When law enforcement officers use excessive force or abuse the rights of the people in their custody, we must hold them accountable for their actions. If not, they will continue to do so in the future. Reading police brutality lawyer Brian J. Zeiger of The Zeiger Firm zealously represents clients who have been the victims of law enforcement misconduct. He and his team work hard to ensure that no one, not even a police officer, is above the law.
Because our firm is focused on defending the rights of those in the criminal justice system, we know how to deal with law enforcement officers who violate public trust and engage in misconduct or violence against the citizens they have sworn to serve. Let our firm help you demand the compensation and justice you deserve during this difficult time.
If you have been the target of police abuse or misconduct, contact The Zeiger Firm for a free initial consultation with a Reading police brutality lawyer. It will cost you nothing to learn more about your legal options for pursuing compensation from the people and agencies that violated your rights.
Common Types of Police Brutality and Misconduct in Reading, PA
Police brutality and misconduct happen all too frequently in Reading. Some of the most common instances include:
- False or unlawful arrest – When police detain or arrest an individual when they lack sufficient probable cause to do so
- False imprisonment – Detaining an individual without probable cause and failing to release a suspect or detainee according to the laws and department regulations
- Excessive force – When an officer uses a level of force against a suspect or other individual disproportionate to the threat that person poses
- Deadly force – When an officer’s improper use of less-than-lethal techniques leads to a fatal injury, or when an officer uses force that has a substantial risk of causing serious injury or death without proper authorization
- Police shooting – When officers discharge their firearms in situations where the suspect poses no threat of serious injury or death to the officers or other members of the public
- Forced confession – Obtaining a confession through threats or torture techniques such as depriving a suspect of sleep or food or subjecting them to psychological assault
- Sexual assault or harassment – Rape and unwanted sexual contact, trading in sexual favors, or making harassing statements based on the victim’s sex
- Racial profiling – Targeting individuals based solely on their race, color, or national origin
- Strip searches – When conducted to embarrass or humiliate a suspect or as a form of sexual assault or harassment
- Blackmail or coercion – Threatening physical violence or criminal prosecution to secure an individual’s cooperation or convince them to provide testimony or evidence (whether true or not).
Police brutality and misconduct can take many other forms. If you believe you have been abused at the hands of law enforcement in Reading, experienced police brutality attorney Brian J. Zeiger can determine whether you have a case. Let us help you demand accountability for the officers who harmed you.
Common Causes of Police Brutality
The public reasonably expects that police officers will act within the law and will not abuse their power. Despite the public trust placed in law enforcement, police brutality and misconduct still occur at an alarming rate. Some of the factors and circumstances that foster police misconduct include:
- Inadequate officer training regarding aspects of police work such as traffic stops, searches and seizures, and use of force against suspects
- Impulsiveness or errors in judgment during high-stress situations like vehicular chases, pursuing suspects on foot, or confronting individuals believed to be armed
- Police officers who take the law into their own hands when they believe that the system unnecessarily restricts them or inadequately punishes criminals
- Racism and bigotry, whether overt and intentional or subconscious and institutional
- Inadequate internal investigation efforts or disciplinary procedures to respond to incidents of misconduct
- Officers who feel intimidated from speaking out about misconduct by fellow officers or from intervening when they witness incidents of misconduct or excessive force
- Officers who try to cover for misconduct perpetrated by other officers, including by “looking the other way” or even actively trying to hide or destroy evidence of misconduct
Pursuing Fair Compensation in a Police Brutality Claim
When you have been the victim of police brutality or misconduct, you may suffer from injuries or losses that will impact the rest of your life. While no amount of money can undo the harm you have experienced, a financial recovery can provide you with an important measure of justice. Specifically, a police brutality claim may allow you to recover compensation for:
- Costs of medical treatment for physical and emotional/mental harm that you have suffered
- Long-term care expenses if you sustained permanent injuries or disabilities
- Lost income if you missed time from work, lost your job, or missed out on job opportunities due to a false arrest or wrongful conviction
- Emotional distress stemming from the event
An experienced Reading police abuse attorney from The Zeiger Firm can determine the types of compensation to which you may be entitled, and then pursue maximum payment in your case.
Tips for Protecting Your Police Brutality Claim
- Don’t try to physically resist arrest – Even if you are being wrongfully arrested for a crime you have not committed, resisting arrest constitutes a crime itself. It can justify the police using a greater level of force against you. It can also undermine your credibility in your police brutality or misconduct claim.
- If possible, document your arrest – Bystanders or eyewitnesses may record your arrest on their cellphones. You can later try to obtain footage from those witnesses. Get the names and badge numbers of the officers who violated your rights.
- See a doctor as soon as possible – You want to make sure that a doctor diagnoses the injuries you have suffered and begins treatment. Take photos of any visible injuries you sustained.
- Keep copies of bills and invoices – You want to document all expenses incurred due to the police misconduct.
- Avoid posting about your arrest and legal case on social media – Your posts can be used against you in both your criminal case as well as in your police brutality/misconduct claim.
Talk with a Reading police brutality lawyer to learn more about your options for pursuing your legal case. The sooner you do so, the sooner you can hold the people who hurt you responsible for their actions.
How a Reading, PA Police Brutality Attorney Can Help You
Successfully pursuing a police brutality claim requires a great deal of legal work and considerable knowledge and experience. Reading police brutality attorney Brian J. Zeiger can help you with your case by:
- Investigating the underlying facts and circumstances of the incident to recover evidence that your civil rights were violated
- Documenting the injuries and losses that you have sustained at the hands of the police
- Identifying the responsible officers and liable government agencies and departments
- Filing all your legal claims in a timely fashion
- Aggressively pursuing fair and full compensation for you, whether by negotiating a settlement with the government or by going to trial if an acceptable settlement cannot be reached
Evidence to Build a Police Brutality Claim
Proving that you were the victim of police brutality or misconduct will require substantial evidence. Law enforcement officers and agencies are entitled to considerable legal immunity from civil liability. As a result, you will need a strong, highly persuasive case demonstrating that the police engaged in intentional or reckless misconduct. At The Zeiger Firm, we frequently use the following types of evidence:
- Bystander/eyewitness statements
- Cellphone video footage
- Dashcam footage from police cruisers and footage taken from bodycams
- Surveillance footage from police headquarters or the jailhouse
- Police records, including arrest reports, use-of-force reports, pursuit reports, and internal investigation records
- Medical records showing the injuries and subsequent treatment you received
- Photographs of visible injuries
- Staffing records
- Officer employment and disciplinary records
- Police department procedure manuals
Contact Our Police Brutality Lawyers in Reading, Pennsylvania For a Free Consultation
If you have been the victim of brutality or misconduct at the hands of the police, contact The Zeiger Firm today for a free initial case evaluation. We want to help you to hold the specific law enforcement officers and departments accountable for their actions and pursue the compensation and justice to which you are entitled. Contact us now to get started.