Police officers, like all law enforcement authorities, are legally and duty-bound to treat all persons equally and not to discriminate due to a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or other distinguishing characteristics. The New York civil rights attorneys at Manhattan’s Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C. are dedicated to exposing NYPD discrimination and holding law enforcement officers accountable for their misconduct. If your civil rights were violated by the NYPD, you may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation, including punitive damages, to send a loud and clear message that this kind of abusive behavior will not be tolerated.
What constitutes police discrimination?
A police officer can stop an individual for a brief and cursory holding and questioning if the officer has a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The holding period must be no longer than is necessary, and the officer must use the least intrusive means available to investigate the suspicious activity. The officer cannot arrest a person without a probable cause for that arrest.
The standards for what constitutes “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause” are not sharply defined. If you believe that an officer stopped you, for example, solely on account of your skin color or ethnic background, the officer will likely offer a contrary explanation that includes a rationale for the stop.
Patterns of misconduct can help demonstrate police discrimination
If the officer who allegedly committed the act of discrimination has a personnel file that includes multiple reports of discriminatory conduct, it will show a pattern of behavior that will help substantiate your case.
In New York City, reports of police discrimination are filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (the “CCRB”). Before submitting your report to the CCRB, contact Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green. We can assess the circumstances of your discrimination case and advise you on how best to proceed, from filing a CCRB report to initiating a civil rights lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit for police officer discrimination
You should contact a knowledgeable and experienced civil rights lawyer if you believe that you have been subjected to harassment by police solely because of your race or other class characteristics. This includes:
- False arrests or unreasonably long periods of detention;
- Excessive use of force;
- Abusive surveillance with no suspicion of criminal activity;
- Demands or suggestions for bribes; and
- Verbal abuse or attacks that refer to a person’s race or ethnicity.
Police officers have a level of qualified immunity to civilian complaints. To overcome this immunity and to bring a successful lawsuit for police discrimination, the victim should record details of the incident and get the names and contact information for any witnesses.
Civil Rights Attorneys for Victims of Police Discrimination
A victim of actionable police discrimination has a right to sue the officer and that officer’s employer both in State and Federal Court. If you were treated unfairly by the NYPD based on your race, gender, or sexual orientation, please call us today to discuss your case directly with a civil rights attorney New York City trusts to fight relentlessly for equality and justice. We are not afraid to go up against the NYPD and the City when law enforcement personnel abuse their authority and the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect. All initial consultations are free.