When law enforcement officers go beyond protecting the peace and engage in unreasonable and unlawful conduct that harms citizens, they deserve to be held accountable. At The Zeiger Firm, we know how to respond when officers violate the civil and constitutional rights of our clients through excessive force or other misconduct. We fight fiercely to protect our clients’ rights and interests, and we work tirelessly to pursue the compensation they deserve.
If you have suffered injuries or losses due to law enforcement misconduct, turn to a Bethlehem police brutality lawyer from The Zeiger Firm. We can provide a free, confidential case evaluation and discuss how an experienced and aggressive attorney like Brian J. Zeiger can help you pursue a financial recovery and accountability from the officers and law enforcement departments that caused you to suffer harm.
Common Types of Police Brutality and Misconduct in Bethlehem
The most common examples of police misconduct that occurs in Bethlehem and surrounding communities include:
- False or unlawful arrest – When an individual is intentionally or recklessly arrested without sufficient probable cause
- False imprisonment – When a suspect is held or detained without probable cause or is detained for longer than the law or department regulations permit
- Excessive force – When a police officer uses physical force to a level greater than needed to subdue or arrest a suspect or which is disproportionate to the threat posed by a suspect
- Deadly force – When a suspect or innocent bystander is killed by improper use of less-than-lethal devices or techniques, or by the use of unauthorized force that poses a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death
- Police shooting – For instance, when a police officer discharges a firearm in a situation where deadly force is not warranted
- Forced confession – When a law enforcement officer obtains a confession through threats of harm or criminal prosecution against a suspect or the suspect’s family and acquaintances, or through physical harm or psychological assault
- Sexual assault or harassment – When a police officer forces unwanted sexual contact on an individual or demands sexual favors
- Racial profiling – When law enforcement targets individuals for criminal behavior based on their race, color, or national origin
- Strip searches – When this highly invasive type of search is performed without lawful justification in order to embarrass, humiliate, or sexually harass or abuse a suspect
- Blackmail – When this type of coercion is used to obtain cooperation, including testimony or evidence, and often without any regard to the truthfulness or reliability of such evidence or testimony
What Can You Recover in a Police Brutality Claim?
A victim of police brutality or misconduct can suffer all kinds of physical, emotional, reputational, and financial harm. At The Zeiger Firm, we believe that you deserve to make a full financial recovery for the losses you have suffered and will continue to suffer throughout your life due to the injuries and harm you have sustained.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, Bethlehem police brutality lawyer Brian J. Zeiger may pursue compensation on your behalf that includes:
- Medical costs – Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation of physical injuries or medical conditions inflicted by police brutality or misconduct
- Disability – Permanent impairments or disabilities, both physical and emotional, that negatively affect your quality and enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress – Emotional harm you experience because of an incident of police brutality or misconduct that involves egregious or outrageous behavior by police officers, including costs of therapy to treat the mental trauma
- Lost income – If you miss work while treating the physical or mental injuries you suffered
- Loss of earning capacity – If you lose your job or employment opportunities because of a false arrest or wrongful prosecution/conviction
What to Do If You Were the Victim of Police Brutality in Bethlehem
When you are victimized by police brutality or misconduct in Bethlehem, you can take action to protect your legal rights and ensure that you put yourself in the best position to pursue a legal claim for compensation for your losses. Important steps to take include:
- Avoid the temptation to resist an arrest – Even if you think you are being wrongfully arrested, you should never resist an arrest. Resisting arrest can be charged as a separate crime, regardless of your innocence of the crime you were being arrested for. It can also justify the use of additional force by the police to secure your arrest. This can potentially negatively impact or undercut a subsequent claim of police brutality or misconduct.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible – You should be promptly examined for any physical injuries or other medical harm you have suffered. Remember to take photos of any visible injuries you suffered.
- Talk with eyewitnesses – If possible, try to get statements and copies of any cellphone recordings from any bystanders who may have witnessed the incident of police brutality or misconduct that you were involved in.
- Keep everything – Retain copies of any bills or invoices or other records of expenses you incur during your recovery. Also keep copies of your income statements if you miss time from work or lose your job because of police misconduct.
- Stay away from social media – Don’t discuss the incident or your arrest or your police brutality or misconduct claim on social media, as your posts can later be used against you.
Finally, talk to a Bethlehem police brutality lawyer from The Zeiger Firm to discuss the next steps we can take to begin pursuing the accountability and justice you deserve.
How a Bethlehem Police Brutality Attorney Can Help You
Successfully pursuing a police brutality or misconduct claim requires extensive legal knowledge and experience. Let Bethlehem police brutality attorney Brian J. Zeiger help you with your case by handling all the details of preparing and pursuing your claim for compensation, including:
- Keeping you informed – We will discuss your legal rights and options with you and ensure you know what to expect in your case.
- Conducting an independent investigation – We can recover evidence that can be used for your case, including evidence that can allow us to identify the officers involved and the departments and agencies that might be held liable to compensate you.
- Calculating your damages – We will record and document the injuries you suffered and the financial and intangible losses you incurred or are expected to incur in the future as a result.
- Preparing your claims and demands for compensation – We will make sure your claim is timely filed with the at-fault parties and appropriate government agencies.
- Seeking a timely resolution of your case – We will aggressively pursue a maximum financial recovery for you in a negotiated settlement or, if necessary, take your case to trial.
Evidence We May Use to Prove a Police Brutality Claim
If your civil and constitutional rights were violated by police officer misconduct, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation. Law enforcement officers and departments enjoy broad protection from civil liability under sovereign immunity and qualified immunity. However, this immunity does not cover egregious or outrageous intentional or reckless behavior that violates your clearly established rights.
Evidence that we may use at The Zeiger Firm to prove your right to recover compensation in a police brutality claim includes:
- Statements from eyewitnesses or bystanders who saw the incident
- Police dashcam/bodycam footage
- Cellphone video recorded by bystanders
- Records from your medical treatment of your injuries, including photographs of visible injuries you suffered
- Police records such as arrest or use-of-force reports
- Employment and disciplinary records that can show an officer’s history of misconduct.
Causes of Police Brutality in Bethlehem
The public expects that police will act in accordance with the law in the discharge of their duties. Despite this public trust, police officers frequently overstep their bounds or abuse their power by committing acts of brutality or misconduct. Some of the factors that lead to police misconduct include:
- Inadequate police training and education – Many police act without being properly instructed on the limits of police authority, civilians’ civil and constitutional rights, or the proper use of force against suspects.
- Inadequate investigation or discipline – Unfortunately, police departments often fail to respond adequately to misconduct complaints.
- Rogue or renegade officers – Some officers choose to take the law into their own hands when they believe the system does not allow law enforcement officers to do their job or fails to adequately punish criminal behavior.
- High-stress situations – Officers can engage in aggressive or violent behavior in the spur of the moment during high-stress, adrenaline-fueled situations, when officers have not been selected and trained to control their emotions in such situations.
- Intentional racism or bigotry – Some incidents of police misconduct are motivated by overt racism as well as innate or subconscious bias and institutional racism.
- Intimidation – Officers can be intimidated by fellow officers and superiors and prevented from speaking out about misconduct or from intervening when misconduct occurs.
- Culture of silence – Some police officers “look the other way” or actively try to cover up fellow officers’ misconduct.
Talk to a Police Brutality Lawyer in Bethlehem Now for Free
If you have been the victim of an incident of police brutality or misconduct, contact The Zeiger Firm today for a free case review with Bethlehem police brutality lawyer Brian J. Zeiger. We will listen to your story and help you to understand your options pursuing compensation and justice for the losses you have suffered as a result of being mistreated by the police.