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What if a police officer should take action and doesn't?

Law enforcement throughout the country has been front-and-center in the public conversation for the last couple of years. It is not a simple conversation, but the fact of the matter is that some people do experience discrimination at the hands of law enforcement.

If you have suffered harm because of the actions or inaction of law enforcement, then you deserve to have your experience fairly evaluated by an attorney who is familiar with both federal and state laws as they apply in New York.

While the bulk of the headlines about police misconduct deal with officers facing accusations that they directly harmed a civilian, it is also possible to file charges against an officer who had a clear opportunity to keep you from harm or having your rights violated by another officer of the law, and failed to do so.

What is failure to intervene?

Among the many duties that officers of the law shoulder is the responsibility to step in if they witness other officers of the law violating your rights.

Let's suppose that several officers are present at a roadside stop. If an officer is exceeding the bounds of reasonable force, especially if you are compliant with all the officer's requests and still receive excessively forceful treatment, then another officer has a duty to intervene and protect your rights as a citizen.

If an officer who is present while your rights are violated does not intervene, then he or she can face charges of failure to intervene.

What is the qualified immunity defense?

One of the most common defenses that must be overcome in any legal action against law enforcement is the qualified immunity defense. Essentially, qualified immunity protects officers from some basic kinds of legal attacks so that they are not fearful of litigation while they enforce the law.

Overcoming qualified immunity is not simple, but it is possible. In general, qualified immunity defenses will not be successful unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that he or she suffered specific harm because of the defendant's actions.

Also, defeating a qualified immunity defense requires the plaintiff to demonstrate violation of some specific right, either constitutional or statutory.

All in all, failure to intervene cases are difficult to litigate, but are certainly worth the trouble if the violation is severe enough.

The right help builds a strong defense

If you believe that you have suffered harm from police misconduct, then you certainly deserve to have your experience professionally evaluated. With the help of an attorney with years of experience in the field, you can rest assured that proper legal counsel will consider your case fairly and keep rights protected.

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