Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Act of 1871 is codified in Title 42, Section 1983 of The United States Code (42 U.S.C. §1983).

It essentially protects any citizen of the United States from being deprived of constitutional rights and privileges by the government or any government-related entity. To prevail in a civil rights action under §1983, a plaintiff must establish: (1) that defendants deprived decedent of a right secured by the constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) that such deprivation was committed by person(s) acting under color of state law.

Officially promulgated ordinances, regulations and departmental directives give rise to municipal liability under section 1983 if such policies and decisions lead to a deprivation of constitutional rights. Municipalities are liable under section 1983 for de facto policies or practices which engender constitutional deprivation; informal actions, if they reflect general policy, custom, practice or pattern of official conduct which even tacitly encourage conduct depriving individuals of their constitutional rights satisfies section 1983 standards.

Excessive force-also known as police misconduct or police brutality-is when police misuse their legal power during routine car stops, questioning, or any other law enforcement pursuits. While Officers are here to protect and serve the public, they are also required to uphold the constitution and use appropriate force when they investigate crimes. When law enforcement cross the line of duty and violate an individual’s constitutional rights, they can be subject to civil liability for their actions. Below are some examples of police misconduct:

  • Racial profiling
  • Making False Arrests Using excessive force
  • Surveillance Abuse
  • Assault
  • Verbal Attacks
  • Abuse of Legal Power
  • Corruption and Bribes

Stereotyping is used by police to ensure their safety as well as others, yet at times these stereotypes are too extreme. Stereotyping can be overlooked leading to prejudice and bias based on many areas including gender, race, religion, disability, and sexual orientation.

We have successfully represented individuals who’s civil rights have been violated by the New York City Police Department, as well as individuals who have been mistreated in places of public accommediations such as department stores, hotels, restaurants, and the like.