What to Do If You Are Injured by the Police

Chris Jan 30, 2019

One of the cornerstones of the American justice system is equal treatment under the law for all Americans. As Superman used to say, “Liberty and justice for all.” It sounds great in theory, but that is often not the reality experienced by many Americans. This unequal treatment under the law often presents itself as unfair treatment by government officials, especially police officers. Being injured by the police is an all too common occurrence. Even if the authorities have a just basis to detain someone, excessive force, and police brutality is never acceptable. For many people who have been injured by the police, the question is, “I was hurt by the police, what can I do now?   

The Statute of Limitations, Hurt Police Custody

There are several laws, both federal and State, which are intended to protect citizens against everything from a minor police injury to the more excessive force police brutality that can occur. Beyond federal Laws, which began with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, federal protection of rights start in the U.S. Constitution. The 4th Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizures while the 14th Amendment speaks of guaranteeing due process of the law and equal protection of all persons under the law.

The Civil Rights Act of 1871, or a “Section 1983”  as it is also known, is a federal statute allowing suits against the U.S. government for violations of civil rights.

For a Section 1983 suit to be admissible, the individual who is being sued must be considered to have acted “under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage” of a state, such as Lousiana.  “Under color of” has been determined by courts to require the individual being sued to be considered a representative of the state when they were depriving the victim of their civil rights. A number of different factors are considered to see if the individual was acting “under color” of the state, including:

  • Was the person “on duty?”
  • Were they wearing an official uniform?
  • Was law enforcement equipment used (for example handcuffs)?
  • Was an arrest carried out?
  • Did the person claim to be an officer?

Note that certain violations of the law must be acted upon within a certain time frame for them to be valid. These are referred to as Statutes of Limitation. Likewise, if you have been injured by the police, a statute of limitations hurt police custody must be considered.  If you or a loved one suffered a police injury, contact a lawyer at the Schwartz Law firm promptly to ensure the opportunity to get justice.  

Injured by the Police

As mentioned above, protection against unfair treatment can be found in both state and federal laws.  The specifics of such laws vary from state to state. In Louisiana, police brutality is considered a serious violation of a person’s civil rights. There are state laws that spell out what things the police are allowed to do when they are making an arrest.  

I Was Hurt by Police

If you were injured by the police, there are steps you can take to get justice for the police injury you have suffered. Initially, you should report the excessive force, police brutality to the police authorities.  You should write down and document as much information as you can about the incident. At the same time, it would be wise to seek out an attorney expert on police brutality to assist you with documenting the events surrounding the incident and assisting you with getting justice, if reporting the incident to the police authorities did not provide proper relief for you.

Excessive Force and Police Brutality  

If you have been hurt by the police or in any way been the victim of police brutality, consult the experts at the Schwartz Law Firm. Our attorneys can assist you through the whole process, start to finish, so you can properly document your injuries and get you the justice that you deserve.  At the Schwartz Law Firm, we fight for your rights. Call today for a free consultation. In New Orleans call 504-837-2263. In Baton Rouge, call 225-766-6775.

About Author: Chris

Legal Support and Marketing Director

Schwartz Law Firm was founded by Christopher Schwartz in 1997. After obtaining his MBA and law degrees, Christopher Schwartz served as a Workers Compensation claims adjuster. This experience gave him a view of the system from the inside and inspired him to begin his own practice. Christopher Schwartz has successfully represented many injured employees in Longshore claims, Jones Act claims, and Personal Injury claims. He is a tough negotiator, whose track record includes multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Chris has also authored a book titled “The Road to Justice”. In his book, Chris outlines how he and his colleagues fight for public safety and what role his clients can play in winning their own personal injury cases. Chris is a native of New Orleans and has practiced law in Louisiana for 14 years. As a result, he understands local laws and feels a special loyalty to local people. He takes every case personally. Chris is available to represent clients anywhere in Louisiana and Maritime clients anywhere in the Gulf South. But he is also qualified to represent Defense Base Act clients anywhere in the world outside the U.S. He also focuses on auto accidents, semi-trailer accidents, 18-wheeler accidents and slip & fall accidents.