The New York City Police Department ("NYPD") is charged with protecting the great city we live in. As a general rule, the police department does a fine job of serving and protecting the city. Unfortunately, there are instances when police officers abuse their authority and improperly arrest and detain innocent civilians. This is a violation of the fundamental promise of liberty guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution, and as such, persons who are falsely arrested may file a lawsuit to right the wrong that was done to them.
Under the Constitution, the government, which includes police officers, is only able to arrest or detain citizens when there is probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a crime or there is a warrant for arrest. There are some specific exceptions to this rule, such as if a suspect is running away or other exigent circumstances, but for the most part, an officer needs probable cause or an arrest warrant.
When officers abuse their power and arrest citizens without probable cause that a crime was committed or sufficient evidence to support charging the citizen with a crime, that citizen can sue the officers involved, the NYPD, and the City for false arrest.
You may have a claim for false arrest if:
- Following arrest, you were released from Central Booking without seeing a judge, commonly referred to as DP or decline to prosecute. The police are not allowed to arrest people just for fun, they must have probable cause.
- The police claim your arrest was the result of mistaken identity. Negligent policing is no excuse for violating fundamental rights.
- You were arrested following a motor vehicle stop and there is no evidence that the vehicle was stopped for good reason, such as violating a traffic law.
- The police indicate that you were arrested because of your race, age, sex, religion, or the way you dress, or because of police profiling.
- Your case is dismissed by the judge after you make an appearance in court. In this situation, you will likely have causes of action for both false arrest and malicious prosecution.
- Your case is Adjourned in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). Accepting an ACD is not an admission of guilt. Depending on the facts of your case you may have an action for false arrest, failure to intervene and/or use of excessive force.
Victims who bring successful claims for false imprisonment can be awarded monetary damages to compensate them for economic and emotional damages. Victims often recover lost wages, money to reimburse them for any property damaged, their cost and expense associated with retaining criminal defense counsel and money to compensate them for the time they spent away from family and other emotional distress.
If you believe you were falsely arrested by the NYPD, it is vital that you seek the legal services of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You only have a limited amount of time to file a case seeking compensation.
Attorney Michael Redenburg has helped many victims of false arrest obtain just compensation for the violation of their rights. He can answer your questions and provide you with the legal advice you need.