Police abuse resulting in personal injury cases are difficult cases to pursue because in the civil context the police frequently benefit from judicial and jury sympathy. Unless the police action is especially outrageous and the injuries are catastrophic these types of cases are generally not viable.
In investigating such a claim it is critical to obtain all of the public records such as search warrant affidavits, coroner reports, medical records and incident reports to the extent they are available. In evaluating such cases it is important to consider whether or not the plaintiff in fact did do something that invited the police action. It is also important to consider the overall likability of the plaintiff.
Jurors over the last many years have become somewhat insensitive to police abuse cases that do not involve significant injury. As such, if the claim does not involve some catastrophic injury as a general rule it is not economically feasible to pursue it.
Both judges and jurors are inclined to give police officers a certain amount of slack especially in situations where they’re being called upon to exercise split second judgment. These cases can be difficult simply because the sympathy frequently weighs in favor of the police. However when your case involves clear evidence of police falsification or police abuse then jurors will set aside their pro-police feelings and hold the officer liable.
If you feel you have become a victim of police misconduct in the Northern Virginia, Maryland or Washington, D.C. area please do not hesitate to contact Brien Roche Law.
See police for a review of Virginia case law dealing with the police.