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Civil Rights – Fourth Amendment

The police brutality lawyers at Newmark Storms Law Office have the experience and resources necessary to provide the highest quality representation to victims of police misconduct. We are the trial lawyers to vindicate your civil rights.

When people talk about police brutality cases, they are typically talking about civil rights lawsuit brought to vindicate the violation of one’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment protects us from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Fourth Amendment secures our right to be free from excessive force.   The Supreme Court declared in Graham v. Connor that an officer’s use of force is excessive and violates the Fourth Amendment when it is objectively unreasonable. 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989).

In determining whether an officer’s use of force was unreasonable, a court considers: (1) the severity of the crime at issue; (2) whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others; and (3) whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight. Id. Courts may also consider a host of factors including: (a) the proximity to weapons; (b) officer/subject factors, such as the relative size, strength, skill, and number the officer(s) vs. subject(s); (c) proximity of weapons; (d) degree to which subject has been restrained; and (e) other environmental considerations (e.g., elevated surface, or dangerous surfaces such as glass).

There are many different types of conduct that amount to “police brutality.” They include the unreasonable use of:

  • Punches, kicks, and other strikes
  • Chokeholds
  • Guns
  • Tasers
  • Dog-piling
  • Takedowns

Depending on the circumstances, several of these uses of force might be deemed, “deadly force.” A police shooting, of course, is always a use of deadly force.  The Supreme Court declared in Tennessee v. Garner that the use of deadly force is reasonable where an officer has probable cause to believe that a suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or others. 471 U.S. 1, 11 (1984).

If you believe you were the victim of police misconduct, seek medical attention immediately if you were injured. It is important that your injuries are documented. Waiting too long to see a doctor can damage your case.

Once you have received necessary medical treatment, call the police brutality lawyers at Newmark Storms Law Office for a free consultation at (612) 455-7055. If it is an emergency, you can also call 612.201.9638.

We have the team and experience necessary to ensure that your rights are vindicated to the fullest extent possible. Jeff Storms is an accomplished lawyer, who was named a 2013 “Attorney of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer for his work on a $3.075 Million Dollar police brutality wrongful death—the second largest police brutality settlement in Minnesota history. Jeff has also helped clients obtain many other significant police brutality recoveries.  Jeff understands the critical aspect of working with the media on these cases. His civil rights work has been covered by the Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages, and KSTP.

The Newmark Storms Law Office also has the unique advantage of having two of Minnesota’s best criminal defense attorneys, Eric Newmark and Jill Brisbois, to play a key role on our police brutality team. When the police wrongly injure someone, they often cite victims with questionable criminal charges in order to make it more difficult for the victim to bring a claim. It is imperative to have a great criminal lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and your civil rights claim is preserved.