Civil Rights

WHAT ARE CIVIL RIGHTS?

Civil rights are essentially “anti-discrimination” rights.  Civil rights are enforceable and entitle all individuals to be treated fairly and free of discrimination regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, physical ability, or religion.  If your civil right is interfered with by another, then you may have an action for injury that could be pursued in a court of law.

Civil rights are guaranteed by the government.  For example, 42 U.S. Code, Section 1983 (Civil action for deprivation of rights) holds:

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 . . . .

EXAMPLES OF CIVIL RIGHTS.

  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of Assembly
  • Freedom of Protest
  • Right to Due Process
  • Right against Unreasonable Search and Seizure
  • Right to Vote
  • Equality in Public Places
  • Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  • Hate Crimes

CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Any act of discrimination may constitute a civil rights violation.  While it is possible that anyone could violate your civil rights, not everyone might be held liable.  Each circumstance is different and requires careful analysis.  For example, only the government can be held liable for violating your freedom of speech.  However, private employers can be held liable for refusing employment based on age or gender.

MOST COMMON CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS THAT WE HANDLE

Most of our civil rights cases involve law enforcement officers that allegedly violated our clients’ civil rights.  Of course, not all law enforcement officers are bad or engage in misconduct.  However, bad actors hide behind the uniform and degrade the reputation of those hardworking men and women within in law enforcement.  No one, uniform or not, should be violating your civil rights.

Law enforcement officers are given tremendous authority and power by local, state, and federal government agencies to enforce the laws of our country.  Officers have authority to detain and arrest suspects, search and seize property, and use deadly force in certain situations.  Unfortunately, some law enforcement officers abuse this authority.  That is why Congress permits individuals to sue anyone that acts under “color of law” to deprive a person of their protected rights or privileges.

USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2019/04/24/usa-today-revealing-misconduct-records-police-cops/3223984002/) recently released data showing that in the last decade, over 85,000 law enforcement officers were investigated or disciplined for misconduct (out of at least 200,000 incidents).  Of those 85,000, the misconduct resulted in over 30,000 officers being decertified by state agencies.

Some examples of claims that we pursue on behalf our clients against bad actor law enforcement officers include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive Force
  • Abuse of Power
  • Retaliation for Protected Conduct
  • Unlawful Arrest
  • Unlawful Seizure
  • Malicious Prosecution

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED

If you or a loved one are victims of civil rights violations, and want to evaluate what options are available, please contact Grable Grimshaw Mora PLLC today at 210-761-5687 or by filling out our contact form.  Whether you want to negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to trial, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process.