Experienced Representation in Indiana
Indiana Lawyers for Police Shootings
Police shootings have been headline news in recent years, yet these terrible incidents continue to happen again and again. If you are shot and seriously injured by a police officer in Indiana, you could be entitled to compensation under personal injury laws. If you’ve experienced the tragedy of a loved one being killed in a police shooting, you could be entitled to compensation under Indiana wrongful death laws. Civil rights laws also apply in many of these cases. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our Indiana lawyers for police shootings can determine how various state and federal laws apply to your specific situation. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you and your family.
Turn to Us When You Need Indiana Lawyers for Police Shootings
Police officers in Indiana are sworn to protect the people and property in their jurisdictions. The cities, towns, counties, and other government entities that employ law enforcement officers have a responsibility to train them appropriately and create a culture within the department that respects the civil rights of all.
Yet incidents of police using unnecessary and excessive force continue to occur across the country, and people continue to be wounded and killed in police shootings. Despite increased awareness of these incidents, accurate reporting of all police shootings is not yet a reality. And the numbers that have been compiled are concerning, especially for minorities.
What can be done under these difficult circumstances? The Indiana lawyers for police shootings at Keffer Hirschauer LLP know how we can help: by providing knowledgeable, aggressive legal services to victims of police shootings and their families. We represent people injured in Indiana police shootings and families of victims killed by law enforcement officers across Indiana. If you need a lawyer to sue the police department, police officers, or others at fault, we will fight for your rights to compensation and the justice you deserve.
A Sad History of Brutality and Wrongful Death by Police
The United States of America is remarkable and incredible in many ways; however, the history of police brutality in our country is a mark of shame. Despite cases of police shootings gaining national attention in recent years, criminal trials and convictions for police shootings are rare. This means, in many cases, that law enforcement officers and agencies responsible for these tragedies may never be held accountable.
There is no excuse for these crimes being ignored by the criminal justice system. However, victims and their families do have another option to seek justice in cases of serious injury or wrongful death by police shooting. In Indiana, law enforcement officers may be liable for money damages in a civil lawsuit after a wrongful or negligent police shooting.
US and Indiana Police Shooting Statistics
After Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, the media and the public began to awaken to the problem of police brutality. In search of statistics on the number of people shot by police each year, the Washington Post found that our country has failed to properly record, track, and document these cases. In 2015, the newspaper began recording fatal police shootings in the US.
Since then, the Washington Post has recorded an average of around 1,000 fatal shootings by police per year in the US. The Post reports that 90 individuals, two percent of the national total, have been shot by police in the line of duty in Indiana since the paper began collecting data in 2015. Seventeen of those shootings happened in 2019. These incidents were all shootings by police in the line of duty, and the number does not include people who were injured but not killed in police shootings.
In an effort to obtain a better perspective on the number of police shootings in America overall, Vice News gathered and analyzed data on fatal and nonfatal police shootings from the country’s 50 largest police departments. After analyzing data provided by these departments, including the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Vice found that for each person fatally shot by police between 2010 and 2016, two more people were shot and injured, for a total of nearly 3,000 shootings over the period studied. Seventy-nine police shootings, 28 fatal and 51 nonfatal or unknown, were reported by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in the study.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), under criticism after the shooting of Michael Brown and other high-profile cases, began revising its data collection procedures in 2015. Though the FBI’s National Use-of-Force Data Collection site encourages the reporting of all incidents in which an officer discharges his or her weapon “at or in the direction of a person,” the site also states that the FBI does not have the authority to mandate this reporting.
This alarming history mandates action. Citizens affected by Indiana police shootings should contact reputable, skilled, and experienced Indiana lawyers for police shootings to make the officers and departments involved answerable for their conduct and to shape safer practices in the future.
The Role of Indiana Civil Rights Attorneys in Combatting Serious Injuries and Wrongful Death by Police
As Indiana lawyers for police shootings, the attorneys of Keffer Hirschauer LLP take our responsibility to serve our clients seriously. We provide valuable legal services and smart guidance to help victims of police shootings and their families.
If you were injured in an Indiana police shooting in which the officer was negligent or did not have cause to use deadly force, you might have a right to compensation under the law. If your loved one was killed in a police shooting, your family might be entitled to monetary damages as well. The specifics of these cases are very important, and it is critical to gather and examine the evidence as soon as possible after the shooting.
If you believe you might be entitled to damages for an Indiana police shooting, contact the attorneys of Keffer Hirschauer LLP today. You will be protecting not only your own interests and those of your family but also the future interests of justice in our communities. Police officers and the government entities that employ them must be held accountable when these incidents of neglect or wrongdoing occur.
Can You Sue a Police Officer after an Indiana Police Shooting?
Police work sometimes requires the use of force to protect the public. Because of this, police officers are granted immunity in some cases if they injure or kill a person in the line of duty. But is the immunity granted to police officers all-encompassing? Here are some specific questions victims and families have about police immunity:
- Can you sue a police officer for serious injuries or death caused by a police shooting incident?
- Can you sue a police officer for shooting a person who in the process of or was believed to be committing a crime?
- Can you sue a police officer for shooting an innocent bystander accidentally?
In some cases, the answer to all of these questions is yes. The specific details of these incidents are critically important in determining fault and who is entitled to compensation.
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, police and other representatives or employees of the government can be held accountable for civil rights violations against citizens of the United States. The Constitution of the United States protects the basic rights of Americans, including the rights to life, liberty, and property. These rights must not be infringed upon without due process. The remedy when these rights are taken away without just cause and due process is a civil lawsuit.
Police officers have the right and duty to use deadly force, but only when an officer’s life or someone else’s life is in danger. Even if a person is suspected of committing a crime, a police officer who shoots the suspect can be held accountable for excessive force causing injury or death if he or she was not acting in the interest of preserving life. By needlessly taking away a person’s right to live, a police officer who uses excessive or deadly force commits a civil rights violation. This also applies in cases of innocent bystanders who are accidentally shot by police disregarding the safety of the public.
For Section 1983 to apply in police shooting cases, an officer must be operating under “color of law.” This means that the officer is acting, or appears to be acting, under the authority granted to him or her by the government. This is not as simple as it might sound. An officer simply being on-duty does not confirm that he or she was acting under color of law. However, the reverse is also true: an off-duty police officer can be found to have been acting under the color of law in cases in which he or she appeared to act in an official capacity while off-duty.
Excessive force and wrongful death by police can be difficult to prove. In most cases, police officers will state that they believed their lives or someone else’s life was in danger and that the shooting was justifiable under the law. In many cases, this is not true. Victims of police shootings and families of those shot by police without just cause need Indiana civil rights attorneys who know the law and are willing to fight for justice. The Indiana lawyers for police shootings at Keffer Hirschauer will aggressively pursue your case and work to get you compensation for your losses.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer to Sue the Police Department
Just as police officers have a duty to protect and serve the public, police departments and the cities, counties, states, or municipalities responsible for the operation of these departments also have specific responsibilities. When police departments and their governing bodies fail to properly train and manage the officers under their command, these entities can also be held responsible for serious injury or wrongful death by police shooting.
In a manual created to help communities combat abuse by police, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lists some of the red flags that indicate a concerning pattern of behavior by government agencies and departments that employ police:
- A history of excessive use of force
- Arrest patterns that suggest discrimination is occurring
- Harassment of minorities, the homeless, members of the LGBTQ community, and young people
- Stop-and-frisk practices that are harassing or discriminatory
- Excessive enforcement and punishment for petty crimes
- A history of verbal abuse by police, including statements that are racist, sexist, or homophobic
- Failure to properly respond to the law enforcement needs of low-income, high-crime areas
- Failure to adequately investigate cases of rape, hate crimes, and domestic violence
- Discrimination or harassment in employment or employment policies
- Retaliation against officers who speak out against problems or injustice within the department
- A history of racial profiling or excessive response to gang-related issues
- Failure to hold officers accountable for inappropriate, abusive, or unlawful behavior
- A history of crowd-control tactics that infringe upon people’s rights
While these are far from the only indicators that a police department is operating poorly, the items above provide a general idea of the kinds of institutional actions or inaction that can lead to tragedies. If you or a loved one was involved in an wrongful police shooting, the Indiana lawyers for police shooting at Keffer Hirschauer LLP will work to identify patterns of behavior that support your claim so you can be compensated appropriately. If you are unsure whether you have a case and need a lawyer to sue the police department, we’ll be happy to talk with you and discuss your specific situation and the best path forward for your family.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP: Your Indiana Lawyers for Police Shootings
As Indiana lawyers for police shootings, the rights of victims and their families are of primary importance to us at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. You have endured a tragic event, one that could possibly have been prevented with care. We cannot restore everything you have lost, but we will help you fight for the compensation you deserve and to make positive change for others in the future. Contact the Indiana civil rights attorneys of Keffer Hirschauer LLP today to discuss your case by calling (317) 857-0160 or completing our online contact form.