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Colonial Heights Law Enforcement Abuse Lawyers

The right to protest is enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The founders did not design this right to protect popular opinions. Instead, this right prevents the government from silencing those with unpopular opinions. Students have often taken the lead in testing these protections, protesting issues from civil rights to Israel’s actions in Palestine.

The abuse of power by law enforcement officers can take many forms. Whether you endured wrongful arrest, police mistreatment, or excessive force, you may have a civil rights claim against the responsible police agency. Contact Commonwealth Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your legal claims.

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Law Enforcement Abuse of Authority Against Protesters

Palestine protests have highlighted the potential for law enforcement abuse against protesters. Protesters hold controversial positions, and colleges have been under intense pressure to shut down the protests. These external factors have created a risk of heavy-handed tactics, such as:

  • Rounding up and detaining protesters to break up the protest
  • Firing non-lethals like rubber bullets and tear gas into crowds
  • Using lethal force

Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution protects protesters. U.S. and Virginia laws fill in the blanks. Thus, a Colonial Heights police misconduct attorney from Commonwealth Law Group often has several avenues for pursuing remedies for the mistreatment, injuries, or wrongful detention you may have experienced. Contact us to discuss your legal options.

Constitutional Protections for Protesters

The nation’s dedication to protecting protesters is written into the First Amendment. The government cannot interfere with your right to free speech or assembly. This means you can protest, no matter how unpopular your cause may be.

The Constitution provides other protections as well, including:

  • Guaranteed due process
  • Prohibitions against unreasonable searches and arrests
  • Restrictions on excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment
  • Promise of equal protection under the law

Putting these rights into practice, police officers monitoring protestors cannot:

  • Arrest lawful protesters, bystanders, or media members
  • Hold protesters without charges
  • Arrest only protesters of a certain sex, race, or religion
  • Use excessive force against protesters

However, under their inherent power to protect life and property, the police can take the following actions:

  • Disperse unlawful protests
  • Detain protesters for trespassing, vandalism, destruction of property, or assault
  • Clear illegally blocked roads

A fine line exists between a constitutional exercise of police authority and an unlawful abuse of power. The Colonial Heights police abuse lawyers from Commonwealth Law Group can assess your situation to determine whether the police violated your rights.

Virginia’s Excessive Force Laws

Virginia restricts certain tactics used by police against protesters. These restrictions include prohibiting the police from employing the following techniques (unless the officer believes they are necessary to prevent serious injury or death to the officer or others):

  • Firing into a moving vehicle
  • Employing a neck restraint
  • Using non-lethal projectiles, like beanbags and rubber bullets

Restrictions on tear gas are a bit looser. Officers can use tear gas to protect life or property when lawfully ordered. This implicitly means they cannot use tear gas against protesters who pose no threat to people or property.

Remedies for Abuse of Power by Law Enforcement

When you find a Colonial Heights lawyer to sue police agencies for abuse, they will rely on a federal law codified in 42 U.S. Code section 1983. A section 1983 claim allows ordinary citizens to sue state officials, including the police, for violating their constitutional rights. The remedy for this claim can include monetary compensation. In other words, the court can order the police agency to pay you for violating your rights.

When Is a Protest Unlawful?

Government entities can regulate the time and place of a protest. If a protest happens without all the necessary permits, it may be unlawful. Similarly, if the protesters have occupied or damaged private property, the police may be authorized to disperse them.

Do Protesters Have the Right to a Lawyer After an Arrest?

Yes, protesters always have the right to talk to a lawyer after an arrest. The arresting officers must read your Miranda warning and allow you to have a Colonial Heights excessive force attorney to protect your rights.

What Are Common Abuses Against Protesters After Arrest?

The police can violate prisoners’ civil rights through excessive force or deliberate indifference. Abuses against incarcerated protesters your police injury lawyer can use for a claim include assaulting inmates, withholding medical care, and holding protesters without charges.

Talk to a Colonial Heights Civil Rights Attorney From Commonwealth Law Group

Police abuse against Palestine protesters can result in injustices and even injuries. Contact Commonwealth Law Group to talk to a lawyer for police brutality about the injuries and other unfairness you experienced.

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If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.