The American police force is in place to maintain order, and to serve and protect us. Most of the time, they do this. However, the police force is comprised of thousands of human beings. Sometimes humans are corrupt, and do things they shouldn’t, even if they wear a badge.
If you were treated wrongly by a police officer and feel like you might be a victim of police misconduct, talking to a police brutality attorney and taking action is important. You should do this both for your own personal justice, and to keep instances of police brutality few and far between. Police brutality attorneys can help uphold your legal rights and fight for your cause. Even before your first legal consultation with a police brutality attorney, you should take the following steps to ensure the best outcome in a police misconduct lawsuit:
- Know your rights with police interaction
Knowing what you are allowed to do, and what the police officer is allowed to do will help you quickly identify misconduct. If you take nothing else away from this article, we want to especially emphasize your most important right while interacting with a cop: the right to remain silent.
As the cop recites in your Miranda rights, you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. No, the situation may not be fair or even legal. You’ve probably been wronged by the officer, but saying anything beyond what you have to say (such as your name) will only be to your own damage. Pointing out the officers misconduct will most likely make them aggressive, or lead them to cover their tracks, making your case more difficult to prove. Keeping your mouth shut until you are in the presence of your police brutality attorney will help you build the best case possible and lead to the best outcome.
- Document and then document some more
Building your police misconduct case is going to be difficult if it’s all based on your foggy memory, with little evidence. The moment you have a chance, write down every single detail you can remember about your experience. Include a timeline of events, names, times, witnesses, absolutely any facts you recall. You might feel a range of emotions after you are a victim of police brutality: anger, anxiety, confusion, being overwhelmed. These emotions might impact your ability to recall specifics down the road. It is better to get it down on paper right away.
Ideally, use your phone to record the entire account. Any claim the police officer makes that you are not allowed to record them is false. Take pictures of the surroundings and any related evidence immediately. You would be surprised how small details like skidmarks on the road, and even the weather outside during your interaction, can be used to your advantage to build a case in a police misconduct claim.
- Take care of yourself
If you incurred any harm during your police brutality experience, make sure to get care immediately. If you are injured, get medical attention immediately after your police interaction. If you your situation lead to your arrest, get in touch with the criminal defense lawyer to deal with the charges against you.
This is important for your own well-being and sanity, but it is also important in your claim of police misconduct. Getting medical care will document the injuries or damage you incurred through your experience. Meeting with a criminal defense lawyer immediately will help minimize the impact of the charges against you, and show that you did your due diligence in repairing the damage right away.
- Hire a the right lawyer
Finding an attorney who specializes in police brutality is incredibly important for the success of your case. Not all attorneys like to touch police brutality issues; they involve a lot of work and you most likely can’t pay them until you’ve won the case. Not to mention, using an attorney who specializes in area of law will give you the best chance of success in your lawsuit.
Have you ever been a victim of police brutality? Do you have any other tips to share about getting justice? Please share your experience below.