some officers use force or continue using force when it is unnecessary, which often leads to significant harm to individuals and can result in their deaths. This frequently occurs when police officers are called to deal with situations that they do not have the qualifications to take care of.
Excessive force and similar acts of police misconduct can also be considered an abuse of a police officer’s power. Excessive force includes the unlawful use of police dogs and the use of deadly force against individuals without reason or cause. Acts of excessive force, like police brutality or shootings, can cause lasting injuries and fatalities.
Police officers are meant to protect their communities, but this is too often not how some officers operate. When you or a loved one is harmed because of the excessive force used by a police officer, you can file a civil claim for compensation. The team at Exum Law Offices wants to help you protect your rights and fight for justice against these unlawful actions.
Use of Police Weapons in Excessive Force and Violence Cases
Excessive force cases often include the use of both lethal and non-lethal weapons. Any of these weapons can cause significant injuries and death, regardless of their label as non-lethal. Police brutality and deadly force cases can involve weapons or actions such as:
- Police Batons: Batons can be used to inflict unnecessary force and violence on an individual. They can cause fractures, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and other severe harm.
- Tasers and Stun Guns: Although considered a non-lethal weapon, Tasers and stun guns can be fatal if used excessively or on individuals with certain heart or other health conditions. The state has limitations on the use of Tasers, but they are still frequently misused.
- Handcuffs: Handcuffs and other restraints can harm individuals during an arrest or prevent them from protecting themselves. This can result in cuts, fractures, and lacerations, among other damage. The unnecessarily forceful use of restraints or their removal may be considered excessive use of force.
- Aggressive Handling: When officers are unreasonably violent or forceful with individuals they are arresting or speaking with, and they have no probable cause to do so, this is likely considered excessive force.
- Police Dogs: K-9 police dogs can be misused by law enforcement officers to use deadly force or do unnecessary harm. They can also cause harm without input from an officer and be difficult to control. A police dog can use teeth and claws, causing significant and even fatal harm to individuals.
- Pepper Spray: Pepper spray may be used as crowd control or to subdue an individual resisting arrest. However, pepper spray can also be considered an unnecessary use of force, as officers may use it outside of these situations, such as in peaceful protests or against an individual who is not violent or resisting. Chemicals in pepper spray can be harmful and incredibly painful.
- Tear Gas: Tear gas is often used in crowd control but is not always a reasonable use of force. Tear gas can result in respiratory damage and increased blood pressure. If an individual has other health conditions, tear gas is more likely to cause permanent damage.
- Rubber Bullets: Rubber bullets are intended as a nonlethal alternative, but they can still cause serious damage. Firing rubber bullets can lead to broken and fractured bones, traumatic brain and skull injuries, and internal damage.
- Firearms: The use of firearms by police officers is frequently lethal. Officers are required to have a reason to use deadly force, like a gun, against an individual.
- Choke Holds: Although many police departments have barred the use of chokeholds, they continue to be a part of police brutality cases and the cause of unnecessary injury and death.
The use of these actions and weapons is considered necessary for certain situations where a suspect is violent or a police officer has to protect themselves or others. However, by showing the circumstances surrounding your case, an attorney can help prove that such a use of force was unreasonable.
The Impact of Qualified Immunity on Police Misconduct Cases
Qualified immunity is a protection that extends to several governmental employees, including state officials and public officials. This includes police officers. Qualified immunity, when invoked, protects these officials from civil claims if the official was acting in the realm of their official duties.
If a police officer was not violating your civil rights and completing their job, they are likely protected under qualified immunity. However, officers who engage in misconduct should not be protected by qualified immunity. To receive compensation for damages done to you, you have to prove that your rights were violated because of police misconduct. It requires a skilled and experienced attorney to investigate the altercation and determine what evidence there is of civil rights violations.
How Can a Police Misconduct Attorney Help Me?
The traumatic impact of police misconduct can harm individuals, families, and communities. After suffering from police misconduct, you deserve a legal professional who can fight against the injustices that you suffered. When you’ve been wrongfully arrested or convicted, your entire life can be altered by spending your time incarcerated and living with a criminal record. When you’ve been a victim of police brutality, you may suffer injuries that impact the rest of your life. You deserve compensation for these damages, and you also deserve to hold the police officers and municipalities responsible for their actions and failures.
Navigating a civil claim can be complex, and it can be even harder when you are recovering from injuries or dealing with the fallout of other misconduct. When you work with an attorney, they can help you through each part of the claim, including filing the claim and collecting evidence. They can also review and investigate the situation of the arrest, search, stop, or seizure.
Your attorney can negotiate for a favorable settlement on your behalf, determining what damages you should rightfully receive. If a settlement isn’t possible, your attorney can represent you in court. While your legal team handles these issues, you can take the time to rest, recover, and focus on other aspects of your life. When you’ve suffered from police misconduct, you have the right to compensation, and an effective legal advocate can help you secure it.
Exum Law Offices: Protecting Your Civil Rights Against Police Misconduct
Police officers have a duty to protect the community, but misconduct happens frequently in California and across the nation. It is unacceptable to suffer rights violations from police officers. If you or a loved one was a victim of police abuses of power or unnecessary force, Exum Law Offices can help you. For decades, we have worked in civil rights and criminal law systems. We believe in protecting your rights during negotiations or litigation while walking you through each step of your civil claim. Contact our firm to see how we can help you fight for the most favorable outcome for your case.