FEDERAL AND STATE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
O'Brien Hatfield, PA GET YOUR FREE CASE REVIEW GET YOUR FREE CASE REVIEW Click To Text
TAMPA (813) 228-6989 • ORLANDO (407) 808-6750 • en Español (813) 390-2494

Know your rights, and work with an attorney to protect them

Police investigation of suspected criminal activity has become a very public issue, particularly given recent incidents involving the unnecessary use of deadly force. Although events of this magnitude don’t happen every day, there are many smaller incidents demonstrating that police officers do not always exercise their authority lawfully.

Take a recent case out of Fort Lauderdale involving a police officer who is caught on tape confronting a homeless man at a bus terminal, shoving him to the ground and slapping him in the fact before handcuffing him. In the video, the homeless man appears not to be acting in a threatening manner, but the officer chooses to exercise what seems to be unnecessary force. The officer was placed on paid leave when the police department found out about the incident, but it remains to see how the investigation turns out. 

Police officers have a tough job, no doubt, and we should all respect them for their work. However, when officers fail to perform their job properly, citizens can and should exercise their legal rights. One way to do this is by filing a civil rights suit to hold the officer liable for constitutional violations. Although unnecessary use of force is a significant issue in the media in recent months, the most common claim in civil rights suits is false arrest, or the claim that an officer violated an individual’s right under the Fourth Amendment to be free from unreasonable seizure.

The key to a valid arrest is that the officer must have had probable cause, or a reasonable basis, to believe that the individual was involved in criminal activity. In cases where the evidence was not adequate to support a belief that the suspect committed a crime, there may be a valid false arrest claim.

Probable cause is also an important consideration in the criminal defense process. In our next post, we’ll speak about this issue and how an experienced defense attorney can protect the rights of those facing criminal charges based on poor police investigation.

Source: Star Tribune, “Police officer under investigation after pushing, slapping homeless man in South Florida,” Curt Andersen, Feb. 24, 2015. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Mark J. O'Brien's cases have been featured in:
The New York Times | The Miami Herald | Bay News 9 | abc 7 | The Boston Globe | USA Today | Tampa Bay Times | FOX News Channel | The Washington Post | abc Good Morning America | Chicago Tribune | NT News Talk Florida | St. Petersburg Times | Deadspin
“Mark, thank you for everything. I will forever be indebted to you. You have stood by me and believed in me when it was not the popular thing to do. You are an amazing advocate.” Adam Filthaut
  • Former Partner at the Law Firm of Adams and Diaco (Robert Adams and Stephen Diaco)
  • MJ (Todd Schnitt) Morning Show/Bubba the Love Sponge Clem Trial
  • Attorney Phil Campbell DUI Setup/Florida Bar Trial
More Testimonials
American Association for Justice National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers | NACDL 1958 Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers | FACDL Super Lawyers AVVO | See Reviews LC | Lead Counsel Rated g+ | See Reviews