How to defend yourself against police dog misuse claims

While most people would trust in the police to treat people fairly, follow the rules, and protect and serve in the best way possible, not all officers take their oath as seriously as others. While there is plenty of trustworthy and professional police handling crime, there are others that are choosing to use excessive force against individuals.

When the police use excessive force without having a reason to do so, they are committing an act of police brutality . When involved in a situation where brutality has occurred, it is a wise decision to file a police brutality lawsuit. DeZao Law is here to help you understand your rights as a civilian.

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment is included in the Constitution and clearly states that unreasonable seizures and searches should not be performed by the police. It is one of the many rights that civilians have when dealing with the law. When a police officer attempts to search or seize property without having probable cause or a related investigatory authority to do so, they are taking advantage of their position.

If you refuse to allow the search to occur and you then become a victim of excessive force as the officers attempt to put you in handcuffs or hurt you in some way, such as wrestling you to the ground, hitting you, tazing you, or even firing a shot at you. These are the kinds of things you hear about in the news from time to time, but the use of excessive force can happen to anyone at any moment. If a situation like this has happened to you, it is only right for you to file a lawsuit against police for excessive force.

The Fourteenth Amendment

Victims of police brutality fought for their rights and the right of others to have a due process when dealing with legal situations. It is because of Brown v. Mississippi, a landmark civil rights case, that the right to due process now exists. The due process clause states that all citizens have the right to receive fair treatment throughout the judicial system, whether they are believed to be innocent or not.

No citizen should be mistreated due to their race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Because the Fourteenth Amendment was created in the late 1800s, you have a right to receive fair treatment, whether you are in the wrong or not. A police officer that uses excessive force is going against the training they received when they were in the police academy, thus opening the doors for a potential lawsuit.

Are You a Victim of Police Brutality? DeZao Law Wants to Hear From You

If you are a victim of police brutality and you believe that your rights were violated when dealing with a police officer or multiple police officers, you need to talk to a lawyer that can help you with an excessive force lawsuit.

At DeZao Law, we understand how complicated, frustrating, and scary these types of situations are for the victims, but we are here to help you. Consult with us for free by dialing 1-833-JIMHELPS. You have rights and it is important for you to stand up against the officers that chose to use excessive force on you.

How to defend yourself against police dog misuse claims

Police dogs can help authorities with many kinds of investigations, as long as officers are in control of them at all times. Just like neighborhood pets or strays, no dog’s behavior is 100% predictable. However, unlike situations where another person’s animal hurts you, suing the police is more complicated. If a police dog bites or injuries you, speak with a Long Beach dog bite attorney about your rights today.

Who Is Responsible for Police Dogs?

Liability for police dogs varies from case to case. Most often, the law enforcement agency and the dog’s immediate handlers are the most likely legal targets for responsibility. Sometimes, though, other organizations are liable, such as the city government that hires the police.

The police often have wide jurisdiction when it comes to use of force. This includes using dogs to bite and restrain someone suspected of a crime. That said, legal protections are in place to guard against excessive use of force. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, for example, prohibits the use of unnecessary force against suspects.

The basis of a damage claim against a police department for a dog bite depends on the individual case. Sometimes, for example, plaintiffs may assert the police handlers were negligent in managing their dogs. In other cases, it may be the dog’s training wasn’t adequate and is unsafe to use in the field of justice.

Someone who is not a suspect is more likely to have a case against a police dog bite. K-9 units generally have proper training, but sometimes dogs may attack someone who is not the intended target. In these cases, the innocent bystander can generally file a lawsuit against the police department. Filing a claim against a state entity, however, is different from other types of civil suits.

How Do I File a Claim Against the Police After a Dog Bite?

Filing a civil suit against the government can only occur after sending a government tort claim. Once you send the claim, you must still wait for the government to respond before filing a lawsuit. The government most often rejects claims, though on rare occasions they will accept your request for compensation. Victims can send these claims to the police department or municipality that is responsible for the police.

If you are guilty of a crime or were the suspect at the time of the bite, you may have a more difficult time pressing charges. That does not mean it is impossible, though, since the police have restrictions on how they can treat suspects. Important factors in determining your case are:

  • The nature of the crime
  • Whether you or the suspect are armed
  • If you were fleeing or resisting arrest
  • The severity of the dog bite
  • The duration of the bite
  • Whether the police could have used less force

You have a right to civil treatment by law enforcement officials. Likewise, the police have a duty to protect you and the public. Filing a suit against the police sets you up against experienced attorneys in a municipal government and is a challenging proposition. Whether you are the suspect, you deserve fair and just treatment at the hands of law enforcement, and should not be mishandled during the course of justice.

Seeking Legal Help

Police and the dogs in their charge are there to protect citizens and communities. If they’ve caused your harm, especially if you aren’t the person for whom they are looking, discuss your case with a Long Beach personal injury attorney. No one should fear an animal attack from the police, even in the event of guilt. Most police officers want to protect and serve the communities in which they work; they don’t want their dogs to harm others. If improper training or lack of veterinary care is a factor, a lawsuit may protect others from similar harms.

Newark, NJ — A court case was decided this month by an appellate court in New Jersey which affirmed that citizens are allowed to defend themselves against police brutality.

The court’s decision involves the case of Darnell Reed, 33, who was beaten to a bloody pulp by officers during an arrest in 2013 in which he faced multiple charges. A jury found him not guilty on seven of the eight charges, with the only guilty charge being that of “resisting arrest.”

However, the appellate court ruled last week that Reed was denied a fair trial in that instance, as the jury had not been instructed to consider whether or not Reed had that right to defend himself against police brutality.

On April 1, 2013, Reed was targeted by two police officers who claim they saw him holding a brick of heroin. The officers claimed that Reed ran from them and then resisted when they attempted to bring him in.

However, as the court noted, “It is likely that the jury found aspects of the testimony of the State’s witnesses to be less than credible. Given these circumstances, the evidence of guilt can hardly be characterized as overwhelming.”

The two officers were identified in court records as Louis Weber and Manuel Souto. They were dressed in plainclothes and were in an unmarked car when they attempted to apprehend Reed.

As NJ 1015 reports, the cops repeatedly struck Reed’s ribs and threw him to the ground. His face was left bloodied and swollen and his blood covered the ground. The appellate decision says more than 10 of his dreadlocks “were forcibly ripped from his scalp.” Reed had to be hospitalized and still suffers from pain in his rib cage.

To come to their decision, the court referenced the long-standing precedent set in State v. Mulvihill, which notes:

“If in effectuating the arrest or the temporary detention the officers employs excessive and unnecessary force, the citizen may respond or counter with the use of reasonable force to protect himself, and if in doing so the officer is injured no criminal offense has been committed.”

As the court noted, a citizen “loses his privilege of self-defense if he knows that if he submits to the officer, the officer’s excessive use of force will cease.”

However, the court explained, that self-defense instruction to the jury is required even if the defense attorney does not require it.

Viewed most favorably to the defendant, the evidence supported a finding that the officers used unnecessary and excessive force against defendant, thereby providing a rational basis for a self-defense charge. Therefore, the trial court should have given the jury a self-defense charge as part of its resisting arrest instructions. Kelly, supra, 97 N.J. at 200; State v. Simms, 369 N.J. Super. 466, 472-73 (App. Div. 2004). The failure to instruct the jury that legitimate self-defense is a justification for resisting arrest where the facts reasonably could support that defense constitutes plain error. Simms, supra, 369 N.J. Super. at 473.

Because the officers were found to have used excessive force and severely injured Reed, the court noted that Reed would have been justified in defending himself against his abuse.

Therefore, the defendant was entitled to a self-defense charge and its omission from the jury instructions was plain error.

While this case is not held as a precedent, the court’s opinion is not without merit. Self-defense is a natural right; when laws are in place that protect incompetent police by removing one’s ability to protect one’s self, simply because the aggressor has a badge and a uniform, this is a human rights violation.

This ruling is also supported by an Indiana law which allows for citizens to shoot at police officers who unlawfully enter their homes.

In that case, Indiana took action to “recognize the unique character of a citizen’s home and to ensure that a citizen feels secure in his or her own home against unlawful intrusion by another individual or a public servant.”

While some people may fear-monger over rulings and laws like this one, they are missing the point entirely. The point is not to create an environment in which people fight back against police. The point is to create an environment in which police don’t act in ways that make innocent citizens have to fight back.

Police officers today have a more difficult job than ever. Law enforcement officers are asked to put their lives on the line and voluntarily step into dangerous situations, and are often not given the benefit of the doubt by the public when they are accused of misconduct. A split second choice made in a high risk situation could lead to your life and career being on the line, and you could face prosecution not because of wrongdoing, but because of politics.You need a New Jersey police misconduct lawyer who understands both the internal investigation process as well as the criminal justice system.

Whether you are facing accusations of excessive force, abuse of power, accepting bribes, or other wrongdoing, you must develop an effective legal strategy for limiting the chances of civil liability, criminal liability, or administrative consequences. A New Jersey police defense attorney at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA is here to provide you with the help you need.

Consequences of Police Misconduct

Police misconduct allegations can result in serious consequences. You could be investigated by internal affairs, which could lead to formal disciplinary action up-to and including termination and the loss of pension and other benefits. While qualified immunity should protect you from most civil lawsuits, you – and the department you work for – could still be forced to defend against a Section 1983 lawsuit or other civil claim. In some cases, you could also be faced with criminal charges, some of which carry lengthy prison terms.

Whether you are being questioned by internal investigators, facing administrative action, or fighting in civil and criminal court, you need a comprehensive legal strategy aimed at resolving all of the legal problems you face. You’ve worked too hard in your career to have your freedom and future endangered by allegations that are often false or unfounded.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help

Police officers need assistance from a police defense attorney who understands how to fight for clients on all fronts. At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA, we have experience representing law enforcement officers who are facing administrative disciplinary action, as well as law enforcement officers who are at risk of indictment, criminal prosecution, or civil liability.

We protect you at every step of the legal process, advising you of your rights, ensuring you don’t incriminate yourself in investigations, and conducting our own investigation to identify exculpatory evidence and undermine claims of wrongdoing made against you. We handle a wide variety of police misconduct cases including cases involving accusations of:

Contact a New Jersey Police Misconduct Lawyer to Protect Your Honor

Whether you are accused of violating departmental policies, constitutional protections of defendants, or the law itself, Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA is prepared to help you mount a vigorous defense to protect your career, reputation, and freedom. Give us a call as soon as possible to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced New Jersey police misconduct lawyer when you are accused of wrongdoing: 877-HELMER1.

Have you been the victim of a wrongful arrest and/or a malicious prosecution? Has excessive force been used upon you? Have you experienced poor conduct from the Police? With any of these, we can assist to establish whether you may be entitled to compensation.

Regrettably, Police misconduct is not uncommon and the often daunting prospect of ‘suing the Police’ can be made much easier with us by your side every step of the way in order to assist in obtaining the best outcome for you.

Here at Irvings, we have been serving clients for over thirty years and in that time we have helped thousands and thousands receive the highest possible amount of compensation in their often sensitive, severe and complex claims. You, like all of these other previous clients, can easily trust us to effectively deal with your case and bring it against the Police to the highest expected standard.

So, what options are open to you?

You can seek any or all of the following:

  • Disciplinary action against a specific Police Officer,
  • A formal apology from the Chief Constable, and/or
  • Compensation for the mistreatment that you have received.

All you need to know is that if you feel that you have been subject to Police mistreatment, you can commence an action against them for that wrongdoing.

Here at Irvings, we do not represent clients using Legal Aid which is often very difficult to obtain in these types of cases anyway. Instead, we act on a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement which is further evidence of our already strong incentive to help you ‘beat the Police’ because if you don’t win, we don’t get paid.

Examples of claims

We can help in situations such as:

  • Wrongful Arrest/False Imprisonment
  • Assault/Battery (including Police dog bites)
  • Malicious Prosecution
  • Negligence
  • Misfeasance in Public Office (commonly known as ‘abuse of power’ by the Police)
  • Unlawful Stop and Search
  • Trespass to Property
  • Breach of Human Rights
  • Breach of Data Protection / Misuse of Personal Information
  • Deletion of your biometrical data (DNA/fingerprints)

Irvings Law – Actions Against the Police Follow

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I have recently successfully represented a professional and hard-working man who was Falsely Imprisoned and Assaulted by an Inspector from Derbyshire Constabulary. My client was driving in the course of his employment in his car. The said Inspector (who was on duty but travelling in his own, unmarked vehicle) followed my client and then approached my client’s car when my client had stopped. The Inspector immediately used force against my client by taking hold of his left arm and twisting it towards his back before arresting him for a minor road traffic offence; the Inspector’s actions were unnecessary and amounted to False Imprisonment and Assault.

My client was then taken to a Police Station where (after a period of time) he was later allowed to leave. Sometime later and “due to evidential difficulties”, my client faced no criminal charges in relation to the alleged offence and my client’s complaint to Derbyshire Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department was upheld on the basis that the Inspector was “cocky and unprofessional”. The Inspector was found to have a case to answer for misconduct. It was found that my client had received “a definite shortfall in service” and he later was awarded significant compensation.

There are three ways to get the ball rolling:

Option 1: Complete the form at the top or the bottom of this page.
Option 2: Call us on 0151 475 1999 where you can speak directly to Matt who is head of our specialist team.
Option 3: Email Matt directly at [email protected].

Upon receipt of your enquiry, Matt will assess the merits of your case and if sufficient, ‘no win, no fee’ terms will be offered and discussed to you in more detail. Once you have signed and returned the initial paperwork, Matt will then immediately take the first step in your fight against the police for the mistreatment that you have received.

This is a question you may be asking yourself if you feel that you are entitled to some form of compensation. Why not ask us the question instead? Please fill in the form below with some basic details and one of our staff will be in touch to follow up your enquiry.

Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill in 2012 that authorized citizens to use deadly force to protect themselves from unlawful law enforcement activities. When he signed the law, the press and police unions had a field day describing the predicted effects of the law that they said declared open-season on cops. Since the law was signed, only one human police officer has been killed in Indiana. It was in the normal performance of the officer’s duties and completely unrelated to someone protecting themselves from unlawful intrusion or police brutality. Three police dogs have been killed in the same time period. Since its introduction, not a single officer was killed because of this law.

In fact, despite propaganda saying otherwise, police don’t have an extremely dangerous job. Law enforcement doesn’t even make the top ten list of deadliest jobs. So please, no emails explaining how dangerous the job is and how this would make it more dangerous. Also, forego the emails stating that law enforcement is there to protect the citizens. They aren’t. This was established by the Supreme Court.

While being a police officer isn’t that dangerous, it certainly seems like interacting with them is. Being a civilian that has contact with a cop is more dangerous than being a soldier in Iraq. Since the start of the Iraq war, estimates by the Department of Justice place the number killed by cops at over 5000. In all branches of service, the number of killed in action in Iraq is 4489.

These estimates only include those who actually had their lives ended by law enforcement. It does not include those that were simply beat, sodomized, or had their testicles crushed. In a just society, a young man who was stopped on the street and patted down with such force as to cause his testicle to rupture would have the legal option to defend himself against the assault. If the altercation happened between two civilians, lethal force would have been justified in order to protect from further serious bodily injury. It should have been justified in this case.

The legislatures of the various states need to produce laws that allow the citizens to protect themselves from the rogue elements of law enforcement within our society. If not, the people should petition the federal government to enact such a law. The police have failed to protect society from their own brutality. The oversight committees have failed to protect society from the police. The courts have failed to protect society by not severely penalizing these actions. The legislatures need not follow their examples.

Lawmakers should immediately enact laws that allow the citizens to protect themselves from failures that ultimately belong to the government. This is not giving a green light to violence against law enforcement. It is giving citizens a final recourse to make sure the violence is directed at the offending officer, rather than whatever officer is caught in the middle of the riot or protest that follows yet another cop walking free after brutalizing an innocent person. It has been shown in Indiana that laws like this only serve to slow police violence, not escalate violence against police. Lawmakers owe their voters the right to defend themselves against the fast approaching tyranny.

It is an almost certainty that this will be read in law enforcement circles, and many of the cops that abide by basic standards of human decency will be offended. Good. Be offended. The American people need you to start waking up and speaking up. While it may seem hard to break the thin blue line when you witness brutality, understand that the life you save may be your own. If there is one thing the recent events in Ukraine have taught us, it is that violent and brutal police action will eventually lead to violent and brutal action against the police.

Many activists in the United States felt a personal connection with the protesters in that seldom thought of Eastern European country. Just as it is assured that some law enforcement in the United States felt a personal connection to the cops. The odds are that the Ukrainian police officers that were set on fire committed no action that deserved that fate, but when mob violence occurs against the state it is indiscriminate. The odds are that the worst those particular officers did was remain silent about the brutality and miscarriages of justice they witnessed, but a time comes when silence is betrayal. If you remain silent after witnessing brutality and injustice, you have chosen your side.

History has shown without exception that those who claim “I’m just doing my job,” or “I was just following orders,” end up committing the worst atrocities known in all of human history. It has also shown that the excuse falls on deaf ears when those who were victimized finally achieve power. If you consider yourself one of the good cops, it is time to start speaking out. It is time to begin lending your voice to those beaten masses that are crying out for justice and, in some cases, retribution.

Police officers receive training for many different scenarios, including those involving dogs. Unfortunately, mistakes can and do happen. The heat of the moment, a perceived threat, or miscommunication can all lead to the untimely death of a beloved canine. In these cases, a dog owner can take a few different types of actions to hold the officer/agency accountable and start the recovery process.

Possible Claims Against the Police

A pet owner can look at both federal and state laws to determine the right jurisdiction for a legal claim. Unless an officer commits an act of cruelty that results in the death of the dog, California remedies fall under property-related claims. Under Californian and most other state laws, an owner can sue for the value of the dog, any medical bills for the dog prior to death, and emotional distress. Animal cruelty deaths fall under a different category and may warrant a larger settlement.

Many dog owners choose to file claims against police officers in federal court as a Fourth Amendment violation (illegal property seizure). Depending on the facts of the case, the plaintiff may make an argument for illegal seizure and/or acts of excessive force. In a federal claim, a plaintiff may receive damages for costs associated with the death of the dog, owner mistreatment (if applicable), and personal emotional distress.

While these claims seem straightforward, law enforcement agencies enjoy many protections from both civil and criminal claims associated with dog shootings. Officers enjoy civil action immunity if they acted within the scope of the job and made a good faith attempt to honor an owner’s rights. Officers may also escape liability in claims if they can demonstrate adherence to agency procedures during the incident.

A law enforcement agency may attempt to settle a claim outside of court instead of fighting the accusation. Dog owners must carefully evaluate the settlement offer before accepting or rejecting it. An agency may only offer compensation for the “going rate” of the dog based on its breed, background, and age. This type of settlement may not cover the pain and suffering an owner experiences after experiencing the death of a canine companion.

What to Do After a Police-Driven Canine Killing

Dog owners can take steps immediately after a canine killing incident to protect their rights to compensation:

  1. Call emergency services. Report the incident and request support and an investigation. If you wait to report the incident, investigators may miss important pieces of evidence. As with any injurious incident, a swift investigation can prevent evidence loss or tampering.
  2. Record witness information. Look for any witnesses to the event and write down their contact information. In urban and neighborhood environments, search for any security cameras that might contain footage of the incident. A visual recording can serve as powerful evidence of police misconduct.
  3. Record officer information. If you are present at the time of the killing, ask for the officer’s name and badge number. Officers must file a report every time they discharge their weapons. Investigators can often locate an offending officer, even if the owner did not witness the incident.
  4. Talk to an attorney. Canine killing cases run the gamut from small claims settlements to civil claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Until a police misconduct attorney reviews the evidence, avoid taking a settlement or talking about the case.

Law enforcement agencies do not keep data on the number of dogs shot, but one specialist from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services facility estimates officers kill 25-30 companion dogs every day. As social media draws awareness to the ongoing problem and more loving pet owners pursue legal action against the police, standard legal procedures may change. Instead of using lethal force, officers could substitute a non-lethal alternative and avoid unnecessary harm to animals and their owners.

Until law enforcement practices change, pet owners must understand their rights after a dog’s death. They can pursue a civil claim to agency perspectives and receive compensation for their losses.

If you’ve been wronged by the police , you’re within your rights to make a claim. The police are entrusted to protect us, but some police officers have been known to abuse their position and cause lasting physical and emotional damage to victims and their families.

To prepare yourself in making a claim against the police, we’ve put together a list of what you can expect before your case goes to trial.

Time limits for making a claim

If you’ve been wronged by the police, it’s vital that you make your claim as soon as possible. Not only will this allow you to have the most accurate memory of what happened, but will also ensure that you remain within the legal time limits for making a complaint against the police. The time limitations for making a claim are as follows:

  • HRA (Human Rights Act) Claims – 6 months from the date of the incident
  • Negligence / assault claims – 3 years from the date of the incident
  • False imprisonment / misfeasance / trespass claims – 6 years from the date of the incident

You must file a Claim Form within the above timeframes, detailing the precise nature of your complaint.

Pre-trial arrangements

Prior to the complaint being taken to court, there are a number of stages the complaint must pass before it makes it to trial.

Once the Claim Form has been filed, it will be issued to the police with the details of the nature of the complaint, as well as information about the case. The police, if they choose to go on the defence, will explain why they have chosen to defend it. This is known as ‘filing a defence’.

Once the police have come back with their defence, both parties are then required to complete an ‘Allocation Questionnaire’, which will be used to explain more details of the dispute to the court. Often included in the questionnaire is how many witnesses there were, and if there are any medical conditions the victim has sustained due to the incident.

At this point, both sides will be given a list of tasks that they must complete in order for the case to go to trial, these include:

  • Disclosure: both sides exchange lists of the documents that they have which are relevant to the case. You will be able to request copies of any documents from the police that you would like to see.
  • Preparing witness statements.
  • Preparing any medical evidence for or against the claim (if this hasn’t already been done).

Both sides will then be advised to send their questionnaires back to court, so that the court can prepare for the trial. The person making the claim against the police will then be asked to prepare their own documents for trial, and the trial will then begin.

If you’d like to make a claim against the police, it’s important that you get legal advice from a professional. Here at DPP Law, our expert team of solicitors have years of experience in handling cases against the police, and are dedicated to helping our clients get the justice they deserve.