Victim of Police misconduct? Click here

Law Enforcement Abuse Attorneys in Hanover County

Palestine protesters can face social ostracism, negative press coverage, and the ire of fellow students. But they should not face abuse of power by law enforcement. Wrongful arrest, mistreatment, and excessive force can violate your civil rights and provide the grounds for a lawsuit for monetary damages.

When you are a victim of law enforcement abuse of authority, you may end up with an undeserved arrest record. Worse yet, you might suffer injuries due to mistreatment and excessive force. A Hanover County civil rights attorney from Commonwealth Law Group can explain your options for seeking compensation for the wrongs you experienced. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Get Started

Civil Rights of Protestors

Civil rights arise from the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, and state laws. When you protest, you exercise two core rights directly from the First Amendment. You have the right to air your opinion, no matter how unpopular. You also have the right to assemble.

Other rights arise when the police accuse you of a crime. These rights include the following:

  • Due process of the laws
  • Equal protection under the law
  • Freedom from unreasonable searches and arrests

After the police arrest you, you are entitled to additional rights, such as access to a lawyer and freedom from excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

The Constitution also provides special protection to members of the press. The police must exercise caution to avoid arresting reporters and photographers covering Palestine protests who have broken no laws.

Use of Excessive Force Against Protesters

Virginia law describes the legal levels of force for protests and other incidents. Police officers cannot employ any of the following tactics unless they are necessary to protect the officer or another person from death or serious bodily harm:

  • Firing non-lethal ammunition, such as beanbags and rubber bullets
  • Shooting at moving vehicles
  • Employing chokeholds
  • Using deadly force

Officers are also limited in how they can use tear gas against protesters. They cannot use tear gas against lawful protesters.

If you have experienced any of these tactics, consult a Hanover County police brutality attorney to assess whether you have a claim.

How Police Officers Violate Protesters’ Civil Rights

When protesters clash with the police, both sides face a fluid situation that can turn at any instant. Whether executed as a department’s policy or by rogue officers, some common violations of protesters’ civil rights include:

  • Arresting media members, innocent bystanders, and lawful protesters
  • Detaining protestors without charges
  • Using deadly force against anyone who does not pose a threat
  • Arresting only protesters of a certain race, sex, or religion
  • Applying excessive force

For example, the police could focus on arresting only Palestine protesters who appear Middle Eastern and allowing protesters of other races to escape arrest. A Hanover County police discrimination lawyer from Commonwealth Law Group can pursue a claim against the police agency.

The mechanism for pursuing a claim against police agencies for their actions against protestors is called a section 1983 claim. This claim arises under 42 U.S. Code Section 1983, which prohibits state government officials from violating people’s constitutional rights.

When you hire a lawyer to sue police agencies under section 1983, you can pursue monetary compensation for your losses.

Can Schools Restrict Protests?

Private schools have greater authority to restrict protests by simply branding protesters as trespassers, as police agencies can arrest trespassers. Public schools have fewer options for restricting protests because arms of the government operate them. They can often restrict the protest’s time and place, but they cannot refuse a permit based on the subject matter of the protest.

What Is an Unlawful Arrest of Protesters?

Unlawful arrests during protests can happen in the following ways:

  • The protester broke no laws
  • The arrested person was a member of the media covering the protest
  • The police arrested a bystander who was not participating in it

Police often begin rounding up protesters, regardless of whether they broke any laws, to break up the protest.

What Are Common Law Enforcement Abuses After an Arrest?

A claim for a law enforcement abuse of power can arise when protesters do any of the following:

  • Detain protesters without charges
  • Block protesters from legal assistance
  • Withhold medical care from jailed protesters
  • Employ excessive force against imprisoned protesters

Officers often violate a prisoner’s civil rights by displaying deliberate indifference toward them. For example, withholding medical care could show deliberate indifference to the protester’s health and safety.

Call a Civil Rights Lawyer From Commonwealth Law Group Now

A violation of your civil rights could result in an unjustified arrest record and physical injuries due to mistreatment. When you hire our firm, we can evaluate your unique situation and analyze your right to pursue compensation from the police agency that violated your rights. Contact Commonwealth Law Group for a free consultation today.

“Great law group. Everyone was kind and down to earth. Made me feel like I was their only client. Very attentive to me and my case.”

Karen Jacobs

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.