Police brutality and wrongful convictions
If you have been subjected to excessive force by police or wrongfully convicted, under some circumstances you may have a lawsuit. If actions by police officers or their employers violate the rights of a private citizen, those actions can create liability.
These claims tend to be complex and fiercely contested, so it is important to seek counsel from a civil rights lawyer soon after the event.
Actions by police including sexual assault, shootings, the use of clubs or tasers, the use of pepper spray that causes burns on the skin or eyes, and the use of racial slurs or epithets may be police brutality. The courts recognize that sometimes a use of force is necessary to protect a police officer’s safety or the safety of bystanders, but in other cases, law enforcement officers may abuse their authority and cause serious injuries to a suspect or witness. Police officers should not consider themselves above the law and are not entitled to abuse others as part of their job.
There are also, unfortunately, cases where individuals have been wrongly convicted after the police or prosecutors withheld important evidence that tended to show the innocence of a person who was on trial, and that person ended up being wrongly convicted. Conybeare Law Office attorneys have represented individuals who were wrongly convicted and incarcerated. We have recouped significant damages for them using both Michigan’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, and in federal court.
Seeking compensation for police brutality and wrongful conviction
Many police brutality and wrongful conviction claims may be brought in federal court under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. Section 1983 allows people to sue government officials, such as police officers, for a deprivation of a constitutional right or a right provided by federal statute. Government officials may be protected by qualified immunity, but if a reasonable officer would have known that their conduct was unlawful in a particular situation, it may be possible to overcome this hurdle in court. Our attorneys can help hold not only the individual officer responsible but also governments or agencies if they had enough personal involvement in a violation, allowed the violation due to gross negligence, or created a policy that allowed the violation.
A successful action against a law enforcement officer or other official under Section 1983 may entitle you to compensatory damages, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. You may also be able to recover punitive damages in cases involving gross negligence or actions that were malicious.
When to consider talking to a lawyer
Here are some situations that should prompt you to consider getting legal help:
- You or a loved one have been wrongly convicted and there may be evidence of your innocence.
- You or a loved one were injured by police.
- You have video or photos of injuries caused by police.
“Conybeare law office by and through Anne Buckleitner and Nate Harrington gave me faith in the system, that is, if you have someone who has the spirit and will to stand up for the forgotten and voiceless, then accountability is possible and obtainable. I had but all lost faith in people due to my circumstances but God sent me angel’s wrapped in two well-spoken and honest people who not only helped me fight a colossal system but also helped me fight the doubt and lack of self-worth that I had. My spirit has been renewed and I can smile and tell my daughter and son that daddy’s making a difference. I have not always been honest nor have I made all the right decisions in life which lead to my current predicament but what I can say is that Anne and Nate came into my life at a time when I was at the crossroads and these two well-spoken and caring individuals gave me the boost of energy and perspective I needed to move forward and continue to fight for what’s right. I was alone bruised, battered, and metaphorically blooded but out of nowhere, God sent me a team and family in Conybeare. I will recommend Conybeare law office’s to anyone and everyone because you are not just a client with them but your family and they fight for you as if you were their brother or sister being harmed. They fight with grit and with morals. They are winners because of their love for justice and what’s right. I trust them and so should whoever’s looking for help.”
- A client whose First Amendment & Eighth Amendment rights were violated by a prison guard in 2016. As to his First Amendment claim, the jury awarded $1 for compensatory damages and $15,000 for punitive damages. As to his Eighth Amendment claim, the jury awarded $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 for punitive damages. After the jury returned its verdict, one staff member commented to Anne and Nate that this was the highest award they had seen for a prisoner, and defense counsel indicated it was the longest he had ever had a jury deliberate in a prisoner case.