Chicago has a known history of police misconduct and police brutality that has torn communities apart and left them having to fend for themselves. Police officers have a sworn duty to protect and serve. However, due to the lack of accountability, there is an entrenched distrust between community members and the police in Chicago and other cities in Illinois. No one should be in fear of injury or, in the worst cases, death at the hands of police.
That is why Disparti Law Group is jumping into the fight by representing injured victims of police misconduct. By holding the police to a higher standard of conduct and standing up for the rights of injured victims of police misconduct, perhaps the bridge of trust between law enforcement and the community can one day be restored.
In This Article:
- What is Police Misconduct?
- Police Misconduct Statistics in Illinois
- Most Common Types of Police Misconduct To Cause Injuries
- What to Do If You Are Injured Due to Police Misconduct in Chicago
- How a Police Misconduct Lawyer at Disparti Law Group Can Help
What is Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct refers to any situation in which a police officer or any other law enforcement officer engages in wrongful or unlawful acts while operating or claiming to operate in an official capacity. These acts violate a person’s constitutional rights and can in some cases cause injury to others.
When an officer engages in police misconduct, their behavior goes against state and federal laws as well as official police training, policies, and protocol. Police misconduct can occur at any time such as during arrests, search and seizures, or routine traffic stops. If you have been injured by the police, you may be a victim of police misconduct.
Police Misconduct Statistics in Illinois
According to the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), in the state of Illinois, 10-20 civilians are killed by law enforcement each year, and 700-850 are injured during some type of police interaction. In Chicago alone, 200 people are treated each year for injuries caused by police in a hospital, and approximately 10 people are killed each year at the hands of law enforcement.
From 1998 to 2018, only 7% of 250,000 complaints against the police were disciplined in Chicago. For police misconduct and civil rights violations, the City of Chicago has paid over $500 million in the past 10 years.
Most Common Types of Police Misconduct to Cause Injuries
While police brutality is a more well-known type of police misconduct that can cause injuries, it is not the only one. There are many ways civilians can be injured due to police misconduct. Here are some of the most common types of police misconduct to cause injuries.
Excessive Force. Police should be trained on how to de-escalate a situation without using force. Only when absolutely necessary should they use force when an individual is forcibly resisting a lawful arrest. Unfortunately, excessive force cases in Chicago and other communities throughout Illinois continue to rise. This may include assault, sexual assault, baton beatings, excessive use of a taser, improper use of pepper spray, or unnecessarily violent takedowns. All of which can cause serious injuries.
Officer Shootings. Firing a weapon should not be a common occurrence for most police officers. Their training should provide them with several alternative options to de-escalate a situation well before they need to fire their weapon. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, this is not always the case, and civilians have lost their lives due to this type of misconduct.
Police Dog Attacks. Some officers improperly order their often well-trained police dogs to attack a suspect causing unnecessary harm and injury to an individual. There have been many cases in which a police dog is released to attack individuals even while their hands are up.
High-speed chases. In Chicago, recent policy changes have made it unlawful for police to give chase except in extreme cases. Gone are the days when police could chase a suspect simply for running or for minor offenses. This is intended to not only keep the suspect and the officer safe but also innocent bystanders who may be caught in the crosshairs. Again, these orders can often be ignored in the heat of the moment which would result in misconduct.
Car Accidents. Improper use of a squad car is not an acceptable way to apprehend a suspect. This can result in car accidents which put innocent civilians at risk.
Failure to Intervene. Officers who witness police brutality or misconduct must intervene. When they do not intervene and allow the mistreatment to continue, they can be held equally responsible for the harm or injury caused by their fellow officer.
Indifference to Serious Medical Conditions. Police must administer proper care when a suspect is in their custody. When serious medical conditions are ignored or treatment is delayed, this is considered misconduct and may lead to additional harm or injury to a suspect.
What to Do If You Are Injured Due to Police Misconduct in Chicago
If you are injured due to police misconduct in Chicago, there are several steps you may take to hold the officers involved accountable.
1) Document Everything
Do your best to write down or document everything you remember about your encounter with the police. No detail is too small or insignificant. Do this as soon as possible when the information is fresh in your mind in case you forget a few details later.
2) Talk to Witnesses
Try to get the name and contact information of any bystanders who witnessed the misconduct. They may be able to provide video or photo evidence and can offer an additional statement to support your claim.
3) Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible immediately after the altercation with the police. Go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care and be sure to receive a thorough check-up. This will ensure there is a record of your trauma and injuries.
4) File a Complaint
After receiving care for your injuries, file a complaint with the City of Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). You can complete this form online, by calling (312) 743-COPA (2672), or by writing to or visiting the office at 1615 W. Chicago Avenue, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL, 60622.
5) Contact an Attorney
Finally, contact a police misconduct injury lawyer who can advocate for you and fight for your rights. You do not have to go it alone and having a compassionate and experienced attorney in your corner can go a long way in seeking justice for the harm you or your loved one endured due to police misconduct.
How a Police Misconduct Lawyer At Disparti Law Group Can Help
At Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers, we believe in standing up for victims and holding law enforcement officers accountable. By filing a police misconduct lawsuit, we can help injured victims of police misconduct seek damages for physical injuries, hospital bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering that resulted from your encounter with the police.
Only by holding our sworn officers accountable for their actions can we see real change in our community. If you or a loved one has been injured by police, contact us today for a FREE case review or call (312) 600-6000.