Can I Take a Picture of Police Making an Arrest?

Can I take a picture of Police Making an Arrest?

For certain the answer is yes. The issue is what will the police officers do to you once they see you taking the picture, and what remedy you have against the police? There are two separate actions the police can take that may be actionable. If they assault you and/or break your camera. If they can arrest you for something.

If the police assault you, you have a claim for excessive force against the officers.

If the police arrest you, you have a claim for malicious prosecution.

In either instance, you may have a Monell Claim, that the police are failing to train their officers that people can photograph them arresting people.

I would guess the most common claim for these cases is some type of malicious prosecution where the plaintiff is being charged with disorderly conduct and winds up beating the case. The problem is that for a disorderly conduct only, the case is probably not worth much money. However, an Order from a judge directing the police to better train the officers on photographs and a cash award would be a very good outcome.


Police Brutality Attorney

What to do if You are Victim of Police Brutality

Violent or abusive encounters with law enforcement officers can be traumatizing. Not only do victims suffer injury at the hands of police officers, but often find themselves arrested and stuck in jail for some time afterward. It is not surprising that these encounters can leave victims upset, in pain, and wanting justice.

The law allows you to file a legal claim against the officer who wrongfully abused you. However, there are some steps you can take to increase the chances of prevailing on your claim and holding the officer responsible.

Seek medical treatment – As soon as you are able, you should go to the emergency department or to your doctor for a full medical evaluation. A timely evaluation will allow a medical professional to document your injuries and connect those injuries with your recent encounter with police. The resulting medical records can be used as evidence to prove the nature, severity, and apparent cause of your injuries in a later police brutality legal claim.

Document your recollections – Violent incidents with law enforcement officers are often emotionally difficult and you may begin to forget or misremember details about the incident. You should write down everything that you remember as soon as possible after the encounter. These notes can later assist you if you need to testify to the events in court.

Collect witness information – If there are any witnesses to the encounter, you should always get their names so your attorney can contact them. Eyewitness testimony is often valuable in police brutality cases, especially if you and the witness did not previously know each other. Additionally, in this technological age, witnesses may have recorded the encounter on their smart phone. Video evidence is extraordinarily helpful since the jury will be able to see exactly what happened without having to rely on witness testimony.

Contact a Philadelphia police brutality attorney as soon as possible

Victims of police brutality can experience significant physical and emotional trauma and may be eligible for significant financial compensation under federal law. While suing the police may seem intimidating, doing so with the assistance of an experienced police brutality attorney can make the process easier. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call The Zeiger Firm today at (215) 546-0340

police brutality case

What makes a good police brutality case?

Potential clients always ask me, “What makes a good police brutality case?” Damages. Good damages makes a good police brutality case.

I have clients all the time tell me about some of the most outrageous police conduct. Then I ask, “what is your worst injury?” The answer to that question that controls how much your case is worth.

I recently had a potential client tell me how the police beat her until she was almost unconscious. They struck her multiple times while she was cuffed, etc. She went to the hospital. I asked her, “what was the single worst injury you suffered?” Her reply, “I had bruises all over my body and the doctor gave me an advil.” That case isn’t so great because there is no way the police officers beat her the way she claimed and she only has those injuries. If the police really hit her that many times, her injuries would be far more severe. In her case, damages can be used to make out liability. Without the injuries, the other side will defend liability based on damages. Not such a great case.

In another case, a potential client told me that he got into an argument with a police officer and the officer hit him one time in the face with a closed fist, then tased him while he was on the ground. The officer arrest him for disorderly conduct, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest. The client was in a coma and had four broken bones. The criminal case was withdrawn by the DAs office. That is a good police brutality case.

What I have written is not the end all be all. There are many situations where my client has no physical injury at all and they have a great cases. We have been very successful on false imprisonment and malicious prosecution cases where there is no physical injury at all. Look at the conduct of the police officer and analyze the result.

Police Brutality FAQ

FAQs Regarding Police Brutality Claims

Q. What is considered to be police brutality?

A. Police brutality occurs when law enforcement officers use unnecessary or excessive force when dealing with a member of the public. Such force may include improper use of a stun gun or taser, unjustified shooting, police dog attacks, intentional assaults and related cover-ups, and more. In addition to unnecessary violence during a police encounter, brutality can also include false arrest, sexual assault, verbal abuse, abuse of prison inmates, or other misconduct.

Q. Who are the most common victims of police brutality?

A. While the media often focuses on racial minorities as victims of police brutality, the reality is that anyone can be a victim. Brutality happens to all races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, and more. Even children have been victims of police brutality. This goes to show that there does not have to be racial profiling or prejudice at work for brutality to occur.

Q. What type of case do I have if I am the victim of police brutality?

A. Like other types of personal injury cases, claims for police brutality are filed in civil court. You may file your claim in state court or in federal court under 42 U.S. Code § 1983,1 which provides relief for the violation of your civil rights.

Q. What if my loved one was killed by police or prison guards?

A. If you have tragically lost a loved one due to unlawful and unjustified force by police or prison guards, you have the legal right to recover by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. Pennsylvania wrongful death2 laws allow a parent, child, or spouse of a deceased victim to recover for their losses.

Q. What should I do if I believe I have been a victim of police brutality?

A. Like other types of injury-related cases, there are certain steps that you should take to increase your chances of recovery in a legal claim. If possible, you should obtain the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. Also, you should write down your version of events as soon as possible so you do not forget any important details. Next, take photos of any visible signs of injuries you sustained, such as contusions or lacerations. Make sure to undergo a full medical evaluation as soon as possible so a medical professional can officially document all injuries in your medical records. All of this can serve as evidence to help prove your police brutality claim. Read More.

Finally, you should always contact a Philadelphia attorney who has experience with police brutality and misconduct cases. Taking on a police officer or department in court is not a simple task, and it is important to be represented by a lawyer who understands the legal issues involved in this type of claim. If you or a loved one has been the victims of police brutality, please call The Zeiger Firm at 215-546-0340 for assistance today.



Naming the Defendant in a Police Brutality Case

Naming the Defendant in a Police Brutality Case

I was assaulted by police officers. They stopped me for no reason. They held me on the scene and I asked them why I was stopped. One of the cops punched me in the face and told me to shut the fuck up. I asked him why he was such a coward that he had to hit me. He then broke my arm by taking me to the ground and stomping me. I told him to go fuck himself. Right after that, another patrol car pulled up with someone who was not a police officer in the back seat. That person was a civilian. She shook her head no when she was looking at me. The officers told me I was free to leave.

I never got the officer’s name who punched me and broke my arm. I want to sue him. How can I do that without knowing his name or badge number? Is naming the defendant in a police brutality case difficult?

You have to file in federal court. In federal court, you file your complaint against John Doe. You have 120 days under FRCP 15 to relate back your initial claim to the day you filed it with the proper names. The lawyers for the city of the police that you sued must provide you with the names of the police offers by the Rule 16 conference. Therefore, you will get the name of the correct officer to sue.

The real problem comes up when you file your complaint at the statute of limitations. In that case, if you do not file your amended complaint within 120 days of the day of your initial complaint, there is no way to fix it, so be sure you get that Rule 16 conference scheduled ASAP.

There is a way to attempt to get the name in state court. Its tricky. I have only been successful at it once. In Pennsylvania state court in naming the defendant in a police brutality case, you simply file a writ of summons against the city or township you are suing and send an interrogatory asking the name of all of the officers who were involved. If they don’t answer, you file a discovery motion to force them to give it to you. Once you get the answer, you file your complaint. Be careful with this approach and make sure you file your writ of summons way before the statute of limitations runs.