Civil Rights Litigation
American citizens have certain rights commonly known as “civil rights,” which are intended to protect individuals from unfair treatment. These are a wide-ranging set of laws, designed to insure that everyone receives equal treatment under the law and protected from unfair treatments like discrimination.
This is true for a number of situations, including employment, housing, education, and other public accommodations, based on specific characteristics that are protected by law.
What Is A Civil Rights Violation?
In simple terms, this is a violation of your personal rights guaranteed by the Bill Of Rights. These rights include:
- Free speech
- Freedom of religion, and the right to practice it (or not)
- Rights of assembly
- Freedom from unreasonable search and seizures
- The right not to testify against yourself
- The right to a public and speedy trial
- Freedom from excessive bail and cruel or unusual punishments
The Color Of Law
This term is widely used to describe an individual using the authority given to him or her by any a local, state, or federal government agency, such as a police officer or district attorney. A civil rights violation under the color of law can include:
- Use of excessive force by police
- False/wrongful arrest, and the use of fabricated evidence
- Failure to keep someone from harm
- Malicious prosecution
- Sexual assaults (in custody, etc.)
Other common civil rights complaints investigated by the FBI include racial violence, i.e., physical assaults, homicides, verbal or written threats, or desecration of property.
This is the section of the US Code (42 U.S.C. §1983) that covers many civil rights violations, particularly the 4th Amendment. “Section 1983” is used to define a number of civil rights violations.
It’s most commonly used in police-related actions, such as illegal search and seizures, the use of excessive force, wrongful arrests and other misconduct. However, a Section 1983 action can involve any local, state or federal employee operating under the color of law.
The Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights Act, known as “Section 1983,” was enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. It provides a private remedy for the vindication of one’s rights. The relevant part of the Act reads:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.
As a plaintiff, you must prove basic two points:
- That an individual was operating under the color of law
- The conduct deprived the plaintiff of his or her rights, privileges, and/or immunities guaranteed under federal law or the U.S. Constitution.
Of course, a court action has other, more complex requirements in addition to these. This is where a lawyer who understands civil rights violations can help the most.
It’s important to note that the “Civil Rights Movement” refers specifically to African Americans who are working to achieve equality in society, and securing the right to vote without obstacles. But the broader term “civil rights” includes equal rights for everyone, without regard to race, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, or other individualities.
Defend Your Civil Rights In Kansas City
No one has the right to deny you the civil rights you have. But if you’ve been the victim of police misconduct or other types of violations at the hands of the government, we’re ready to help. Our civil rights attorneys are ready to stand by your side and make sure your rights are protected. Call The Popham Law Firm today at (816) 221-2288, or use our online contact form.
We believe the best legal outcomes happen when lawyers commit to clients, not just results. We’re dedicated to exceeding your expectations in every way— from the way we treat you to the size of your settlement.