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How Do You File a Claim for False Arrest and Excessive Force in New York City?

Last updated on: July 26, 2022

By Lebedin Kofman LLP

To speak with an experienced civil rights lawyer regarding your false arrest or excessive force case, call Lebedin Kofman today.

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Our client, a photographer attended a BLM protest in Manhattan to take pictures of the event. As soon as the police came, they became extremely aggressive with the crowd and moved toward them. Our client was tackled by multiple police officers just for standing and taking pictures. One of the police officers took our client’s head and smashed it into the pavement causing him to lose consciousness. When he regained consciousness he was laying in a police van and was handcuffed. He was arrested and taken to the precinct with a simple bandage on his bloody head with many others from the protest instead of being taken to the hospital. After he was released from the precinct he rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion as well as a torn labrum in his shoulder from the tackle. He attended physical therapy to treat the labrum and was forced to take a number of medications to treat the reoccurring migraines he has from the head injury. He was also diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD due to the incident and goes to therapy to address it. The New York District Attorney dismissed the criminal charges against him without him ever appearing in court.

We immediately filed a claim against New York City for false arrest and excessive force. The City agreed to a pre-litigation settlement conference to discuss a resolution to this matter almost immediately. The City agreed to settle the matter for $185,000 before a lawsuit was even filed to compensate our client for the few hours that he was arrested and for the serious injuries caused due to excessive force by the police officers.

What Does False Arrest Mean?

Only the following situations may lead to a police officer arresting a suspect:

  • If they are issued an arrest warrant
  • If they have probable cause to arrest the person

The New York City Police Department website defines probable cause as “sufficient reason” based on known facts that a criminal act has occurred or that certain properties are connected to a crime. In the United States Constitution’s fourth amendment, the concept of probable cause was established. Your constitutional rights are violated if you are arrested without probable cause.

False arrest refers to arresting or imprisoning someone without a warrant. This is an extremely distressing experience. False arrest victims experience mental anguish and emotional distress. They also suffer from loss of reputation, lost job, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological disorders, as well as negative effects on their family relationships. The community is also affected by police brutality, which creates fear and distrust in the police.

What Does It Mean To Use Excessive Force?

Excessive force is when police use more force to arrest or question an individual. These are some examples:

  • Kicking, hitting or beating
  • Chokeholds
  • Use of pepper spray, guns, or tasers in an unwarranted manner is not permitted
  • Refusal to seek medical attention
  • Searches that are unreasonable
  • Without cause, detention

As necessary, police officers can use controlled force to protect the public or personal safety and detain suspects who are violent. Non-combative people should not be subject to force.

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