We all have constitutional rights that protect us from unreasonable and unlawful treatment by law enforcement officers such as unreasonable searches and seizures, wrongful arrests, or excessive force. Unfortunately, police officers can and do engage in misconduct and abuse, which can have a devastating impact on the lives of the victims of such conduct. If you have been harmed by the wrongful acts of police officers, a Scranton police brutality lawyer could help you by protecting your rights and holding the officers accountable.
At The Zeiger Law Firm, we believe that police should be held accountable when they harm citizens through their misconduct. Attorney Brian J. Zeiger and his team are singularly focused on providing aggressive, zealous advocacy to people who have been harmed by police officers. Brian J. Zeiger has a proven track record inside and outside the courtroom in getting clients the compensation and justice they deserve in police brutality cases.
Contact our law firm today for a free and confidential case evaluation to discuss your rights with experienced Scranton police brutality lawyer Brian J. Zeiger. We’ll talk about how we can help you hold the officers involved in your case accountable for their wrongful and unlawful conduct.
Common Causes of Police Brutality in Scranton
Although we rely on law enforcement officers to uphold the law and keep us safe, those entrusted with our safety can still harm us through misconduct or brutality. Police brutality can be attributed to various systemic causes and factors, including:
- Poor training of police officers in the limits of police authority under the law
- Inadequate or improper law enforcement department policies and procedures for police actions, including searches and seizures, detaining and arresting suspects, and holding suspects in custody
- Lack of self-control during high-stress situations, such as chasing suspects, confronting someone potentially armed, or attempting to detain a resisting suspect
- Intentional acts of vigilantism, particularly among officers who believe the criminal justice system imposes too much restriction on law enforcement or cannot adequately punish those who have committed crimes
- Racism or bigotry against certain groups of individuals, including innate bias
- Inadequate internal investigation mechanisms to respond to complaints of officer misconduct
- Police officers who decide to “close ranks” by failing to report or actively covering up misconduct of fellow officers, or officers who feel intimated by colleagues from reporting witnessed incidents of misconduct or intervening when they see acts of misconduct occurring
Common Types of Police Brutality and Misconduct in Scranton
Some of the most common examples of behavior by law enforcement officials that constitutes police brutality or misconduct include:
- False or unlawful arrest, including arresting an individual without any lawful justification
- False imprisonment, including failing to timely release an individual in accordance with department regulations and state law
- Excessive force, or the use of force not in proportion to the level of threat posed by a suspect to the officer or the public at large
- Deadly force, including the use of unauthorized physical restraint techniques or improper use of less-than-lethal devices like pepper spray, tasers, or beanbag rounds
- Police shooting, where a suspect does not pose a risk of serious bodily injury or death to officers or the public
- Forced confession, including use of torture techniques such as deprivation of food, water, or sleep
- Sexual assault or harassment
- Racial profiling
- Strip searches, where not considered reasonable under the circumstances, or conducted solely to sexually harass, assault, or humiliate a suspect
- Blackmail or coercion, including threatening to wrongfully arrest an individual or loved ones in exchange for false testimony
Demanding Financial Compensation in a Police Brutality Claim
When you have been harmed by police brutality or misconduct, you may suffer financial losses as a result. These losses can often continue to affect your life for years after the incident of misconduct or brutality.
The Zeiger Firm can help you pursue payment for all the losses and expenses that you have incurred or will incur due to the injuries and harm you have suffered because of police brutality or misconduct, including:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation of injuries you suffered, including emergency care and hospital bills, surgeries and other procedures, prescriptions, and physical/occupational therapy
- Costs of long-term care, including home health or institutional services for permanent disabilities that result from injuries, or mental health treatment for emotional trauma and distress
- Loss of income, including lost working time or loss of a job due to a wrongful arrest or malicious prosecution, or due to time taken off work to treat and recover from physical or mental injuries
- Emotional distress, especially where brutality or misconduct can be characterized as extreme or outrageous behavior from an officer who was acting intentionally or recklessly
- Loss of quality of life, especially when resulting from permanent injuries and disabilities that impact daily living
Protecting Your Rights in a Police Brutality Case
Both during and after an arrest, you can take steps to protect your rights to pursue a police misconduct/brutality claim. These steps include:
- Do not resist an arrest, even if you are being wrongfully arrested.
- If possible, get the names of anyone who witnessed the arrest or took video of the arrest.
- Seek medical attention for any injuries or medical harm you suffered because of police brutality or misconduct. Make sure to obtain copies of any medical records from your treatment. Photograph any visible injuries you may have sustained. Follow any treatment instructions or recommendations you receive from your treating providers.
- Keep copies of any bills or invoices for expenses you incur in recovering from the harm you suffered due to police brutality or misconduct.
- Keep a journal to document what happened while it is fresh in your mind. Record how the police brutality or misconduct you suffered has impacted your life physically and emotionally/mentally.
- Avoid discussing your case on social media, especially if you are still facing criminal charges in connection with the case.
Make time to speak with Scranton police brutality lawyer Brian J. Zeiger to review your rights and options for pursuing compensation and justice for the harm you have suffered.
How a Scranton Police Brutality Attorney Can Help You
If you were harmed by law enforcement, a Scranton police brutality attorney from The Zeiger Firm can help by:
- Thoroughly investigating the underlying facts and circumstances of your case, including obtaining video evidence and police records that can support your claim
- Documenting the harm and losses that you have suffered to ensure that we pursue full compensation for you
- Taking swift action so that we preserve your right to a financial recovery and do not miss any important deadlines
- Pursuing your claims at trial if necessary to vigorously defend your rights and interests as a victim of police misconduct
Evidence We May Use to Prove a Police Brutality Claim
Unfortunately, proving that you were harmed by police brutality or misconduct, rather than by the legitimate actions of officers or the reasonable use of force by officers, can be challenging. Police officers are afforded wide latitude in the course and scope of their duties. Law enforcement is also entitled to various legal immunities, including sovereign immunity and the doctrine of qualified immunity. While these immunities are intended to allow officers to reasonably perform their duties without fear of civil suit, they do not protect officers from clear misconduct or unlawful acts of violence.
To prove a police brutality or misconduct claim, you will need to show that officers either violated your established constitutional or civil rights, or that they used force against you clearly disproportionate to the level of threat that you posed to the officers or the public. You will also need to show that you suffered injuries and losses due to police misconduct or brutality. Many law enforcement departments will try to avoid liability for police brutality by arguing that a suspect was not injured in police custody.
Examples of the kinds of evidence that we might use to prove your right to recover compensation for police misconduct or brutality in Scranton include:
- Police cruiser dashcam footage
- Police officer bodycam footage
- Eyewitness and bystander statements
- Cellphone videos
- Police records and officer statements
- Photographs of injuries you suffered due to brutality or misconduct
- Medical records from the treatment of your injuries
- The employment and disciplinary records of the officers engaged in misconduct or brutality against you
Talk to a Police Brutality Lawyer in Scranton Today
If you have been the victim of police brutality in Scranton, contact Attorney Brian J. Zeiger today for a free and confidential consultation about your case. We will be ready to help you understand your rights and legal options. Our goal will be to help you get the answers and accountability you deserve, so call us or reach out to us online now.