Over the last couple of years, the amount of lawsuits for false arrest and other civil rights violations against the NYPD has increased significantly.
It could be due to increased police violence and disregard for civil rights, or it may be because NYC residents are becoming more aware of their rights.
If you're a victim of false arrest, follow these five steps to make sure you're compensated for your rights violations:
1. Deal With Any Criminal Charges.
Often when you believe you've been falsely arrested, you may have just been let out on bail, and you need to attend to your current criminal issues before you start considering a civil suit.
With any luck, and with the help of your criminal defense attorney, the charges against you will be dropped for lack of probable cause, and you can proceed with your false arrest claim.
2. Request a Police Report.
If you were formally charged, you will already have a copy of your police report. Otherwise, you need to get a copy of the police report for your arrest.
The report will give you an idea of what the officers claim happened, and allow you to find areas in their report which don't match your recollection of the events.
3. Find Witnesses.
The police report will list the names and possibly contact information for any recorded witnesses at the scene of your arrest. Those witnesses can help you build a case that there was no probable cause for your arrest.
Also, consider any other witnesses who may have been left off of the report.
4. Consult an Attorney.
Even if you flip off the cops, like NYC resident Robert Bell did in 2012, your attorney can help you file a case against the NYPD for false arrest.
An experienced civil rights attorney can guide you in whether to pursue your case in federal or state court and whether to include the entire police department in your suit.
5. File State Claims With Comptroller.
If you choose to pursue your false arrest claim against the NYPD in state court, you are required by state law give notice of your claim within 90 days after your arrest to the NYC Comptroller's Office.
Notice of your claim should:
- Include a detailed description of the arrest and your injuries,
- List your personal information and contact information,
- Be notarized, and
- Be delivered in person or by certified mail to the Comptroller's office.
Following these steps will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your false arrest without being tripped up in red tape.
- Couple Arrested For Doing the Charleston - Nope, Not a Euphemism (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Police Misconduct Case: Did the Lawyers Beat the Cops? (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Cyclists Get $98K From NYPD (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- After a False DUI Arrest, What Can You Do? (FindLaw's Blotter)