Victims can be harmed in many ways by malicious police actions. Some of the more common types of police brutality include:
Excessive force. Officers are authorized to use reasonable amounts of force to restrain or capture a suspect. A court can find that under circumstances the force was unreasonable, which allows a victim to recover.
Racial slurs. There is never a reason under the law for an officer to shout racial epithets or slurs at a suspect. This verbal abuse can lead to a victim recovering under Section 1983.
Fifth Amendment. Intentionally refusing to read a suspect their Miranda rights and interrogating her can violate this right.
14th Amendment. Slurs and verbal abuse based on race can violate a suspect's right to equal protection.
Who Can Be Sued Under Section 1983?
Victims of police brutality can sue a variety of people and entities under Section 1983. Depending on the circumstances, this can include:
Law enforcement officers. It may seem obvious, but you can sue the officers responsible as well as their supervisors for any injuries and violations of your rights. These officers, however, may be able to claim qualified immunity.
City and county governments. Often this is the formal way to sue a police department, which cannot be sued directly. For example, victims often sue "The City of Los Angeles" instead of the "LAPD."
The mayor of a city. Another way to sue a city department is to sue the mayor of that city.