Tampa Civil Rights Lawyer
Americans have a Fourth Amendment right to not be searched or seized unreasonably. Unfortunately, as anyone who follows the news can attest, police and other government officials regularly violate the law. In particular, many officers use unnecessary force when arresting or detaining an individual. At the O’Mara Law Group, our Tampa civil rights lawyers proudly represent individuals who have suffered serious injuries due to police violence. All citizens should be treated with respect, and the law provides important remedies when state actors violate the law.
Section 1983 is an important civil rights law—perhaps the most important. Found at 42 USC § 1983, it provides a remedy whenever a state actor deprives individuals of their civil rights. Those victimized by the police or other government officials can sue for money damages as a form of compensation. Section 1983 is one of the primary mechanisms for holding government officials, especially the police, accountable.
However, Section 1983 is a very complicated law. Certain issues arise in many cases, such as whether the person who used force was a “state actor” covered by the statute. Police officers also are entitled to “qualified immunity” even when they violate someone’s civil rights so long as the right is not “clearly established.” In other words, the law allows police some leeway when making an arrest or interacting with the public due to the fast-changing nature of many encounters. Nevertheless, when they clearly violate a person’s rights, they can be sued in federal court.
Civil Rights Claims
Civil rights law is very broad, and we encourage anyone who thinks they might have a claim to contact our office. Our team has seen many common examples of police brutality, including:
- Shooting unarmed and non-threatening suspects
- Punching, kicking, and shooting handcuffed suspects
- Excessive force against peaceful protestors
- Inappropriate use of pepper spray or other chemicals
- Police dog attacks without any warning
- Violence from correctional employees in institutional settings
- Sexual assault against prison inmates, including inappropriate searches
Police may use “reasonable” force when carrying out their duties. However, some officers have a “shoot first, find out the facts later” approach, which is a disservice to the public. Many people who are no immediate threat to the police suffer grievous injuries which warrant compensation with a Section 1983 claim.
Why Experience Matters
Those who suffer at the hands of aggressive police officers are often portrayed unsympathetically in the media. Jurors sometimes see them as “criminals” who get what they deserve and refuse to award fair compensation regardless of the evidence presented at trial. Sometimes judges even unfairly analyze factual disputes in such a way that favors the police.
These are all reasons to obtain skilled representation when bringing your claim. The right attorney should understand all wrinkles in the law and be able to marshal the facts in a favorable manner.
Call a Tampa Civil Rights Attorney Today
Civil rights violations tear at the fabric of society and should not be tolerated. If you have suffered a deprivation of your rights, please contact the O’Mara Law Group today. Our team has the skills and experience necessary to hold government officials accountable, and we are pleased to discuss your options in a free, confidential consultation.