Bronx Attorneys Representing Victims of Civil Rights Violations in New York City
At the Jesse Minc Personal Injury Law, we advocate for the rights of people who have suffered civil rights violations at the hands of police officers and other officials throughout the New York City area, whether this involves false imprisonment, a wrongful arrest, a serious car accident involving a police or other government vehicle, or any other situation in which the government causes physical harm in an unjust manner. Our team of Bronx civil rights lawyers have received honors from their peers that place them at the top of their fields, and will put their talents behind you and your family if you have been injured. We are very selective in the cases that we take in order to make certain that each of our clients receives the individual attention and financial resources that their case needs to be successful in court. Our clients, therefore, have a direct line to their attorneys, and are given their lawyer’s cell phone number to ensure that questions are answered promptly, unlike with many other law firms. Your case will not be handled primarily by assistants or paralegals, but by your attorney directly; you will not find yourself rerouted to support staff when you have questions about substantive issues in your case, but will always have the ear of your lawyer to inform you about these important matters. If we take your case, it is because we believe it is important, and we treat our clients in a manner reflective of this belief. Our commitment to our clients shows in our 95 percent rate of success in obtaining compensation through jury awards and settlements among the cases that we accept into our firm.
Every person in New York City and throughout the United States is entitled to certain civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. These include a right to be free of harassment and abuse by law enforcement. Policing is a dangerous and necessary job, but its purpose is to protect the public; when government officials, especially police officers, betray the trust of the community and cause injuries to citizens, the injured citizen has a right to be compensated for the harm done to them. Living in a free society means holding police officers accountable when they exceed their authority and misuse the power that comes with the privilege of the badge. Excessive force and other abuses of police authority can cause severe injuries or death, not to mention the indignation of feeling helpless and violated at the hands of the government. Claims for civil rights violations allow individuals to hold the government accountable when its agents go too far in the course of their official duties.
False Imprisonment Claims Under the Constitution and State Law
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution state that the government cannot deprive a person of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Police in the Bronx and elsewhere in New York City have the authority to place a person under arrest and take them into custody only when they have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a criminal offense. Similar to a wrongful arrest claim, a false imprisonment claim is based on violations of due process rights that occur when someone is detained against their will without legal justification. In fact, it is not only agents of the government who can be sued for false arrest; private parties such as security guards and their employers can also be sued for false imprisonment where they detain someone against their will in a wrongful and harmful way.
Under New York law, false imprisonment can be both a criminal charge and a civil claim. The criminal offense, defined in Article 135 of the New York Penal Law, involves the intentional restraint of another person without their consent, such as by physically confining them or by using threats or intimidation to keep them restrained. The police, or private persons such as security guards, can violate this important rule, and be held accountable in a civil lawsuit for money damages if they do so.
The civil claim of false imprisonment seeks to hold a person liable for injuries or death resulting from an act of unlawful restraint. The claim is not limited to acts by police officers, although claims against the police are very common species of false impronment claims. A plaintiff must establish that a defendant intended to confine or restrain them, that the plaintiff did not consent, that the plaintiff was aware of the confinement or restraint, and that the restraint or confinement lacked legal authority or justification. Anybody whose unlawful conduct meets this test can be sued for false imprisonment in New York State.
False imprisonment claims against police may arise from physical confinement in a room, a police car, or a jail cell, as well as situations in which a person is denied the ability to move from a location because of an express or implied threat from an officer. Due process rights are violated when the continued restraint lacks legal justification. It is important to know that, even though the constitutional aspect of this type of legal claim is limited to cases against government actors, non-government actors such as security guards can still be guilty of violating State law prohibitions against this type of conduct if their actions in falsely imprisoning someone cause that person harm.
A common example of a false imprisonment claim against a non-government defendant involves a retail store and a suspected shoplifter. Detaining someone suspected of shoplifting in the manager’s office for a few minutes might not lead to liability for false imprisonment, since that is arguably reasonable and necessary for investigating whether the person was a shoplifter. If the store manager locked the suspected shoplifter in a storage closet for several hours, however, that person might have a viable claim for false imprisonment. Our lawyers are standing by to help you understand your rights if you have been the victim of false imprisonment, whether by the government or anybody else. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn what your rights may be.
Speak to a Civil Rights Lawyer in the Bronx About Your Legal Options
As a client of the Jesse Minc Personal Injury Law, you will have access to a team of highly skilled attorneys, experienced investigators, and other professionals. We have a retired NYPD detective on our staff who investigates claims, locates witnesses, and obtains evidence. We also regularly consult with former police officers on matters involving police procedures and policies; these former police officers serve as expert witnesses in support of our false imprisonment cases, and are a valuable asset to our clients and to our attorneys in the prosecution of these cases. Your free, no-obligation initial consultation with our firm includes a preliminary investigation of your claims. If you become our client, we will investigate and prepare your case at no up-front cost to you. You do not need to pay us back unless and until we win your case. Our clients come from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. You can contact us today, online or at (718) 354-8000, to schedule a meeting with a member of our team to discuss an incident involving false imprisonment, unlawful discrimination, or another civil rights violation.