What is False Arrest?

Police may not arrest an individual, seize property relating to an alleged crime, or conduct a search of a person or premises without probable cause. With proper authority, police can be said to have adequate reason to conduct a search, an arrest or a seizure of property. Probable cause to arrest stems from an officer’s knowledge of facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the suspect is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime. Probable cause may not arise simply from a police officer’s suspicion or hunch. Instead, it must be grounded in facts or circumstances that would cause a reasonably prudent person to believe:

  • That the person to be arrested has committed the crime.
  • That the place to be searched is the scene of a crime.
  • That the place to be searched contains evidence of a crime.
  • That the property to be seized is stolen, contraband, or otherwise constitutes evidence of a crime.

Lack of Probable Cause

Normally, police have legal authority to deprive a person of his or her freedom of movement. A police officer who arrests a person without probable cause or who knows the person to be innocent of criminal activity may be liable for false arrest. A person deprived of his liberty due to false arrest may also be wrongfully detained for a period of time. An individual who is falsely arrested may file a lawsuit against the arresting officer, the police department and the municipality for damages. Such damages may include mental distress, injury to reputation resulting in financial loss, and loss of salary while wrongfully detained .

Filing a Lawsuit

False arrest can be humiliating, emotionally devastating and expensive. However, holding a police officer liable for false arrest can be complicated. The police officer must have deliberately detained someone with no actual knowledge that the suspect committed a crime. Even arrests that turn out to be unjustified cannot be classified as false arrest if they were made with the proper legal authority. Allegations of false arrest should be carefully evaluated by a competent attorney who is familiar with the types of facts and damages involved in false arrest and other police misconduct cases.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of false arrest, contact the attorneys at The Orlow Firm for a free initial consultation. For your convenience, we maintain four offices throughout New York City. Call (646) 647-3398 or contact us online.

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Police Brutality: Protecting Your Rights

How Can I Protect My Rights When It Comes to Police Brutality?

Police misconduct is an unfortunate occurrence that’s becoming increasingly common in this state. For the most part, police officers pride themselves on protecting citizens and keeping our cities safe. However, like any occupation that involves power, there are some bad seeds that abuse and misuse their authority, violating the rights of citizens. A recent case was brought to our attention in Queens that represents a disturbing instance of police brutality.

The city of New York reached a $169,000 settlement with Stefon Luckey after a 2013 case of police mistreatment. The Queens man was standing outside with friends when a few police officers broke up the group by stopping and frisking them. The officers got forceful and rough with Luckey, using pepper spray to take him down to be frisked. After consulting with an attorney about the matter, Luckey was able to voice his opinion in a courtroom about the racial profiling and excessive and needless violence used by the police officers. With no visible motive for the encounter and proof of unnecessary violence, the police officers didn’t stand a chance against Luckey and his attorney.

This story is becoming one that’s heard frequently and as a citizen, it’s important to know your rights against police brutality. At The Orlow Firm, we represent those who have been mistreated by police officers to bring justice and monetary settlements due to personal injury. More often than not, police misconduct happens to victims who haven’t even committed a crime. This abuse of power is illegal, especially if it causes bodily harm or injury to the victim. If you feel you’ve been the target of excessive force used by police, contact The Orlow Firm as soon as possible. In the state of New York, you only have 90 days from the time of the incident to file a claim against the police department.

As a law firm that specializes in police misconduct cases, we hope to bring your own case to justice, just like Stefon Luckey. A formal apology for misconduct and monetary help for your injury will not correct the situation. However, it can shine a light on the mistreatment that citizens face from police officers, and can hopefully contribute to a change.

With experience in police misconduct trials, Attorney Adam Orlow is a seasoned personal injury at The Orlow Firm. He’s heard many police brutality stories and represented countless victims. Attorney Orlow states:

“It is bad enough when police officers improperly stop someone for no legitimate reason. Worse, is when officers then try to justify the encounter by creating false charges against and/or physically attacking an innocent person.  Unfortunately, events like this occur all too often in this City and victims of such police abuse are able to protect their rights in court.”

If you feel you’ve been wrongly treated by a police officer, don’t be intimidated by the legal actions you need to take to get justice. The Orlow Firm is here to help you navigate the process and receive a satisfying outcome. For a confidential and thorough assessment of your NYC police misconduct case, give our experienced attorneys a call today at (646) 647-3398.

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Are There Remedies for Police Misconduct?

The website for New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) lists several reasons why you should file a report of police misconduct. By doing so, you create a permanent record of that officer’s history and, by subjecting him to possible discipline, you might bring about a positive change in his behavior. Alerting police commanders to misconduct by their officers might also result in ending abusive police practices. Further, complainants can choose to mediate their cases and speak to the officer directly. The CCRB accepts complaints by telephone, by letter, in person, or by completion of an online form. When you file a police misconduct report, says the CCRB, you have the opportunity for a full and fair investigation of your complaint by impartial citizen investigators.

Established by the City Council in 1992, the CCRB was created as an independent civilian agency to investigate police misconduct allegations ranging from obscenity to excessive use of force. Unfortunately, it has fallen far short of its stated goals. Even in those cases substantiated by board investigators, many result in no disciplinary measures taken by the Police Department. Over the last few years, rates of disciplinary action have fallen, from 74 percent in 2004, to 58 percent in 2009. Further, 40 percent of cases filed with the CCRB are rejected.

A 2011 study by the Citizens Crime Commission found that New York is far less aggressive in monitoring its police departments than cities like Chicago, Los Angeles or Philadelphia. In those cities, independent police oversight agencies have the power to subpoena witnesses and compel their appearance. In New York, on any given day, half of all police officers scheduled for an interview with the CCRB fail to appear, along with many witnesses and other individuals named in the complaints. Furthermore, it can take weeks or even months for the NYPD to produce records requested by board investigators. According to one complainant who filed a report of unlawful stop and frisk, the CCRB actually substantiated part of his case. But, after a year of taking no disciplinary measures, the Police Department closed his case with no further action or explanation.

In order to strengthen public confidence in the police disciplinary process, the CCRB has initiated a new project known as the Administrative Prosecution Unit. Under the APU, a board attorney is empowered to prosecute certain cases of police misconduct. The program, however, employs only one lawyer, and that position is currently vacant due to a city agency hiring freeze.

In New York’s Southern District Federal Court, a new program channels police misconduct cases directly into mediation. Effective August 1, 2011, complaints of federal civil rights violations, such as police misconduct, false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution, will be automatically designated for mediation. The goal is to promote early settlement, reduce litigation costs and relieve pressure on the federal docket. Since mediation is non-binding, parties may still proceed with litigation if they fail to reach an early settlement.

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Is “To Protect and Serve,” All About Protecting Themselves? Police Misconduct in NYC

“To protect and serve,” is a phrase that often comes to mind when thinking about law enforcement. Police officers are trained to respond to emergency situations and help individuals in distress. Many people associate a general feeling of trust with police officers, but one cannot help and wonder if anyone can be trusted when alarming stories of police misconduct filter through the New York news.

Multiple Misconduct Allegations

For the NYPD, there appears to be no shortage of allegations of police misconduct. Recent headlines have decried officers for fixing traffic tickets and hiding each other’s domestic violence and drunk driving charges. In addition to a large-scale investigation of over 40 officers for alleged ticket fixing, the trial involving two NYPD officers accused of raping a 27-year-old woman began last month.

In December 2008, NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata responded to a 911 call from a taxi driver who had a woman in his cab that was too drunk to get out on her own. Surveillance video from a nearby bar showed the officers helping the woman into her apartment building. It also showed them returning to her apartment at least two more times that evening.

According to prosecutors, Officer Moreno raped the woman while she was passed out on her bed. Officer Mata was also present, making him an accomplice to the rape. Charges were not brought against the two officers until April 2009, when the woman secretly taped a conversation with Officer Moreno in which he answered “yes” when she asked if he wore condom.

The officers have been charged with rape, official misconduct, falsifying record, burglary and other crimes, and could receive up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Police Brutality

Unfortunately, stories of police brutality and misconduct are not as uncommon as one would hope. Often, police brutality can result in trauma and serious injury to individuals involved. Some common complaints of police brutality and misconduct include:

  • Excessive or unnecessary use of force, including attacking or mistreating detainees.
  • Abuse of authority
  • Discourtesy, such as searching or harassing people for “loitering” in public areas, or racially profiling individuals.
  • Using offensive language, or verbally attacking or provoking individuals.

According to the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), complaints filed against the NYPD have been, for the most part, increasing since 2001. In 2008, 7,405 complaints were filed with the CCRB – 57 percent of which included allegations of unnecessary force.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a police officer or a corrections officer who used unnecessary or excessive force, or another abuse of authority, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about how to protect your rights.

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New York Police Brutality Comes at a High Price

Often, many in America have an idealized, romanticized Andy-Griffith-in-Mayberry image of police officers. While this image tends to hold true for many interactions with police officers, there is an altogether different reality for some.

Over the past decade, the New York Police Department (NYPD), the largest police department in the United States, has paid out nearly $1 billion to resolve claims against the department and its officers – it should be noted that a substantial amount of the payouts have gone to resolve police brutality and misconduct cases. This large payout is the unfortunate face of a sad, and sometimes tragic, issue which is not contained solely within the bounds of the New York City limits.

The altercation between police and a few players from the Pace University football team should serve as a reminder that police brutality can occur anywhere and to anyone.

The Police’s Pace University Tragedy

A vehicle, containing Pace University football players, was shot at for allegedly driving into two officers while pulling out of a fire lane. The driver, after being told to stop according to witnesses, continued moving. As the vehicle pulled out, officers fired into the vehicle. One of the passengers was arrested and threatened to be shot while a gun was poked into his ribs after he begged officers to allow him to perform CPR on his friend, who lie dying on the sidewalk after being shot by the police. Officers also Tasered and arrested two other football players involved.

It is understood that police perform a difficult and dangerous job, and are often the on the receiving end of taunts. These, however, are not excuses for an officer to take out his or her frustrations on an unwitting person, guilty or not.

When Police Misconduct Occurs

If you or a loved one has been victimized by police brutality at the hands of an over-zealous police officer it is vitally important to protect your rights. In police misconduct cases it is important to seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney who has experience with police brutality cases.

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