The Baez Law Firm | San Antonio Lawyers and Attorneys

The Baez Law Firm | San Antonio Lawyers and Attorneys
San Antonio Lawyers and Attorneys

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What is Police Brutality

Originally, 42 USC § 1983 was created as the (Ku Klux Act of 1871, § 1). This was done so that private citizens could have a way to protect and recover from the acts of the Klan. Today, this section is the main frame of civil suits against police officers who "under color of law" are acting with excessive or unreasonable force.

Before a lawsuit is filed, there needs to be a determination as to who to sue. Since the statute does not allow vicarious liability, cities and municipalities can only be sued if they have foster a custom that indicates violations of constitutional law on its face. For example, if the city allows its cops to use Taser guns on all citizens without making some exceptions, that would be a custom that indicates violations of your rights.

On the other hand, many of these cases bring with them state causes of actions. In those cases, attorneys need to be careful that the election of remedies would not prevent them from suing the principal actors and tortfeasors. In other words, the Texas Tort and Claims Act covered under the Civil Practice and Remedies Code prevents employees from being sued if the city or municipality is a defendant in the suit, once this election of remedies has been made.

In 1983 cases, cities do not have the qualify immunity that individuals have for purposes of affirmative defense. Conversely, cities cannot be held to pay punitive damages for their actions, only compensatory damages as indicated by the statute. However, if the police officers are found to have violated your rights intentionally and with malice, then punitive damages can be sought.

If you have a police brutality case, give us a call (210) 979-9777 or visit our website. We have helped many individuals throughout Texas with their cases. Let us help you win your case.

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