Legal Options for Victims of Police Misconduct in Minnesota
If you or someone you love has been the victim of police misconduct in Minnesota, you may need to secure an experienced attorney to help you. While most police officers in our society do their jobs with honor, dignity, and courage, there are times when some of them violate the rights of the citizens that are supposed to protect. Police misconduct is illegal, and you may be entitled to compensation for any wrongdoing that has happened to you.
What Does Police Misconduct Look Like?
Defining police misconduct is not easy, and it can take many different forms. Below are some of the ways that officers can abuse their authority.
- Illegal searches and seizures. Per the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, everyone has the right against unlawful searches and seizure of their property. Police officers are allowed to seize any illegal objects or substances that are in plain sight, but they cannot go searching for things without probable cause.
- Probable cause. Law enforcement officers are allowed to stop and ask people simple questions. However, without probable cause, they cannot do anything more than that. They cannot stop and frisk you or pat down your articles of clothing without probable cause. They also cannot search your vehicle, enter your premises, or arrests a suspect without probable cause. This is a tougher burden to reach than “reasonable suspicion.”
- Malicious Prosecution. This can include officers singling out and unjustly pursuing someone for criminal activity. Each step an officer makes should be reasonable and well-documented. When law enforcement officers attempt to single out a single person to “try to find something” to arrest them fore, they are practicing malicious prosecution.
- Excessive force. This refers to a situation in which a law enforcement official who is legally entitled to use force exceeds the minimum amount of force necessary to diffuse an incident. This can take the form of striking, choking, tasing, and firearm use against a person suspected of breaking the law.
Other types of police misconduct include officers coercing people to do what they want, sexual misconduct, and fraud.
What Kind of Compensation is Available for these Cases?
Police misconduct can lead to severe physical, emotional, and psychological damages for its victims. When a person of authority, someone the public should be able to trust, violates their duty, they should be held accountable for their actions.
You may be entitled to various damages if you were the victim of police misconduct. This can include coverage of your medical expenses and lost wages if you were injured due to excessive force. You could also be entitled to pain and suffering damages, emotional distress damages, as well as your court costs and legal fees.
In these cases, you should contact a southern Minnesota personal injury attorney immediately. While there are official processes in place within most police departments for reporting misconduct, the reality is that these systems are not weighted in favor of the victims. You may even be pressured by police supervisors not to file any complaints or charges. You may even be told the investigation turned up no evidence of misconduct. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through this process.