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If your civil rights were violated by the police, can you sue the police department? This is a question that might cross your mind after you have been abused by a police officer.

Civil Lawsuit

You have a couple of options when suing a police officer. You can either sue the police department or a police officer. If you believe that the police department’s policies and procedures contributed to the incident, you can file a civil rights claim against the police department.

A police officer can be individually sued for violating your constitutional rights. If a police officer violates your constitutional rights and you would like to sue them, you have to file a civil lawsuit against the police officer.

Civil lawsuits are separate from criminal charges. You will have to file separate lawsuits against the police officer and the police department.

Civil Rights Violations

Here are some examples of potential civil rights violations:

  • Police brutality: Police officers are not allowed to use excessive force when arresting or detaining a person. If they do, they may be sued for civil rights violations.
  • False arrest: If you have been arrested without probable cause, you may be able to sue for civil rights violations.
  • False imprisonment: Police officers are not allowed to detain someone without probable cause. If a police officer does this, and you were detained for an unreasonable amount of time, you may be able to sue for civil rights violations.
  • Search and seizure: Police officers are given the power to search and seize possible evidence in some cases. If they search or seize something they are not allowed to, they may be sued for civil rights violations.

Legal Resources

You can file a civil rights lawsuit against the police department where your incident occurred, or you can file a claim against the police officer who abused you.

The best move is to visit a civil rights lawyer and ask them about your legal options.

Proofs in Civil Lawsuits

When you sue a police department or police officer, the burden of proof is not as difficult as it is in a criminal case. For example, the prosecution has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case. If the jury does not believe that the prosecution has met that burden of proof, the defendant is acquitted of the crime.

In a civil case, the plaintiff only has to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant is liable for the incident. This means that if the plaintiff provides convincing evidence, the police department or police officer can be held liable for the incident.

Keep in mind: civil lawsuits can be complex. You should seek legal counsel if you are planning to file a civil lawsuit.

Immunity of Some Officials

Some officials are protected from civil lawsuits because of the legal doctrine of absolute immunity. These officials include:

  • Prosecutors
  • Judges
  • Custodians of someone who is in police detention
  • Law enforcement officials who are arresting someone
  • Employers of people who perform police duties
  • Medical personnel in a hospital who is treating someone
  • Public employees who are working as undercover informants
  • Private citizens when they are performing police duties

Protect Your Rights

If you have been the victim of a civil rights violation by the police, you should contact a local attorney to learn more about your legal options. It can be quite tricky to navigate, so make sure you get proper legal advice and representation.

MHM Firm is a reliable attorney at law in Birmingham, AL. With years of experience, we help our clients get the justice they deserve in state and federal courts. Get in touch with us!