As an American citizen, your civil rights are the basic human rights granted to you by the U.S. Constitution. Although, these rights have evolved and expanded over time through subsequent amendments, statutes, regulations and judicial interpretation. In short, while most civil rights are explicit in their intention, defending them can be very complex and challenging. Often, the people in power who are trusted to uphold or protect civil rights are the ones who are guilty of violating them. An attorney that focuses on Civil Rights Law chooses to advocate for individuals who feel their civil rights were not upheld.
Some of the most common civil rights violations occur due to the actions of police officers, such as:
Police Searches – The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution is designed to protect citizens from what it calls ‘unreasonable search and seizures.’ Over time, this civil right has been honed and interpreted through a number of groundbreaking court cases. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for police officers to abuse their power in ways that violates this basic expectation of privacy. In Michigan, any evidence that is obtained unlawfully cannot be used to implicate an individual in a crime.
False Arrests – Being arrested and imprisoned without cause can be a life-altering experience, as it violates your most basic freedoms and right to liberty. In order to detain you, police officers must show that they have what is called ‘probable cause’, which generally includes witnessing a crime. Individuals who are wrongfully detained, jailed or convicted of a crime can find vindication, as well as hold the police office accountable, by filing a civil rights case and showing that their rights were violated.
Excessive Force – If a police officer inflicts pain, injury or death in the process of an arrest, and it is shown that they were not justified in their use of force, it is a civil rights violation known as ‘excessive force.’ Regardless of the guilt or innocence of the victim, police officers are expected to show restraint, responding violently only when they feel physically threatened or innocent lives are in immediate danger.