A woman distressed during a police charge

Can You Sue the Police for Causing Distress?

Brushes with police personnel can be personally and publically degrading and quite challenging to handle. Although police officers are on duty to ensure law enforcement and obedience, they’re also responsible for respecting every citizen.

Whether you’re a victim, convict, guilty, or a witness, emotions are bound to run high at police encounters. The police is required to show respect and sensitivity to everyone involved in an investigation. They must communicate and interact with patience and protocol. Moreover, the US law acknowledges an accused as “innocent until proven guilty.”

Wondering what option you might be able to exercise if you’re subjected to unfair and stressful treatment by the police? Or if they’ve been intentionally negligent or anguishing when handling your case? Here’s all you need to know:

Suing the Police for Emotional DistressA police car at an accident site

Whether you can or can’t sue the police for causing emotional distress heavily depends on the severity and nature of your case. If you’re able to prove that the officer has been negligent, biased, or reckless in your case, the court might allow you to raise a claim.

But, if the judge decides that the police’s behavior was rightful and under the police protocol, then your case will be quashed.

Suing the police for emotional distress involves several steps and pre-claim considerations. Holding a law enforcement agency responsible for unjustified behavior isn’t easy and can cost you a lot of money, time, and effort.

Here are some of the instances in which you might be able to sue the police for causing stress:

  • Conducting unlawful searches and raids on your personal property
  • Negligent use of force
  • Using assault or battery during an investigation of an accused person
  • Unlawful property seizure
  • Making a wrongful arrest or detention without a warrant
  • Use of excessive force that caused emotional distress or a physical injury

Extreme or Contemptible Conduct

In addition to the instances mentioned above, humiliation, and offensive or annoying actions that cause drastic emotional distress fall in this category.

Based on the accuracy and veracity of your evidence, the court might decide to rule in your favor if:

  • Law enforcement personnel were aware of the plaintiff’s susceptibility to emotional distress.
  • There was a pattern of demeanor or a secluded incident, or
  • The police misused their power.

How to Sue the Police for Causing Emotional Distress?

Ensure these three things when suing the police for causing stress by negligence or wrongful use of power:

  • Keep a strong trail of evidence. If you notice someone filming the incident, try to get a copy of that footage. Look for CCTV images and videos; remember to act quickly because CCTVs are usually timed to destroy the recording after thirty days.
  • Consider personal factors as evidence. Your medical history, prior infliction to a psychological condition, or susceptibility to PTSD or paranoia can be considered proof of the police’s conduct.
  • Seek legal representation to know your state and county’s rules and regulations that surround the process.

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