Chicago Legal Blog

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.

Street named for civil rights hero in Chicago

A major road in downtown Chicago has been renamed after a civil rights hero, according to multiple news reports. It is also the first time in history that a road in the city has been named for a black woman. Ida B. Wells Drive was dedicated earlier in February. The street renamed was Congress Parkway. Wells was a pioneer in journalism and civil rights. She was also a suffragist.

Wells was born in the United States in 1862 into slavery. When slavery came to an end she attended college and then worked as a teacher in Mississippi. She moved to Memphis for other teaching jobs later in her career.

Police officers may try to trick you into waiving your rights

Any interaction with law enforcement could lead to serious consequences for the citizen involved. What you say innocently in an attempt to communicate (and perhaps cooperate) with law enforcement could provide them grounds for investigating or even arresting you. Also concerning is the fact that law enforcement will often engage in manipulative tactics in order to serve their purposes.

They may seek to get you to wave your civil rights so they can keep asking you questions or gain entry into your home. Knowing your rights is an important first step toward ensuring that interactions with law enforcement do not end up having negative consequences for you.

What constitutes a misuse of power by a police officer?unroll gi

A police officer holds a tremendous amount of power in the community. The officer can stop, detain, question and arrest just about anyone he or she wants. That said, just because an officer can do as he or she pleases, it doesn't mean that the officers actions will always be lawful. They could constitute an abuse of power.

There are strict rules and regulations that govern what an officer can and cannot do. This is especially the case when it comes to unlawful actions that an officer could do for his or her own profit and gain.

Government to (sort of) start tracking deadly force by police

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is establishing a database that will keep track of incidents involving the discharge of a police firearm in someone's direction, the serious bodily harm of a subject or death. The database will also track the gender, ethnicity and age of those people involved in police shootings.

That all sounds well and good -- because there's clearly a need for greater transparency about what goes on in our nation's police forces -- but it may not be as useful a database as many hope. That's because there's absolutely no legal requirement for police departments to turn over their data to the federal government for inclusion in the database.

Could psychological challenges can lead to police brutality?

In trying to understand why police brutality happens, it's important to look at the psychological side of working as a police officer. It is very challenging work that presents officers with some of the darker sides of life on a daily basis.

They constantly see people who have been killed or seriously injured due to criminal activity. They interact with the people who committed those acts. They get a firsthand view of the ways in which those actions impact a person's family.

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