Police misconduct is certainly a hot button topic in New York and the entire United States right now. With terms like police brutality, excessive force, and false arrest flying around, we at the Law Offices of Ronemus & Vilensky want to address some of these terms.
What is a false arrest? Some people believe it is when someone tries to perform a citizen’s arrest or even is just a joke. But false arrests can be quite serious.
A false arrest is when a police officer or other officer of the law arrests or detains any person without the actual legal authority to do so. Once the person is in custody, the false arrest becomes false imprisonment, which is also illegal. You cannot be arrested, held, or detained without justification.
Being arrested can be a very scary and traumatizing experience, especially if you are innocent. Victims of false arrest may be able to sue the police for damages for your pain and suffering.
Physical force, or police brutality or even excessive force, is not required for false arrest or imprisonment to occur.
What if I am arrested for something I didn’t do or without cause?
If this is the case, you may be able to sue the police for false arrest. Make sure you contact a false arrest attorney in New York City right away to learn if you have a case and to get the justice you deserve.
Here are the three things you must be able to prove when filing a claim of false arrest:
- The detention must have occurred willfully
- You can not have consented to the detention
- The detention must have been unlawful
Police are not all-powerful and they can make mistakes. Being in a position of power and authority, the police must be held to the highest standards of conduct, with swift penalties if laws are broken.
A false arrest goes against an American’s right against unreasonable search and seizure, as stated by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Police officers must have reasonable cause to arrest people, though they do not always need a warrant, such as if they physically see a crime happening. This means that to prove a false arrest happened, we must show that according to the standards of a “reasonable person,” the officer did not have probable cause to make the arrest.
Police overreach in any area can not and should not be tolerated. They are as bound to the Constitution as any other American citizen. False arrest is a serious issue that should be discussed. If it leads to false imprisonment, which it often can, even a short imprisonment can have a significant impact on a person’s life and reputation in their community.
Cases We Have Recently Won:
- Our client, a 20 year-old car mechanic in the Bronx who suffered from Asperger’s syndrome, was with a group of his friends in a shopping center parking lot testing out his car. His car’s engine backfired and the police thought he had fired a gun. When he saw the police cars heading toward him, our client drove to a TGI Friday’s parking area with security cameras. The police officers approached him with their guns drawn, waited until he was out of the car with his hands up, and then beat him and kicked him in his head and body while he was on the ground. Even though they realized that he had no gun, and that it was indeed his car that made the noise, they held him for more than an hour and released him with multiple tickets. Because of the violent beating, our client sustained multiple injuries, including a concussion affecting his memory and two lumbar disc injuries which has caused permanent spinal damage. He eventually lost his job due to his inability to function from his injuries and was later diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome from a traumatic brain injury. The City offered our client $150k, which we said was unacceptable. We took the case to trial, where they claimed our client resisted arrest and that they used reasonable force. After viewing the video, the jury awarded our client $2.3 million.
- Our client was arrested in September 2003 on charges of alleged rape after a 13-year-old girl claimed she was raped by three men in an apartment after being blindfolded and transported there by her cousin. When shown photos of potential suspects, the girl selected our client and two other co-defendants as the three men who raped her. Over the course of two years, our client maintained his innocence, turned down several pleas, and participated in DNA testing which ultimately did not indicate any evidence of rape. Before our client was arrested, the chief detective working on the case picked up the girl’s cousin, who told the detective that she was admitted to a local hospital at the time the rape allegedly occurred, and that her cousin’s rape story was “nonsense.” The detective told the cousin she would arrest her unless she admitted to taking the victim to the apartment. Fearing for her own safety, the cousin went along with what the detective told her to say. In October 2005, all charges against our client were dropped. He hired us and we obtained the evidence proving that the girl’s cousin was indeed an inpatient at a local hospital during the week of the purported rape incident. This proved, as the cousin stated, that the detective forced her to lie about the events. As a result, we sued the officers involved, as well as the City of New York assistant district attorneys who handled the case, for false arrest, malicious prosecution and civil rights claims. We secured a $1 million settlement for our client.
Lawsuits alleging false arrest or false imprisonment depend on each individual situation and circumstances. If you are innocent, you deserve restitution for being arrested without cause, especially if you were injured or restrained for a long amount of time during the process.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of false arrests, you must contact an experienced and compassionate false arrest lawyer in New York City. It is important to have someone who understands national and state laws pertaining to the police and the legalities involved in police overreach.