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Every US citizen enjoys certain inalienable civil rights, supported under both state as well as federal laws. These civil rights are enforceable, and help protect individuals, allow them to enjoy their freedoms, and protect them against discrimination. For example, the Americans with Disability Act protects disabled persons from discrimination based on their disability.
Most of the civil rights that Americans enjoy are protected under federal law, but states also have passed their own laws that guarantee civil rights that are often very similar to those protected under federal law.
Apart from protection against discrimination, other very important civil rights include:
Unfortunately, civil rights are often not respected, and when violations occur, individuals must seek legal recourse in order to restore and protect their rights.
Have you been the victim of a civil rights violation? Call an attorney at our office today.
At our law firm, our Chicago civil rights lawyers handle violations involving the following types of cases.
The United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects individuals against illegal seizures and searches, and affords everyone protection against police misconduct. If you believe that you have been treated unfairly by a police officer, or have suffered discriminatory treatment, get in touch with an attorney at our office.
US civil laws exist to protect individual citizens from abuse, including brutality enforced by police officers. Police officers have restrictions on their powers that limit how far they can go in carrying out their duties. Legally, an officer has the right to use a certain amount of force to restrain an individual. However, if that force exceeds boundaries, and leads to bodily harm, it could translate to a violation of civil rights, and must be reported immediately.
Cases of police using force that is disproportionate to the situational need are far too common, and in many cases, lead to serious injury, disability or, even death. When excessive force has been used on an individual, resulting in bodily harm, he may have a right to a civil rights claim. Remember, in these cases, it does not matter if the police officer had reasonable grounds to use the amount of force that was used. Unreasonable force can be the basis for a civil rights claim, even if the officer did not intend to cause serious, long-term harm to the individual.
A wrongful conviction is a severe miscarriage of justice, and can mean a shattered future for the individual and his family. If you believe that your family member was wrongfully convicted on the basis of prejudice, discrimination, or as a result of misconduct by police or prosecutors, you may have the right to file a civil rights claim. Our Chicago civil rights attorneys have access to the kind of extensive legal and financial resources that are necessary in order to protect your rights, and ensure that you receive justice. We use our expertise and understanding of police and prosecutorial misconduct, false convictions, misuse of evidence, mishandling of evidence, DNA tests and other procedures to get justice for you.
An arrest, even if it lasts for just a few minutes or hours, can be a stain on your record, and can have long-term repercussions for you. Remember, an arrest could mean loss of employment potential, a disruption in your education, and other consequences. At the very least, an arrest could affect your social standing. If you were the victim of a wrongful arrest, contact a Chicago civil rights lawyer, and learn about how you can file a civil rights claim to recover monetary damages and to hold officers accountable for their actions. Civil rights claims based on false imprisonment are typically brought under the Fourth Amendment that protects individuals against illegal and unreasonable seizure.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The U.S. Constitution protects individuals against illegal or unlawful searches. Police officers cannot simply barge into a person’s workplace or home to search for evidence. Officers need a warrant, and must comply with other legal guidelines for a search to be valid. An officer’s actions during a seizure or search may also overstep the boundaries of law, or may be malicious. All of these could constitute civil rights violations.
A civil rights claim is typically filed against an individual, a group or organization. If you believe that you have the right to file a civil rights claim, it’s important to get in touch with a Chicago civil rights attorney to identify the entity that has violated your civil rights, and will be named in your claim.
There are several steps involved in filing a claim.
The process may seem long, but with a team of expert lawyers by your side to help you, will not seem as daunting. Call a Chicago civil rights attorney at our firm to schedule a free consultation, and to learn if you have grounds for a claim.
US Justice Department Sues city of Ferguson, Missouri
In 2016, the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Ferguson in Missouri, after months of investigation revealed the city’s allegedly discriminatory policies. Those investigations stemmed from the shooting of Michael Brown, who was shot fatally by a police officer.
Erik Garner Dies after Tragic Chokehold
In July 2014, New York resident Eric Garner died after an officer placed him in a chokehold that lasted approximately 15 to 19 seconds while attempting to arrest him under suspicion of selling loose cigarettes. In 2015, the Garner family reached a $5.9 million settlement with the City of New York.
Shooting of Jerame Reid
In December 2014, Jerame Reid was traveling in a car when he was pulled over by police officers. In the ensuing altercation, Reid, who was unarmed, was shot dead by the police officer. The officer later claimed that he thought Reid was reaching out for a weapon when he shot and killed him.
The Death of Freddie Gray in Custody
In 2016, unrest erupted in Baltimore after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man suffered severe spinal cord injuries while in police custody and died in the hospital. Friends and protesters took to the streets, demanding the reasons for his death.
Federal and state laws guarantee civil protections to all individuals. If you suspect that your loved one’s civil rights have been violated, call a Chicago civil rights attorney at our firm and get a free case review.