The New York City Police Department plays a crucial role in keeping our city and our residents safe. However, often times in carrying out their duties, officers break the law, either negligently or intentionally, thereby unlawfully arresting and unlawfully detaining innocent civilians. When this happens, the government (NYPD) is in violation of your most fundamental rights and your rights protected by the New York and U.S. Constitution. As such, victims of an unlawful arrest and unlawful imprisonment may file a lawsuit to obtain justice for the the government’s unlawful acts towards them.
Under the Constitution of the United States and New York State, the government, which includes law enforcement officials such as police officers, is only allowed to arrest and detain people when there is a probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a crime OR when there is a court issued warrant for the person’s arrest.
Therefore, when police officers (or government) engage(s) in abuse of power, such as arresting and detaining people without an arrest warrant or probable cause that a crime has been committed, their conduct gives rise to a lawsuit that can be brought by the person who was wrongfully arrested and/or detained.
The wrongfully accused can bring false arrest claims under state law against both the individual police officer and the City of New York as the city will be held vicariously (automatically) liable for the police officer’s misconduct. The New York City Police Department is not a proper defendant.
Additionally, the wrongfully accused can bring false arrest/imprisonment claims under Federal Law. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1871 – a federal statute, numbered 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983), people can sue the government for civil rights violations such as right to liberty guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. A Section 1983 case claim is applicable when someone like a police officer is acting “under color of” any state or local law has deprived a person of rights created by the United States Constitution or federal laws.
You may have a claim for false arrest and/or false imprisonment if any of the following occurred:
You were released from Central Booking WITHOUT seeing a judge because the prosecutor declined to prosecute (DP);
Police officer(s) told you that your arrest was based on mistaken identity;
Police officer(s) said or somehow implied that you were arrested because of your race, age, sex, religion, or the way you dress;
You were arrested after a motor vehicle stop BUT the police had no reason to make the stop (such as violating a basic traffic law);
After seeing the judge, your case was dismissed in court. In a situation like this, you will likely have causes of action for both false arrest and malicious prosecution;
Your case was dismissed by the prosecutor upon the prosecutor’s review of the facts surrounding your arrest;
Your case was Adjourned in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). Accepting an ACD is not an admission of guilt; and
Other unlawful activities by the police that lead to your unlawful arrest and/or imprisonment.
If you are a victim of an unlawful arrest and/or imprisonment, you are entitled to monetary damages to be compensated for sustaining emotional and economic damages. Keep in mind that under New York state law, you have to bring your claim within 90-days of the arrest. Don’t wait or you may lose the right to pursue your claim under state law.
If you believe your civil rights have been violated in New York, contact lawyer Migir Ilganayev at Ilganayev Law Firm to defend your civil rights.