Have you been abused by the police? We are Columbia police brutality lawyers. We represent victims of police misconduct in South Carolina. Our civil rights lawyers can represent you as you seek compensation and accountability for what has happened.
South Carolina lawyers that sue police departments
Police brutality continues to be a systemic problem in South Carolina and throughout the United States. If you are a victim, you need a lawyer that you can trust. We are lawyers that sue police departments. We will represent you and fight police brutality with you.
Law enforcement officers hold a position of public trust. When they abuse that trust, the voices of victims often go unheard. At Shealey Law Firm, we represent victims in difficult situations. We aren’t afraid to handle tough cases and tough opponents. We believe in truth and the fair application of the law. Our Columbia, SC police brutality lawyers help victims seek justice.
If you were wronged by law enforcement, we invite you to talk to our lawyers. At your consultation, we can discuss what happened and what your options are. Contact us to talk to a lawyer today.
Types of Police Brutality
A law enforcement officer may use only the amount of force that is appropriate to control the situation. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from police excessive use of force. Whether law enforcement used excessive force depends on when and how they acted. If police actions were not reasonable, they may be responsible for police brutality.
Wrongful arrest, false arrest
An arrest is a restriction of personal liberty. Under South Carolina law § 17-13-30, law enforcement may arrest someone who commits a crime in their view. They may arrest for a felony if they have probable cause to believe that the offense occurred, but they should get a warrant unless there are extenuating circumstances. A wrongful or false arrest may be grounds to sue a police department.
Unreasonable search and seizure
The South Carolina Constitution, Article I, Section 10 says that people have the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure. The United States Constitution also protects the right to be free from unlawful intrusion by law enforcement. Police must have lawful grounds to detain someone or conduct a search and seizure. The grounds must be objectively reasonable. Law enforcement may have civil liability if they commit an unreasonable search.
Police brutality can extend to abuse in jail. A lack of accountability and a culture of abuse among guards can leave inmates living in inhumane conditions, suffering from physical and mental abuse. Victims may hold offenders accountable through a police brutality action.
Sexual assault by a law enforcement officer is a crime as well as police brutality. Law enforcement officers may abuse their position of power in the form of sexual harassment, assault, rape, criminal sexual conduct and extortion. Victims may claim financial compensation and seek accountability for offenders.
Failure to intervene
Law enforcement officers have a duty to intervene when they see another police officer physically abusing someone. They must be in the performance of their official duties. Being there but failing to stop police brutality may also constitute police brutality.
South Carolina Police Brutality
According to Police Score Card, people made 1,451 complaints of police misconduct against South Carolina law enforcement officers in a five-year period ending in 2021. Investigators found merit in 29% of complaints. 31 complaints involved excessive use of force.
In January 2023, the team at Shealey Law Firm won a total of $550,000 for our client Sheila Webb against a former deputy and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department for the use of excessive force. Webb was tased multiple times in her own bed after the officer attempted to arrest her for falsifying a police report, and we recovered damages for the pain, suffering and emotional distress she experienced.
Law enforcement licensing and oversight organizations monitor police brutality in South Carolina. S.C. Code § 23-23-150 defines police misconduct to include:
(c) repeated use of excessive force in dealing with the public or prisoners
(e) physical or psychological abuse of members of the public or prisoners
(f) willful failure to intervene when observing another officer physically abusing a person in the performance of their official duties
An officer who commits police brutality may face criminal penalties, a civil action and adverse employment actions.
Police Brutality FAQs
What is police brutality?
Police brutality is any unlawful or excessive physical or psychological act by a law enforcement officer. It occurs when a police officer abuses their power towards a person, physically or mentally.
Are excessive force and police brutality the same thing?
Excessive force is one type of police brutality. Police brutality encompasses many types of aggressive and unlawful police action, including excessive force.
Is it illegal to record a police officer in South Carolina?
It is legal to record a police officer in South Carolina when they are performing their duties in a public place. You may not interfere with law enforcement doing their job.
Legal Representation for Police Brutality Victims
Our lawyers assist clients with:
- Investigating the facts
- Understanding police brutality laws
- Getting information when the police suppress videos and other evidence
- Knowing legal procedures and how to fight back
- Seeking fair compensation for what has happened
- Bringing awareness to what occurred and seeking accountability for offenders
- Pursuing the rights and remedies available to you under the law
The Shealey Law Firm is an experienced team of legal counselors. We can provide the professional assistance that you need when you have been mistreated by the police.
Contact Us – Taking New Cases Now
To talk to a Columbia police brutality lawyer, contact the Shealey Law Firm for your free consultation today. We handle police brutality cases throughout South Carolina. Start the path towards compensation and justice today. Contact us now.