California has one of the highest rates of police shootings in the country. Of the larger states in the U.SCalifornia has the top rate of deadly shootings. The rate is almost 20% higher than the national average and four times that of New York. Between 2016-2018, over 150 people each year have died at the hands of police in the state. 97 of these people were unarmed at the time that they were killed.
The California Legislature has considered laws to raise the standard for the use of deadly force but has not passed strict standards to protect the population. As a result, there are more incidents like the 2018 shooting of Stephon Clark, when police mistook his cell phone for a weapon and fired 20 rounds at him, fatally wounding him.
If you believe that officers violated your constitutional rights, you should not wait to discuss the matter with a Riverside civil rights attorney.
While some police shootings end up being justified, law enforcement does not have an unlimited right to use indiscriminate force when doing their jobs. California’s law says the following:
This applies not only to shootings, but to all different ways that a police officer uses force when dealing with a suspect. Police cannot use unlimited force, even in self-defense. Instead, it must be objectively reasonable.
Officers can face legal consequences for violating these laws. In addition, if you or a loved one has been harmed by the officer’s use of force, you may be entitled to financial compensation in a civil lawsuit.
In addition to police shootings, law enforcement can also violate your civil rights in a number of ways, including:
Even if police are not charged in the suspected civil rights violation, there is a much different standard in a civil case. Therefore, the officers not being charged should not keep you from filing a lawsuit in connection with the police shooting. In a civil claim, you would need to prove your claim by a preponderance of the evidence. This is the same thing as saying that it was more likely than not that the police broke the law. This is a lower standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” used in criminal cases. If the officer says that their use of force was justified, they will need to prove it.
If you are suing the police for the illegal use of force, your lawsuit may be filed under federal civil rights law. The primary law that you would use is 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This law says that when any person “under color of statute” causes another person to be deprived of their civil rights, they shall be “liable to the party injured.” What this means is that the police can be made to pay when they violate your rights with excessive or deadly force.
You could also file a lawsuit under California law for excessive use of force. This is usually added to a federal civil rights claim. Here, you would need to prove that:
Lawsuits against the government have some different rules than other civil lawsuits. These can impact both the timeframe that you have to sue and the way that you notify the government of the lawsuit. You need an experienced attorney familiar with these laws who is unafraid of taking on the government. Civil rights lawsuits are often high-profile actions, and your case demands a lawyer who has handled complex and visible actions. Attorney Daniel DeLimon has this experience.
Contact DeLimon Law if you or your loved one has been deprived of civil rights through a police shooting or other excessive use of force. We help injured victims recover the financial compensation that they deserve when they have suffered at the hands of police who themselves were breaking the law. Call us today at (951) 777-9104 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.
He has compassion and empathy for all parties as well as one of the sharpest legal minds around. He is a powerhouse in the courtroom; the kind of attorney people stop and listen to. Anyone facing the legal system would be fortunate to have him working for them.
I was facing multiple violent felonies and life in prison. Mr. DeLimon took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES and I was released. I owe him my life.