Making a civil rights claim against the police in Denver

Making a civil rights claim against the police in Denver

We rely on the police for safety, but we also rely on the police to treat us fairly, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and so on. In order to provide safety, Colorado police officers have broad powers to carry out their duties; however, there are robust Constitutional laws and other laws that place limits on this power and protect our civil rights.

4 Things to Know About Police Misconduct | Civil Rights Attorney Denver

When police go too far, violating the civil rights of individuals in Colorado, the victim of the misconduct may have legal options. The first step in seeking justice and holding the responsible individual(s) accountable for their misconduct is to consult with a highly experienced Denver civil rights lawyer. At the Civil Rights Litigation Group, a civil rights law firm right here in Denver, we fully understand the complexity and the difficulty of these cases, as holding law enforcement accountable for misconduct, brutality, and excessive force requires a thorough knowledge of law as well as diligence.

Basics of police misconduct and qualified immunity

When stopped by the police for a suspected crime, it’s definitely an unsettling experience. Nevertheless, if the police officer is simply performing his/her job and not violating your civil rights, then the police officer is virtually immune from a civil rights lawsuit. Things like negligence and failing to exercise due care are, usually, insufficient for a lawsuit.

This is known as qualified immunity, and when bringing a police misconduct lawsuit to courts, the defense representing the law enforcement officer(s) will most likely raise a defense of qualified immunity. The short version of this legal doctrine is that it protects government officials (including police officers and law enforcement) “insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” In other words, you may have a lawsuit only when willful police conduct violates an existing statute and/or your Constitutional rights.

Federal statute for police misconduct and excessive force

Protections against police misconduct are thoroughly detailed in federal law, Title 42 Section 1983. According to this statute, it is unlawful for anyone acting under the authority of state law (in this instance, Colorado law) to deprive another person of his or her civil rights under the Constitution or federal law.

Your civil rights in a police misconduct case

In addition to Section 1983 and the claim you can bring to federal courts, it’s equally important to know your Constitutional and civil rights. Understanding these rights will be essential in a police misconduct case because, right from the beginning, you’ll be arrested and processed in Colorado’s criminal justice system. Some of the rights you should know include:

  • Right to remain silent
  • Right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car, or your home
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave
  • If you are arrest, you have the right to a lawyer

When arrested, make sure to remain calm and polite, don’t interfere or obstruct the police, and don’t lie or give false documents. Furthermore, it’s especially important to assert your right to remain silent. DON’T immediately start yelling how you’re going to sue; in fact, if the law enforcement is afraid of a misconduct lawsuit, he/she may begin covering up the incident immediately, documenting everything that would be beneficial to his/her defense.

In other words, if you’re arrested or the police have violated your civil rights or another statute, it’s important to politely assert your right to remain silent and contact a civil rights lawyer immediately.

Common types of police misconduct in Colorado

There are many ways that police can violate your rights, and in recent years, many cases of police misconduct, wrongful death, and excessive force have made their way to the limelight. The most common police misconduct claims brought to courts under Section 1983 include:

  • 4 Things to Know About Police Misconduct | Civil Rights Attorney DenverFalse arrest (false imprisonment) — The police violated your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, but in order to have a “successful” case, you must show that the police didn’t have reasonable cause at the time.
  • Malicious prosecution — The police violated your Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty. For these types of claims, you’ll need to show that 1) the police officer commenced a criminal proceeding, 2) the proceeding ended in your favor (not-guilty or dropped charges), 3) the police officer didn’t have probable cause, and 4) the criminal proceedings were brought with malice.
  • Use of excessive or unreasonable force — These cases often involve serious physical injury or death. Whether or not the police officer’s force was reasonable or unreasonable depends on the unique facts and circumstances of the instance.
  • Failure to intervene — If an officer witnesses another officer violating your rights, and that first officer doesn’t do anything to help, then that officer may be complicit in the police misconduct case.

Fight for justice with the civil Rights Litigation Group in Denver

Civil rights claims are essential in our justice system, especially when upholding Colorado and Denver police officers to the law. Nevertheless, even if you felt that you were mistreated, the relevant police officers may be immune from a lawsuit. Police officers enjoy a wide range of protections. As a result, evidence supporting your claim will be absolutely fundamental, and if you were the victim of police misconduct, you need to contact a Denver civil rights attorney immediately so that valuable evidence does not disappear.

Contact the Civil Rights Litigation Group in Denver today for a free consultation. Don’t let the police get away with stark violations of your rights, and call our civil rights law firm today at (720) 515-6165.

Denver police misconduct and “good shootings” vs “bad shootings”

Denver police misconduct and “good shootings” vs “bad shootings”

The terms “good shooting” and “bad shooting” are in quotes for a reason — there are rarely “good shootings.” Even in some extreme circumstances, shooting to injure or kill should be a last-resort option when you feel threatened or that your life is in danger. From a police officer’s point of view, however, there is a difference between a justified, legal use of force and committing murder or, at the very least, manslaughter. These days, the police shootings against unarmed African Americans has spawned widespread criticism across the United States, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Police misconduct is a serious issue.

Denver CO Police Misconduct Attorney - Good and Bad Shootings

As a Denver civil rights and police misconduct attorney, it can be clear (in most cases) whether or not the police used force responsibly and legally, or if the police officer was too trigger happy and led to someone’s death. Nevertheless, many Colorado residents are unaware of some of the subtle and more nuanced legal definitions that separate “good” and “bad” shootings. In this post, we’ll attempt to clear up some of these misunderstandings. In the meantime, if you or a loved one was shot by police, you shouldn’t hesitate; call the Civil Rights Litigation Group in Denver CO today at 720-515-6165.

Colorado police misconduct and the use of deadly force

Colorado police officers have several options when dealing with a potentially deadly, or even dangerous, suspect, and whether the police officer goes for the TASER or their gun often depends on the officer’s intuition during these split-second decisions, even more so than any standard protocol. Nevertheless, the rise of unjustified police shootings shows that “intuition” can lead to wrong decisions, resulting in police misconduct and an individual’s death.

Colorado law authorizes police officers to use force in specific situations, such as to carry out an arrest or prevent a suspect from escaping. Police can also use force to defend themselves or another person from the use or imminent use of force. The degree of force, however, depends on the unique circumstances of the situation, whereas deadly force may be justified when it is met with deadly force. For instance, deadly force may be justified when a suspect is committing a felony that involved the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon.

Deadly force, in virtually all cases, is not justifiable when the suspect is committing a misdemeanor. Colorado law makes it a crime for a police officer to use excessive force, which occurs when a police officer continues applying physical force even though the suspect is unable to resist arrest.

Deadly force and a fleeing suspect

When a suspect is running away, that suspect is less likely to pose a threat, and a Colorado police officer is only justified shooting a fleeing suspect in very specific circumstances. For instance, the 1985 Supreme Court case Tennessee v. Garner better defined the so-called Fleeing Felon Rule. According to the ruling, officers cannot shoot unarmed, non-dangerous suspects out of concern that they may escape. Police may shoot the suspect if the police believe that the suspect will cause serious injury or death to the officer, other officers, or the public, if not apprehended.

It is always important to remember that Colorado law recognizes that police are sometimes put in potentially dangerous situations; for this reason, case law states that the police officer may judge whether or not the use of force was reasonable and necessary, and not the facts and circumstances of the situation, which may come to light later with perfect hindsight. Police misconduct is not always cut and dried.

Fight police misconduct with attorney Raymond Bryant

Whether a person is dangerous, and how dangerous that person is, is rarely easy to determine. Nevertheless, there are many laws in Colorado that differentiate a “good” shooting from a “bad” shooting. If you believe that a friend or a loved one was shot due to excessive force exhibited by the police, it’s essential to act as soon as possible and call Denver civil rights attorney Raymond Bryant. At the Civil Rights Litigation Group, we have the resources, experience, and legal insight to take on police officers when police misconduct has occurred. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced civil rights attorney, call our Denver law office today at 720-515-6165.

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