The United States Constitution protects you from illegal searches and seizures, cruel and unusual punishment, and self-incrimination. You also have the right to legal representation when confronting the criminal justice system. These fundamental rights are instrumental to your freedoms as an American. Our government operates on a system of checks and balances, and we have agencies responsible for ensuring accountability of our public officials and public servants. Still, people continue to be discriminated against and harassed by some of the same individuals who swore to protect us.
At The Zeiger Firm, our experienced civil rights lawyer has vigorously defended the rights of criminal defendants, as well as unsuspecting individuals who were confronted by police misconduct. If your civil rights have been violated, you may be able to seek justice and accountability by filing a civil rights claim. Brian Zeiger is a shepherd of civil rights and helps hold police, prosecutors, and other government actors accountable when they have trampled on people’s rights. Contact The Zeiger Firm today for a confidential consultation to discuss your claim.
How a New Jersey Civil Rights Lawyer Can Help You
Civil rights attorneys protect the rights of citizens who are harmed by police misconduct and other government officials acting under the color of law. One of the most effective ways to make systemic change is to hold bad actors responsible for their conduct. New Jersey civil rights attorney Brian Zeiger ensures that officials are held to the highest standard their profession demands. He works diligently to ensure that everyone receives the proper protection of the laws.
If you believe that your civil rights were violated, a civil rights lawyer can:
- Investigate the civil rights violation
- Identify the civil rights agency to be notified of the transgression
- Gather and preserve compelling evidence
- File civil rights claims with the appropriate government agency
- Answer any questions you have during your case
- Research relevant case law
- Negotiate settlements on your behalf
- Raise applicable defenses in criminal cases
- Argue cases in court and through pre-trial motions
Examples of Civil Rights Violations
The Zeiger Firm can handle any civil rights violation related to any of the following:
One of the most significant issues confronting this nation is police brutality. Body cameras and smartphones have further highlighted this ongoing issue. While the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights acknowledges that physical force may sometimes be used, excessive force is that force beyond what the officer reasonably believes is necessary and is illegal.
While police officers sometimes turn to deadly force, this should only happen in rare circumstances that involve dire situations and only after other methods have proven ineffective. The National Consensus Policy on the Use of Force urges officers to use de-escalation techniques to control a situation before considering violent measures.
Police brutality is often a sign of systemic issues within law enforcement agencies and unconfronted biases against minority individuals. Some of the most common factors that lead to police brutality include:
- Inadequate training and education
- Racism, bigotry, or bias against certain groups of people
- Covering up for the actions of other cops
- Lack of oversight
The New Jersey police brutality lawyers at The Zeiger Firm help hold the police accountable when they use excessive force. We have seen firsthand how the overreaching actions of police officers can cause physical, psychological, and emotional injuries. We can help you make claims under state or federal law, including under Title 42, Section 1983 of the U.S. Code to demand fair compensation after you were harmed by excessive force.
One form of excessive force is the improper use of a taser. Taser guns deliver a strong electric shock to physically incapacitate the victim. While tasers are less likely to result in death than guns, a Reuters report found that approximately 49 people died in one recent year after being incapacitated by an officer’s taser. Additionally, more than 1,000 people have died from police taser use since 2000. Using a taser is not always justified and is often used disproportionately on certain individuals. Approximately 25 percent of people whom police use a taser against suffer from mental disabilities. Because of the potential for abuse, each case involving a taser should be carefully examined.
False arrest claims arise when a law enforcement officer arrests someone without probable cause. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable search and seizure. Detention by police officers is considered a seizure. Certain requirements must be met for a detention to be lawful. Police must have probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime before they can make an arrest. In most cases, they also need an arrest warrant. If a warrant is not supported by probable cause, an arrest stemming from that warrant can be considered unlawful.
Citizens may have a claim against a law enforcement officer who has unlawfully detained them, even if the person was not technically arrested. If this detention is made without probable cause or legal justification, this could be considered false imprisonment. Some examples of false imprisonment include:
- Police use unauthorized bodily restraint
- Police lock a victim in their police car
- Police keep a victim in an interrogation room and do not allow them to leave
- A police officer threatens a victim, preventing them from leaving an encounter
These inappropriate actions can lead to serious physical and mental injuries. If you were falsely imprisoned, reach out to The Zeiger Firm. We can evaluate your situation and explain your legal rights.
If a false arrest leads to criminal charges, you may have a legal claim for malicious prosecution. Malicious prosecution occurs when a prosecutor initiates criminal charges against a defendant knowing any of the following:
- The prosecutor has hidden evidence that could aid the defense
- There is insufficient evidence against the defendant
- The information against the defendant derives from an illegal or unreliable source
Malicious prosecution is a violation of your Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty. Our team can help defend you against wrongful charges and seek redress for the violation of your rights.
Racial profiling is the systemic practice of singling out individuals based on the person’s race, national origin, ethnic background, or religion. People in certain protected groups are disproportionately affected by racial profiling. According to a recent Rutgers-Newark study, one out of every 1,000 African American men will experience a fatal encounter with the police at some point during their life.
In an effort to eliminate police misconduct, some agencies require their officers to wear body cameras to record footage of their interactions with the public. However, the use of body cameras has also led to serious concerns, including the invasion of their privacy. People with disabilities or innocent bystanders may be filmed without their permission. There may be sensitive footage recorded on these cameras and shared with others. In some cases, police may try to intimidate suspects or witnesses with the footage.
Types of Damages in Civil Rights Cases
Individuals who have had their civil rights violated may face serious and lasting losses. For over 20 years, The Zeiger Firm has tirelessly fought to protect the rights of victims of police misconduct. We can thoroughly investigate your claim and determine all forms of compensation to which you may be entitled. Damages in these types of cases may include:
- Medical expenses – Some traumatic encounters with the police result in serious injuries that require medical treatment. We can seek compensation for emergency care, hospitalization, follow-up treatment, and mental health care related to the incident.
- Permanent injuries – Police violence may lead to permanent disabilities or impairment. We can seek financial accountability against police forces that allowed an officer to harm you in this way.
- Lost income – You are entitled to compensation for the lost wages you incurred while you were recovering from your injuries or incarcerated due to a false arrest or prosecution.
- Damage to your reputation – A criminal record can follow you for the rest of your life. When you are a victim of police misconduct, you can seek fair compensation for the damage to your reputation.
- Pain and suffering – Physical injuries can result in significant pain and suffering. You deserve to be fairly compensated for the trauma you endured.
- Emotional distress – Traumatic encounters with the police can be emotionally scarring and cause significant mental and emotional trauma.
Brian Zeiger is a powerful advocate for your rights. He has successfully recovered millions of dollars of compensation in civil rights cases. Some of his victories in civil rights cases include:
- $1.3 million in prisoner medical care deprivation case
- $500,000 in police brutality case
- $500,000 in police brutality case
- $350,000 in police brutality case
- $250,000 in prisoner medical care deprivation case
While we cannot guarantee we will be able to secure the same results for your case because every case is different and involves distinct facts and circumstances, we know we will fight tirelessly for you. In addition to supporting you with your civil rights claim, we also provide aggressive criminal defense legal representation.
Contact The Zeiger Firm Today
At The Zeiger Firm, we focus on helping individuals who have been mistreated by the police and other governmental agencies. We help victims of false arrest, police brutality, malicious prosecution, and other civil rights violations. We can provide the dedicated legal support and guidance you need during this pivotal time in your life. Contact our New Jersey civil rights attorney for a confidential consultation.