Most police officers are trustworthy and are putting their lives on the line every day to save lives and protect people. However, there are a few New York CIty Police Department (NYPD) officers who have been caught on camera using excessive force, threatening people, coercing confessions, and even misusing police canines. These are all examples of police brutality. NYC alone has spent in excess of $500 million to settle these civil cases brought against the NYPD in the last five years.
Citizens trust that police officers are there to protect and serve the public, so when a police officer misuses their power or authority, or denies someone their Constitutional rights, they need to be held accountable. When they cross the line, they can be subject to civil liability.
Unfortunately, our legal system still tends to err on the side of the police officers and it can feel like they rarely do face consequences for their actions. But with the rise in number of body cameras, use of surveillance cameras, and dashboard cameras it becomes no longer about a victim’s word against a police officer’s word.
Examples of excessive force and police brutality include:
- Racial profiling
- Making False Arrests
- Surveillance Abuse
- Verbal Attacks
- Abuse of Legal Power
- Corruption and Bribes
- Malicious Prosecution
According to Legal Dictionary, “Malicious Prosecution” is defined as “An action for damages brought by one against whom a civil suit or criminal proceeding has been unsuccessfully commenced without probable cause and for a purpose other than that of bringing the alleged offender to justice.”
Or to put it more simply, if you have been arrested without probable cause, the process leading up to your first appearance in front of a judge is considered a false arrest. Once you have faced a judge, the procedure that follows is considered malicious prosecution. The law is very specific about this in both civil and criminal matters, which is why it is important that you contact an attorney who is experienced in protecting your civil rights.
If you or someone you know was a victim of being arrested under false pretenses or without probable cause, you must contact a police brutality attorney or false arrest lawyer, because it can be a complicated matter. Malicious compliance is a tort action, which is filed in civil court to recover money damages for certain harm that has been suffered.
For example, if the case against you is dismissed by either the court or prosecutor, you could have a case for malicious prosecution, but if you enter a “guilty” plea, a “no contest” plea, or a agree to a settlement, you usually do not have a case for malicious prosecution.
Here are the four things a plaintiff must prove to be true in order to establish malicious prosecution in New York City. All four must be true:
- There must have been an initial criminal proceeding against the plaintiff
- That proceeding was terminated in the plaintiff’s favor
- The original claim lacked probable cause
- The original claim was brought out of malice
You may have heard about malicious prosecution when it has been used as a direct response to false accusations of domestic abuse, but it is also used in the case of false arrest or imprisonment. In these cases, the district attorney is not held liable and is not included in the claim. The police are responsible for any damages if a case is prosecuted against someone falsely accused.
Compensation for Malicious Prosecution Can Cover:
- Mental suffering and damages
- Pain and discomfort
- Loss of reputation and credibility
- Any health issues that arise
- Loss of time
- Lost wages from being out of work
- Deprivation to society
- Legal fees
Malicious prosecution claims can also seek punitive damages, which can be awarded to you both to punish the responsible party and to serve as a warning to others who might act in a similar way to other victims. Punitive damages are the monetary compensation that are awarded to an injured party that goes beyond that which is necessary to compensate the person for losses.
The usual terms that characterize conduct justifying these damages include bad faith, fraudulent, malicious, oppressive, outrageous, violent, wanton, wicked, and reckless. These terms are aggravating circumstances typically referring to situations in which the defendant acted intentionally, maliciously, or with utter disregard for the rights and interests of the plaintiff.
If you are a victim of excessive force, false arrest, and/or malicious prosecution by the NYPD, you need an experienced New York City police misconduct or police brutality lawyer who will stand up for your rights. These cases are incredibly nuanced and complex under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, codified in Title 42, Section 1983 of The United States Code (42 U.S.C. §1983). You must speak to an attorney who has successfully brought cases of police brutality to court and won in order to understand your rights and have justice served.
Contact the Law Office of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas for a free consultation and to speak to a qualified and compassionate malicious compliance lawyer in New York City.