Chicago Legal Blog

Reasons that police may turn to violence too quickly

Every time that the police turn to violent force and take a life, it feels like people start asking if it was really necessary. They look at the rates of police shootings in the United States, for instance, and compare them to other countries. Do U.S. police turn to violence too quickly? If so, why do they do it?

One potential reason is simply that officers have to make stressful decisions in the moment. They need to "adjust on the fly," as one expert put it. This can lead to crucial mistakes.

Did your arrest come as a result of illegal racial profiling?

Racism is still a serious problem in the United States. Far too many people are quick to judge another human based on the color of their skin instead of the contents of their character. The sad result of prevalent racism is that it has infiltrated every aspect of American culture.

Even those who are supposed to do their jobs without racial bias often fall victim to their subconscious issues with people from other racial backgrounds. Law enforcement officers should respect the civil rights and freedoms of everyone they encounter and only detain or question those they suspect of illegal activity. Unfortunately, sometimes police engage in a practice known as racial profiling.

What should you do if stopped by the police?

If you are stopped by the police here in Chicago, it's important not to surrender your Constitutionally-protected rights. But because these encounters are often a surprise and quite emotionally-charged, you may be unsure what you should, and shouldn't do.

First and foremost, your overriding goal is to survive the encounter. There are, sadly, far too many instances where the police executed a stop and the detained individual wound up dead. With that in mind, the following tips may be helpful.

  • You have the right to remain silent.

Tips to help a business avoid dispute litigation

When you operate a business, it's highly unlikely that you will always be able to avoid being sued by someone, whether it is a customer, a supplier or an employee.

There are many ways you can avoid litigation, and the main one is to properly manage business disputes.

Illinois has the most criminal exonerations in the nation

If you hear of someone being exonerated of a crime last year, the odds are high that it happened in Illinois.

According to the Exoneration Registry, 2018 was a record year for the exoneration of defendants who suffered from wrongful convictions and official misconduct. There were at least 107 acts of official misconduct -- many of them connected to the scandal in Cook County involving a police sergeant and a crew of fellow of officers.

Steps that you should take if your civil rights were violated

In Illinois, laws exist to protect individuals' civil rights in the workplace, in acquiring housing and during police stops. They protect individuals from being discriminated against for belonging to protected classes such as a certain religious, racial or age groups or because they're perceived to be of a certain gender or sexual orientation. Legal remedies are available for you to pursue if your civil rights have been violated.

One effective way of resolving civil rights violations disputes is by addressing them via informal negotiations.

What does police misconduct mean?

There are specific rights that everyone in this country has. These are set forth by the United States Constitution. No one has the right to infringe upon these rights for any reason. Even police officers investigating crimes or arresting an individual who is accused of committing a crime have to comply with laws in Illinois and the Constitution. When they don't, people who have their rights violated may be able to take legal action.

Police departments are set up to provide considerable oversight over each officer's actions on every shift. Unfortunately, this isn't always how things work, so it is often possible for police misconduct to occur. The true battle starts when a victim tries to prove misconduct since the officers involved will likely deny that anything amiss occurred.

Remedies that are often ordered in breach of contract cases

Most any Chicago company will have their customer sign a contract before agreeing to perform any services for them. They outline what they've been contracted to do and outline what happens if outside factors such as time delays or financial issues make it impossible for either party to uphold their responsibilities.

A breach of contract occurs anytime a party fails to fulfill their obligations as outlined in their agreement.

Why are police encounters more dangerous for disabled people?

A study from Cornell University in 2017 found what many people already knew -- that people who have disabilities are more likely to find themselves under arrest than those who don't have a physical or mental disability -- 44 percent more likely. According to a report published the previous year by the Ruderman Family Foundation, up to a half of all instances in which force is used by police involve disabled people, and "up to half of all people killed by the police in the United States are disabled."

Often these arrests and uses of force stem from misunderstanding on the part of the disabled person and/or the officer. As one advocate for the rights of the disabled says, "We know people with disabilities are responding to police officers in different ways and that police have countered with the use of force. For example, someone who is deaf might not hear a command…. Similarly, someone who is autistic might take time to respond and someone who is diabetic might move their body in ways the police doesn't expect."

There's a fine line between reasonable and excessive police force

Everyone in Illinois, even someone suspected of having committed a crime, has a constitutional right to not be treated with excessive force. This protection is afforded to all Americans under the reasonable search and seizure guidelines of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Eighth Amendment also prohibits individuals from being subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

Government or law enforcement officers are only authorized to use a display of force necessary to protect themselves and others from getting hurt or to diffuse an incident.

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