If the police department has arrested you falsely and has deprived you of your freedom without having sufficient reason or authority to do so, the police officer responsible or the police department can potentially be sued. Some people believe that they can only take action if they have been physically assaulted by a police officer in order to get compensation, but action can also be taken by hiring a personal injury attorney to help you with your false arrest case.
Just last week, Tanisha McGee, a mother in Chicago, filed a suit against the Chicago Police Department because she says that her 10-year old son was falsely arrested and the officers were unnecessarily rough with him when he was arrested in April. The police officers said he was arrested because it was believed that he had a gun and that he also had information about a gang.
McGee and her son went out to pick up Chinese food on April 6th near Cottage Grove Avenue and 79th Street when they were approached by a few police officers. The suit filed says there were “several” officers but did not specify exactly how many police officers there were.
After the officers approached McGee and her son, McGee says that the officers grabbed her son as they asked him if he had a gun and also said that they were unnecessarily rough with him. The police did not find a gun after they searched the boy, yet they still put him in the backseat of a police car, the suit said. McGee then called 911 for assistance and more officers arrived on the scene.
The boy was taken to the police station for questioning and according to the suit, the boy was called a “mother——.” The suit says this was yelled at him as he was interrogated about his gang activity. McGee was not allowed to see her son while he was being questioned, and she said that the police officers, “laughed about the situation and ridiculed” her.
McGee also claims that the police threatened to arrest her for child neglect if she continued asking to see her son. Her son was issued a citation for public urination when he was finally released. There has been no immediate response from the city when they were asked for a comment.
The eight-count suit includes claims of false arrest, excessive force and intentional infliction of emotional distress. McGee is pursuing punitive damages against the officers and the city and she is also seeking compensation for her legal fees.
Anyone who has been falsely arrested needs to understand what their legal rights are. If you are planning to sue a police officer or a police department, you must prove that there was no probable cause that you were engaged in any sort of criminal activity at the time you were arrested. If you are able to prove that there was no probable cause, you can take action to sue for false arrest since your fourth amendment rights were violated.
Most likely, you will file a tort claim against the city. You can proceed to a lawsuit if your claim is rejected or if the city does not respond to your claim in time. As in the case with McGee, you may also seek punitive damages if there is evidence that the officers maliciously or purposefully violated your rights.
You will also need to collect evidence and have a factual record of the events. You may want to obtain a copy of the police report and look for any eyewitnesses to the arrest. Consulting with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney is the best way to ensure that you are fully aware of your legal rights and that you receive the compensation you deserve for your false arrest.
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