Civil Rights Complaint: Injured
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A pair of dog owners has filed a lawsuit against a Michigan Department of Corrections investigator after he allegedly shot the pair's 15-year-old dog while looking for a fugitive in the wrong house.

The investigator was one of a team of officers who raided the Flint home of Erica Morena and Katti Putnam earlier this year, reports the Detroit Free Press. The officers were looking for a fugitive -- who was actually in the house next door.

The investigator was in the home's backyard when Morena and Putnam's 15-year-old mixed breed dog Chloe came down the stairs and out the backdoor to do some investigating of her own. According to a neighbor who witnessed the shooting, the investigator then shot Chloe in the face.

As an American citizen, you're entitled to a number of constitutional rights. But what can you do if your civil rights are violated?

Depending on which rights have been violated and by whom, there are several different options for pursuing a civil rights lawsuit.

Here are three potential ways to sue if your constitutional rights are violated:

A man who was arrested and strip searched after taking photographs of New York City Police Department officers has reached a $125,000 settlement with the city.

Dick George filed a federal lawsuit against the city for police misconduct after being arrested for disorderly conduct in 2012, reports the New York Daily News. According to the lawsuit, George was arrested for documenting the officers' "stop-and-frisk" search of three youths.

Why was George's arrest likely a violation of his civil rights?

A woman who was seriously injured and falsely accused of drunken driving after a sheriff's deputy crashed into her car has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the deputy, the sheriff, and three other members of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department.

Tanya Weyker's lawsuit alleges that even after authorities obtained video footage from a nearby surveillance camera that showed the sheriff's deputy was at fault, the department continued to push for criminal charges against Weyker, reports the Journal Sentinel. Weyker, 25, suffered a broken neck in the accident, and was cleared of all charges in late 2013.

What does Weyker allege that the sheriff's department officers did wrong?

It seems like every week opens with a new story about police misconduct and brutality, giving the public more and more reason worry about their civil rights.

Following the continuing violence and police presence in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that a federal civil rights investigation is already underway and that law enforcement must act to "reduce tensions, not heighten them."

For civilians who have been injured by the police, here are 10 legal reminders on how to civilly defend your rights:

New York City has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that guards at Rikers Island jail beat a man to death.

The civil suit, brought by the family of 52-year-old Ronald Spear, follows a city medical examiner's ruling that Spear's death was a homicide. The district attorney's office declined to press criminal charges against the guards alleged to have administered the fatal beating, reports the New York Daily News.

Why did the city settle, and how do you sue for prison abuses?

A mom who was kicked out of a New York Barnes & Noble bookstore for refusing to cover herself while breastfeeding has settled her complaint with the Attorney General against the company.

A press release issued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office announced the terms of the deal, which include improved employee training at Barnes & Noble stores, a $10,000 donation to a local breastfeeding support group, and the posting of the international symbol for breastfeeding at the entrances of all New York Barnes & Noble locations.

What led to the settlement and what does New York law say about breastfeeding in public?

For various reasons, police sometimes shoot and kill dogs. But their owners typically have recourse to sue.

You probably won't see a police officer serve any jail time for shooting your dog, but you can make him or her pay for it in court. However, police officers have built-in legal defenses to suit.

So when police shoot your dog, when can you sue?

A New York photojournalist arrested for videotaping police has settled his case against the police department for $200,000. The department also promises to train its officers on First Amendment rights.

With the proliferation of cell-phone cameras and inexpensive digital video recorders has also come increased instances of both journalists and members of the public being arrested for recording the police. The U.S. Supreme Court tacitly affirmed the right of the public to record police activity in 2012 when it denied review of a lower-court case that struck down an Illinois law outlawing the practice.

What did police do wrong in this case, and what are your rights when it comes to recording the police?

More than 25 years after five teenagers were wrongly accused, convicted, and imprisoned for raping a jogger in New York City's Central Park, the city has reportedly agreed to settle their civil-rights lawsuit for $40 million.

The teens -- who were between 14 and 16 at the time of the attack -- claimed that the confessions used to convict them were coerced by police. Many at the time also felt that the arrests had racial motives. The victim, a 28-year-old investment banker, was white; the juveniles were all black or Hispanic. The five were all convicted and sent to prison, serving sentences of between five and 13 years.

What led to their exoneration and the pending settlement of their long-running civil rights lawsuit?