A very nice woman called me after getting arrested for obstruction of justice. But she didn’t want a criminal defense attorney, she wanted to sue the police.
It seems that when the police pulled her and her husband over, they politely asked why they had been stopped. The cops screamed for them to shut the f up and berated them. When she tried to talk to them, she got arrested. During that time she was called bitch, dummy, stupid and a bunch of other not so nice words.
So now she wants to sue the police because they acted incredibly unprofessional. Fortunately most police officers aren’t like this, but her experience was so shocking that she is set on suing.
The good news for her is that they didn’t hit her or injure her and the costs to make the criminal case go away aren’t going to be great. The bad news is that she has no real damages, so a lawsuit isn’t going to go anywhere.
Again, most cops are good people, but the ones that do stuff like this know how far they can go before exposing themselves to a lawsuit. She “could” sue, but unless it’s caught on videotape, the defense will always be that the driver and passenger were mouthing off. And even then, the damages are just too low.
I’d love to be able to tell her or anyone else that there’s an attorney that can work some magic and get justice, but that simply wouldn’t be true. The truth is that won’t ever happen. For the most part, attorneys that handle civil rights lawsuits are in it for the money. To win a case like this they’d probably have to spend around $30,000 or so in costs and that’s more than they’d probably get back.
The best thing for this woman (or anyone in this situation) to do is to report the officer to 311, the Alderman, or anyone else that might listen. Or it might be even better to just move on and not spend so much time and energy on it. The treatment was beyond appalling, but sometimes you are better off just letting things go, being pissed off and moving on with your life. That probably doesn’t make me sound like the most bad-ass lawyer on the block, but it does make me sound like the most honest.
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