Police Misconduct

Use of Deadly Force Claims

You must have an experienced lawyer in this area of the law who has significant resources to pursue these claims. For example, you will need at least a deadly force expert, an aerial photographer, an incident-scene reconstruction expert, a blood splatter expert, an expert to examine the entry and exit wounds as well as the body in question. That costs thousands of dollars. These cases are fact-specific, so just because a person shot by the police had a weapon does not mean you lose your case. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 11, 105 S. Ct. 1694, 1701, 85 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1985). And just because the person shot ultimately did not have a weapon doesn’t mean you will win your case. These cases depend extensively on a close analysis of the facts, and that cannot happen without an in-depth understanding of the law. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 386, 109 S. Ct. 1865, 1866, 104 L. Ed. 2d 443 (U.S. 1989).

The Supreme Court has stated that “[b]ecause [t]he test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application…” its proper application requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. See Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S., at 8–9, 105 S.Ct., at 1699–1700 (the question is “whether the totality of the circumstances justifie[s] a particular sort of ... seizure.”) Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396, 109 S. Ct. 1865, 1872, 104 L. Ed. 2d 443 (U.S. 1989).

The test for the use of deadly force is based on a complex and vague term: reasonableness. But one thing is for sure according to the law: Reasonableness is an objective test that does not consider subjective standards. So, an officer could theoretically shoot a person because he was angry or even hated that person, but if that same officer could articulate a reasonable basis for shooting that person—a basis that’s supported by objective facts—then, the law protects said officer. You must hire an experienced attorney.

Call our constitutional lawyers today. Our civil and human rights attorneys have the resources and experience to help you gain justice, which is not about money many times. We always seek to hold officers who unlawfully use deadly force, criminally accountable.

False Arrest Claims

False arrest cases are equally as hard as deadly force cases, if not harder. Take a look at what the Supreme Court has said: "The Fourth Amendment is not violated by an arrest based on probable cause, even though the wrong person is arrested, Hill v. California, 401 U.S. 797, 91 S.Ct. 1106, 28 L.Ed.2d 484 (1971), nor by the mistaken execution of a valid search warrant on the wrong premises.” In addition to that, many have heard of the phrase ‘probable cause’ to arrest. And many know that probable cause can be based merely on the self-serving statement of a witness if found to be credible. Well the law is actually tougher than that. An officer can arrest you and get away with that arrest if he or she merely has arguable probable cause to arrest you. That means if it is arguable that probable cause existed, the arrest meets constitutional muster. Lee v. Ferraro, 284 F.3d 1188, 1195 (11th Cir. 2002).

Call our constitutional lawyers today. Our civil and human rights attorneys are waiting.