Orlando Civil Rights Attorney

Compensation for civil rights violations can be substantial, and rightfully so. No one should have to experience discriminatory treatment in a country that promises freedom and justice for all. Civil rights are human rights. The Orlando civil rights attorneys at the O’Mara Law Group are committed to protecting your civil rights and obtaining justice for you when your rights have been violated.

Civil rights form the basis of the founding of our nation and are at the core of American values. Sadly, our nation has fallen short of living up to our ideals, and American citizens and non-citizens living within our borders experience egregious violations of basic human rights every day. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that the most common civil rights violations are racially-motivated violence and color-of-law violations. Color-of-law violations occur when public employees, such as police officers, use their positions to deprive others of their civil rights.

According to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, anyone operating in an official capacity who violates the constitutional rights of another is civilly liable to the wronged party. While this law specifically addresses discriminatory treatment by public officials, a myriad of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws also protect individuals from discriminatory treatment in the private sector.

The O’Mara Law Group’s civil rights attorneys in Orlando are passionate about defending the civil rights of our clients and skilled at getting justice for victims of discriminatory treatment.

Police Brutality Cases

According to our founder Mark O’Mara, “Law enforcement believes that on the street, they are the ultimate authority. They’re not. Quite honestly, the court system still is, and we’re there to make sure that the court system has an opportunity to determine whether or not the way the cops did what they did is right.”

In Orlando, we see a significant amount of police misconduct, as is reflected in the Orlando Police Department’s score of 39 percent from PoliceScorecard.org. This score was based on the following findings:

  • Twenty-one police killings in Orlando between 2013 and 2021 revealed that black individuals were 3.1 times more likely than white people to be killed by police, and Latinx individuals were 1.2 times as likely to be killed.
  • The city of Orlando received 32 complaints about police misconduct from 2016 to 2020, 42 percent of which were ruled in favor of the civilians.
  • During the period from 2013 to 2021, there were 77,095 arrests, 53 percent of which were for low-level, nonviolent offenses. Only six percent of arrests were for violent crimes.
  • The Orlando Police Department participated in more police shootings than 89 percent of other police departments in Florida.
  • Orlando police officers used more force per arrest than 98 percent of police departments in Florida.
  • Of the 249 homicides from 2013 to 2021 in Orlando, 99 remain unsolved

Orlando’s score is the eighth worst in the state.

Bias

These statistics indicate systemic bias by the Orlando Police Department against the black community. On a national level, black men are more likely to experience the following, according to a Washington Times analysis, with statistics varying slightly from state to state:

  • More likely to be stopped
  • More likely to be searched, even though whites are more likely to have contraband
  • Longer prison terms for the same crime
  • More likely to receive the death penalty

Additionally, individuals convicted of killing a white person are more likely to receive the death penalty than those convicted of killing a black person.

Excessive Force

Excessive force occurs when officers use more force than necessary to contain a suspect or diffuse a situation. 

Examples of force include the following:

  • Chokeholds
  • Use of tasers
  • Shootings
  • Display of weapons
  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Beating with a club
  • Pistol whipping
  • Bodyweight pins
  • Rubber bullets
  • Flash grenades
  • Stun guns
  • Teargas
  • Pepper spray
  • Whips
  • Batons

Every suspect has the right to be treated fairly and reasonably by police officers. As our founder Mark O’Mara observes, 

“You should never be thrown down to the ground with your face on the ground unnecessarily. You should never be tased without a really good reason. You or your loved ones certainly should not be shot, as we have seen in dozens of videos now over the past decade, without really good reason.

“The use of a firearm by an officer should never occur unless it is the last clear chance. I understand that cops are being put in dangerous situations, but it is, after all, a voluntary job. If they’re going to do it, they still have to do it in a way that protects the people they work for, which is us. 

“And if you’ve been injured by an officer, if you have that type of concern over whether or not you were treated properly, that is what we’re here for at O’Mara Law Group.”

Sexual Misconduct

The Justice Department criminally prosecutes law enforcement officers who abuse their positions by sexually assaulting individuals in their custody. This includes police officers, probation officers, corrections officers, judges, prosecutors and other government officials while acting in an official capacity.

Being in the custody and control of a sexual perpetrator is a horrendous and intimidating experience. Victims may not know how to report such activities and may be afraid to do so. However, they may report the abuse to close friends and family members. If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual misconduct by law enforcement, we can help.

In addition to criminal prosecution, these officers and the government entities that employ them are civilly liable for the trauma and harm they cause under these circumstances. If you are a survivor of sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape by anyone in law enforcement, you have a team of advocates in the O’Mara Law Group who are ready to win you the compensation and justice you need and deserve.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment occurs when an individual is unlawfully detained against their will, such as when police officers detain individuals without probable cause. Wrongful imprisonment includes any of the following:

  • Stopped without probable cause and not allowed to leave
  • Brought into the police station and interrogated without probable cause
  • Wrongfully incarcerated for a crime you did not commit or without due process

In the event that you are wrongfully convicted of a crime, Florida § 961.06 entitles you to receive the following compensation:

  • Monetary compensation in an amount equal to the sum of $50,000 in 2008 and adjusted for inflation, for each year you were incarcerated, not to exceed $2 million dollars
  • A tuition and fees waiver for up to 120 hours at any Florida state college, university or career training center
  • Reimbursement for fines, attorney fees, penalties and court costs you paid in conjunction with the charges
  • An immediate expungement of your criminal charges from your record

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. According to the U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit, this means the Department of Corrections is prohibited from depriving inmates of their basic human rights. This means no incarcerated person should experience the following:

  • Substantial risk of harm
  • Serious medical need
  • Deliberate indifference by corrections to the inmate’s risk of harm or medical need
  • Harm as a result of an unremedied danger or medical need

Every person who is incarcerated is entitled to humane conditions without deprivation of food, clothing, shelter, medical care or safety. If you are concerned about the way your loved one is being treated during incarceration, or if you have experienced harm during incarceration, the O’Mara Law Group can help you get justice and recover substantial compensation.

You Have Rights

The power dynamics in situations where an individual’s civil rights are violated deter many victims from reporting the violations, even as they continue to adversely impact their daily lives. 

However, navigating these avenues on your own without advocacy is intimidating for many victims of discrimination. You have the right not to be discriminated against, and you have the right to stand tall when reporting these incidents. The O’Mara Law Group is prepared to stand with you so you never have to stand alone.

You May Be Entitled to Substantial Compensation

Every single civil rights violation is a serious matter that threatens to erode the rights of all individuals. Throughout the past 30-plus years, the O’Mara Law Group has seen firsthand how biased the criminal justice system is and we have worked vigorously to defend them against this systemic bias.

The U.S. government and the state of Florida have both recognized the serious nature of civil rights violations and provided substantial monetary remedies for victims of civil rights violations. 

If you have experienced unfair treatment at the hands of police or law enforcement, you may be entitled to receive significant financial compensation as an acknowledgment of the injustice and as a message to those who wish to discriminate.

If you need a civil rights attorney in Orlando, you can rest assured that the O’Mara Law Group is on your side. Our attorneys operate with compassion and concern. 

Have your rights been violated? Contact an Orlando civil rights attorney today.

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Our Orlando Office

221 NE Ivanhoe Blvd. Suite 200 Orlando, FL 32804

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