Police Misconduct

Police misconduct can be the result of intentional, negligent or reckless conduct that breaches the officer’s duty to faithfully execute the laws of New York and results in injury. The injury may not always be physical in nature, but may include humiliation in the community, lost work, lost job opportunities and false confinement, in addition to any physical injuries. Victims of police misconduct may recover their damages from the municipality that employed the officer, and may sometimes seek recovery against the officer, individually. Note that the rules that apply to suing a New York municipality apply to police misconduct claims, as well.

Examples: Inappropriate police conduct includes a variety of circumstances.

  • Reckless Driving: Police officers are entitled to speed through traffic and pass red lights when en route to an emergency. However, the police may not be reckless in doing so. If a person is injured because a police officer did not use warning lights and/or siren or otherwise drove recklessly, the person may recover for his injuries.
  • False Arrest: When a police officer arrests and detains a person without probable cause or questions a person without reasonable suspicion, the officer has violated the victim’s civil rights, and the person may recover damages.
  • False or Excessive Imprisonment: When a police officer arrests and detains a person without probable cause, the officer has violated the victim’s civil rights, and the person may recover damages. The same is true if the police detain a person for an excessive period of time, given the circumstances.
  • Excessive Force/Brutality: Police officers are permitted to use necessary force to carry out their duties. When police officers use excessive force, by for example, hitting or beating a compliant or already subdued suspect, the victim can recover damages. Other examples of excessive force include shooting at an unarmed individual, unnecessary use of taser guns or pepper sprays, assaults, racial profiling.
  • Wrongful Death in Police Custody: If a person is detained, and the police act negligently during the detention, and that results in a prisoner’s death, the prisoner’s representatives may recover for wrongful death. In one notable case, the police detained a diabetic for over 40 hours without administering insulin despite the fact the police knew he was insulin dependent. After release, the man collapsed and died from the lack of insulin. The victim’s estate recovered for wrongful death.

I am a victim of police misconduct:

Seek medical attention
Document your claim
Your time to sue is limited; contact an experienced personal injury lawyer

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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