Article reprint from the Chicago Defender
Police should never use “excessive” force said personal injury lawyer Antonio Romanucci of RB Law. When that does happen, that individual has become a victim of police misconduct. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a state appeals court ruled that Chicago police can’t hide misconduct records. Those files have to be open to the public.
Romanucci & Blandi, LLC is a top Illinois’ plaintiff’s personal injury and civil trial practice law firm. The Chicago-based law firm works with victims who experience personal injuries that are the direct effect of another person’s actions. The plaintiff-only litigation law firm helps those victims receive compensation. The firm practice areas include hazing cases, nursing home, social security, class action lawsuit and more. They provide free consultation .
There are a few steps that people should take if they believe they are a victim of police misconduct, as well as some do’s and don’ts
Chicago Defender: If a person believes they are a victim, how can they help themselves legally?
Romanucci: If anyone is a victim or believe they are, first thing, they need to gather any evidence they think they may have captured. In today’s video and social media world, we know any video or pictures would be tremendous evidence. Before contacting an attorney, find out if anyone in the area captured it. We like to preserve the evidence, not have it destroyed.
Chicago Defender: What else can you do if you don’t have photos or video?
Romanucci: You want to gather the names and addresses of any witnesses who might be available.
Chicago Defender: Is there a window of time that people need to keep in mind as they are gathering their evidence?
Romanucci: Typically, if any video evidence comes from a private camera or street camera, it can be destroyed from 24 hours to 30 days. You want to send letters to whoever you think is responsible within 30 days. In terms of filing a lawsuit against an municipal entity like the Chicago Police Department, that would be one year, after one year, you extinguish your rights.
Chicago Defender: Okay, it’s clear what steps the alleged victim should take, but what shouldn’t they do?
Romanucci: You shouldn’t go talking to other people about it. If they believe they are or were a victim then talk to an attorney first, instead of making statements [to the media]. The attorney can guide them, give them the right advice and tell them if it’s appropriate to give a statement. Don’t do anything against the agency they feel they were victim of.
Chicago Defender: Can you give an example?
Romanucci: Sometimes an agency will say we can resolve this case now, but by doing that the victim might be waiving all their rights. You always want to be careful about talking to someone like investigators because they might say we can talk now and get you some compensation.
To learn more about police misconduct cases, click HERE.