The Atlanta Injury News Blog

How to File a Police Brutality Lawsuit

Filing a police brutality lawsuit is sometimes the only way that victims can be compensated for the abuse inflicted on them by law enforcement.

If you feel that you have been the victim of police brutality, these steps can help you file a suit for your injuries:

1. Gather Evidence.

Police brutality can take many forms including, but not limited to:

  • Excessive force,
  • Deadly force (shooting to kill), and
  • Racial slurs and verbal abuse.

For each of those types of brutality, you need to produce evidence that will prove your emotional and physical injuries at trial, such as:

  • Medical records. These will prove the extent of your injuries and help the court or jury determine how much you need to be compensated.
  • Police reports. You have the right to request any police report in person for any incident in which you were named a suspect. This report may not only help you jog your memory, but will also give you a record of what the police claim happened.
  • Witnesses. If anyone saw or heard officers physically or verbally assaulting you, you will need to get their story (recorded if possible) and subpoena them once after your case is filed.

2. Consider Suing in Federal Court.

Although you may sue in state court for assault or negligence on the part of the police, you may also sue in federal court under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act.

Under Section 1983, you can sue a police officer, their supervisors, or the city for violations of your constitutional rights, including:

  • Attacks by an officer. It is a violation of the Fourth Amendment for an officer to unreasonably touch you without probable cause. Being shot at or tased by an officer is a "seizure" under the Fourth Amendment.
  • Failure to read Miranda rights. When the police do not give you your Miranda warnings and then question you, they may have violated your Fifth Amendment rights.
  • Slurs and verbal attacks. This kind of foul language from police officers can rise to the level of a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection violation.

3. Discuss Your Case With an Attorney.

Start by contacting an Atlanta personal injury attorney for an initial consultation.

After reviewing your evidence, your attorney will give you her evaluation on the strengths and weaknesses of your case and how you might proceed with filing your police brutality lawsuit.

Related Resources: