Police Brutality Attorneys in Illinois
Help for Victims of Police Brutality and Excessive Force
In Chicago, as well as in other cities across Illinois and America, police can and do commit acts of police brutality every single day. Maybe the police employ unnecessary force - such as placing handcuffs too tightly on a suspect, or treating him roughly without cause. Or they might use extreme force - such as beating, tasering, or shooting - to arrest someone for an alleged crime.
Although officers have training in combat and military-grade weaponry, unfortunately, very little training has likely been given to them about how to de-escalate a conflict. As such, many officers often feel justified in their use of violence in these arrest situations. They are often given the tacit support of brother officers who refuse to speak out against them. Police unions unashamedly advocate for every officer’s use of excessive or deadly force regardless of whether direct evidence exists that a crime may have been committed when they used that force.
As a result of police brutality in Chicago alone, the City Council has spent hundreds of millions of dollars settling claims for excessive force - yet very rarely does an officer actually get prosecuted for an act of brutality in a criminal court room.
Resisting an Unlawful Arrest
Under the law in Illinois, as in other states across the country, police officers are permitted to use force, even lethal force in certain situations.
But the law does not permit an individual to resist an arrest in any way, even if the arrest itself happens to be unlawful. The reasoning for this is as follows: What if people were allowed to resist arrest just because they believed that the arrest was unlawful? Obviously, the vast majority of people would likely resist arrest, leading to more confrontations, injuries, and deaths. For this reason, the law leaves the decision about whether the arrest was legal to a judge when the case eventually gets to court.
So even if a police officer arrests you for something you know isn’t right (for example, he didn’t like your shoes), it still wouldn’t be legal to resist arrest. That’s because when a person actively resists an officer’s arrest efforts, the officer’s natural response will be to respond with force in order to take that person into custody.
Most police officers, even in Chicago, do strive to be professional in their duties. After all, police officers take a Constitutional oath of office very similar to the oath given to public officials, judges, and attorneys. These officers promise to use only the amount of force reasonably necessary under the circumstances to make the arrest. However, all across America, we continue to see police officers employ excessive force when making an arrest, sparking angry protests with each new incident.
Police Brutality During Interrogation
In addition to police brutality that occurs during an arrest, an even more dangerous form of police brutality occurs during the interrogation of a suspect, usually in the isolated surroundings of an “interview room” within a police station. In Chicago, our most infamous detective squad commanded by the now-disgraced Jon Burge would routinely employ many forms of torture to force suspects into giving false confessions to crimes they did not commit. Some of these acts included the usual hitting, slapping, or kicking a suspect; but they also would use a hot radiator to burn suspects, introduce electricity into suspects’ bodies by exposing them to a live wire, cover their heads with plastic bags, use sleep deprivation, food/drink/bathroom deprivation, isolation, and so on.
The vast majority of cases against the Chicago P.D. are for this type of police brutality, and have cost the City of Chicago in huge settlement amounts. As for the victims of that brutality, they cannot get back the years that were taken away by callous detectives who cared more about clearing cases than bringing the actual offender to justice. For those poor souls, there is no peace.
Therefore, the best preventative measure that a person can take when taken into police custody is to demand immediately to speak to an attorney. If you have a family member who has been taken into custody for any reason, or has merely been brought into a station as a “cooperative witness” in an investigation, call an attorney: he or she can stop any questioning (hopefully, before it even happens). Most police officers will not permit family members to have contact with someone who is being questioned, but no officer can stop an attorney from seeing his or her client.
In those situations where an attorney was not brought in and the police obtained a confession through unlawful means of coercion, an attorney may seek the suppression of that confession from use as evidence at a trial, thus depriving the officers of their ill-gotten evidence.
Suing the Police for Brutality and Excessive Force
Whether the officer acted with excessive force to arrest someone or to obtain statements, confessions, or other evidence unlawfully, such acts are violations of that person’s civil rights and should be dealt with strongly by an experienced attorney. Although a person cannot resist arrest, it is also true that the police cannot use the arrest procedure to inflict harm without due cause. Excessive force used during arrest will often have no affect whatsoever upon a criminal prosecution - it does, however, lend itself to a civil lawsuit against the offending officers, the department, and the municipality or governmental body responsible for the police.
As for the unlawful use of force to obtain evidence or coerce a confession from a suspect, an attorney can expose the unlawful conduct before a judge, who will then, if convinced, order the suppression of any and all statements and evidence obtained directly or indirectly from the illegally obtained confession. Of course, as we have seen in the Burge cases, civil lawsuits can be brought against the officers, police department officials, and governmental bodies.
Speak to Our Experienced Police Brutality Legal Team
The Chicago criminal attorneys with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC are experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive professionals who will work diligently to investigate the truth behind an officer’s use of excessive force. If a client of ours tells us that during his or her arrest for an alleged crime excessive force was used, or if a family member contacts us on behalf of a relative who was beaten, or even killed by police, we will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts and vigorously pursue justice on his or her behalf.
In circumstances where we believe that our client was the victim of a civil-rights violation at the hands of the police or another governmental agency, no fees are charged for such an investigation.
If the facts indicate that the case should be filed in federal or state court, no attorney fees are charged unless our attorneys are successful in obtaining justice in the form of a monetary settlement or verdict. Millions have already been collected for our injured clients and their families. To discuss your particular circumstances free of charge and without any obligation, please call us at (800) 996-4824. Our phones are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call to speak directly to a member of our legal team now.