Austin Civil Rights – Police Brutality Lawyer
Have you recently experienced a civil rights violation or police brutality in Austin, Texas? If you’ve been harmed in any way, please contact Lorenz & Lorenz for immediate assistance. Our experienced Austin civil rights – police brutality lawyers will help you protect your rights and get the justice you deserve. We offer a free initial case evaluation, so contact our law office in Austin, Texas to schedule yours today.
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How Our Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Been a Victim of Police Brutality
Experiencing police brutality can be a very confusing and devastating event. Fortunately, the Austin personal injury attorneys at Lorenz & Lorenz have navigated these types of cases hundreds of times before, so you don’t have to do it alone.
You have rights under Section 1983 of the Federal Civil Rights Act, as well as the Constitution. Retaining an Austin personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in litigating police brutality cases will result in proper compensation, justice, and peace of mind for you.
When deciding what lawyer to hire, it is paramount that you hire the right injury attorney to represent you in asserting your rights when you’ve been the victim of police brutality. You’ve already been mistreated once, you need an attorney experienced in fighting back against police brutality to make sure your case is properly handled from start to finish, and that nothing is left on the table.
At Lorenz & Lorenz, we’ve been helping injured clients fight for deserved compensation for more than 19 years. We’re ready and willing to help you, too. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
Overview of Police Brutality in Austin, Texas
If you’ve been following the news lately, you know that police brutality is having a moment in the media. There’s no doubt that police brutality occurs more frequently than the average person hears about; after all, not all police brutality stories make the headlines. With the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the country erupted into protests to bring awareness to police brutality, particularly along racial divides.
Recently, five Austin police officers were placed on administrative leave pending investigations into the use of excessive force in responding to protests against – ironically enough – police brutality and racial injustice.
What’s more, a study conducted between 2013 and 2018 measuring police brutality determined that the city of Austin ranks twice as high as the national average in occurrences of police violence. That’s an alarming statistic, and one that should not be taken lightly. While there are initiatives underway to improve relationships between the community and the police force, there is simply no justification for such staggering data and law enforcement must be held accountable for their actions.
What is Police Brutality?
Police brutality and excessive force by police can take many forms. You are likely familiar with the brutal video recordings from body cameras worn by offending officers that make the news, but you may not be as familiar with some of the less violent forms of police brutality.
Police brutality includes:
- Physical assault by a police officer
- Verbal abuse by a police officer
- Use of excessive physical force by a police officer
- False arrest
- Forced or coerced confessions
- Malicious prosecution
- Threats of violence made by a police officer
- Inmate abuse
- Illegal search and seizure
- Sexual abuse, rape, or assault by a police officer
- Racial profiling
- Discriminatory acts committed by police officers
- Wrongful death
Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common instances of police brutality in Austin.
If a police officer unlawfully harms a citizen, the officer is subject to assault or homicide charges no different than if the officer committed these crimes off duty. Aggravated assault is an attempt to cause serious bodily harm to an individual with disregard for human life. Factors that raise an assault to the aggravated level typically include the use of a weapon, the status of the victim, the intent of the perpetrator, and the degree of injury caused. Aggravated assault by a police officer is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison.
Verbal abuse by police officers remains one of the most prevalent occurrences of policy brutality. While its effects are not physical, the impact can nonetheless be severe. Verbal abuse is the act of forcefully criticizing, insulting, or denouncing another person. Characterized by underlying anger and hostility, it is a destructive form of communication intended to harm the self-concept of the other person and produce negative emotions.
In Texas, if the police officer is using force that creates a risk of serious and unjustifiable bodily harm, this amounts to the crime of assault or battery. As a result, you may have a right to self-defense when this happens, which means that you can use proportionate force to resist the officer.
Under Texas Penal Code Section 9.31(c):
(1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and
(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.
A false arrest case occurs when someone is arrested in Texas by a police officer without probable cause. In Texas, police officers and other government officials are liable for clear deprivation of rights, but may be partially shielded from false arrest lawsuits through the doctrine of qualified immunity, when such a violation qualifies as “not obvious,” by a US Supreme Court test.
Sadly, statistics indicate that sexual abuse by police officers is reported most frequently among women of racial minority groups such as African American and Latina women, particularly those working in the sex industry. Adding to the problem, victims of police misconduct may not alert authorities because they feel humiliated or they fear retaliation.
Intimidation by police constitutes abuse and official misconduct. Intimidation is intentional behavior that “would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities” to fear injury or harm.
Racial profiling is any law enforcement initiated action based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than on the individual’s behavior or on information identifying the individual as having engaged in criminal activity. (Art. 3.05, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure)
What Are the Consequences & Effects of Police Brutality?
When you experience police brutality first hand, feelings of embarrassment, anger, distrust, and resentment undoubtedly linger. In addition to emotional residual effects, oftentimes police brutality leaves lasting physical injury as well which can lead to a reduction or loss in wages.
If your family or loved ones are present during the abuse, they may have additional claims as well. Our experienced police brutality and wrongful death lawyers will aggressively fight for compensation for your injuries, which may include:
- Hospital bills;
- Lost wages;
- Out-of-pocket expenses; and
- Pain and suffering.
Additionally, the officer who committed the abusive acts may be subject to criminal and/or civil punishment as well.
The internal investigations completed by police agencies often fall short – failing to conduct full, thorough, and adequate investigations. Fortunately, these investigations are not dispositive of whether or not police brutality actually occurred.
At Lorenz & Lorenz, we hire the most knowledgeable experts to assist us in litigating your case, including forensic analysts, scene reconstructionists, and doctors who can testify to the nature and extent of your injuries.
What Should I Do If I’ve Experienced Police Brutality?
If you’ve been the victim of police brutality, your first step is to consult an experienced police brutality lawyer. Better yet, if you know you will soon be approached by the police, having a lawyer present before the police arrive can thwart issues before they arise. Many victims are hurt, then go straight to jail, adding a terrifying element to their trauma. The presence of an experienced attorney who knows the law and can assert your rights on your behalf is paramount.
If you are free to act after your incident, our police brutality lawyers recommend that you:
- Document everything with photos, especially your injuries;
- Seek medical attention immediately;
- Document the names of any witnesses present; and
- Consult our police brutality lawyers immediately.
As advocates for victims of police brutality, we work tirelessly toward achieving justice for our clients. At Lorenz & Lorenz, our attorneys know how important pursuing a police brutality case can be. We’ll fight to hold the officer who has caused you to suffer responsible for what he or she has done.
You’ll Have a Limited Time to Bring a Civil Police Brutality Claim in Texas
If you intend to file a civil lawsuit against a police officer or municipality, you’ll have to act quickly. Your claim must be filed before the statute of limitations that applies to your case runs out. This will, in most situations, be either 45 days (if you intend to sue the city of Austin) or 2 years (if you intend to sue an individual officer or non-government organization) from the date of the incident. Miss the deadline, and you’ll be barred from recovering any compensation at all.
Schedule a Free Consultation With our Austin Civil Rights – Police Brutality Lawyers Today
Contact our Austin law firm to schedule a free, no-obligation case assessment. When you call, our Austin police brutality lawyers will discuss your options and do the best to answer the questions you have. You have a limited amount of time to act, so take the time to call our law firm for help today.