We are attorneys for when a civil rights violation leads to a death. If your loved one has lost their life because of the police, mistreatment in jail or because of a hate crime, our Columbia, SC attorneys want to help you. Contact us today to learn more and begin.
Law Firm Handling Wrongful Death Civil Rights Violations Cases
Shealey Law Firm represents families who have lost loved ones because of civil rights violations. We are proud to stand with people and stand up for them when those in authority have violated their rights.
We understand that you are suffering. You need a legal team that you can trust. Our professional team can represent you to seek justice for your loved one.
Types of Cases for Wrongful Death Civil Rights Violations
There are three primary types of cases centering around wrongful death and civil rights violations – police deaths, prison mistreatment and hate crimes.
Police and law enforcement deaths
Police brutality may be the basis for wrongful death compensation. When the police use force unnecessarily, or in violation of their training, and a death occurs, they may be responsible for monetary damages.
Today, body cameras and dash cams capture police conduct and misconduct better than ever before. Eyewitness testimony and a reconstruction of events can prove what happened and bring offenders to justice. The compensation paid not only honors the life of the victim, but it raises awareness with the public and may prompt officers to change their behavior in the future.
Abuse and neglect in jails and prisons
Wrongful death at the hands of law enforcement can occur in a jail or prison setting. Inadequate medical care, assault and battery by guards and inhumane living conditions can all contribute to a death.
Of course, prison officials will not volunteer information or admit their liability. If your loved one has died in custody, our attorneys can investigate what occurred. We can build the evidence and determine if wrongful death compensation is appropriate.
The Shepard Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 federally criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury based on a protected class. If someone assaults a person because of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability, they have committed a hate crime.
The victim’s family may seek monetary damages. Victims may seek compensation for wrongful death (South Carolina Code § 15-51-10). The jury may award punitive damages based on the defendant’s degree of culpability, severity of the harm and the goal of deterring others from like conduct. (S.C. Code § 15-32-520(E)).
Wrongful Death by Police Officer Statistics
According to Mapping Police Violence, in 2022, there were 1,238 deaths at the hands of police. Police killings are on the rise, with 75 more deaths in 2022 than 2021.
Law enforcement is meant to protect the health and safety of the public. Too often, law enforcement causes harm. When law enforcement causes a wrongful death, families are left searching for answers and justice.
Example of wrongful death from civil rights violations – Walter Scott
In 2015, police officers shot and killed Walter Lamar Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina. The officer fired eight shots at the victim from behind. The officer later said that the victim grabbed his taser, but video evidence proved that wasn’t true.
The officer is serving 20 years in prison. The City of North Charleston paid $6.5 million to settle the civil case against them.
The names of victims of wrongful death from civil rights violations are too common. Tyre Nichols, George Floyd, and Patrick Lyoya are known throughout the United States. The families of victims need attorneys to stand up for their loved ones and pursue justice.
Offenders must be held accountable for their actions. The skilled legal team at Shealey Law Firm can fight back against law enforcement’s tactics and their attempts to avoid responsibility for what they have done.
Free Consultations with a Civil Rights Violation Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one has died because of law enforcement, or if they are the victim of a hate crime, we are truly sorry. At Shealey Law Firm, we are knowledgeable and experienced in handling difficult cases. Our team wants to represent you when you are facing the devastating experience of losing a loved one because of law enforcement or a hate crime.
We invite you to speak with our team at no cost and no obligation. Talk to a wrongful death attorney to explore your options, learn how to receive compensation and ultimately, how to honor your loved one by pursuing justice. Reach out today to talk to our legal team. We look forward to meeting you.
FAQs About Civil Rights Violations and Wrongful Death
What are police wrongful death settlements?
Police wrongful death settlements are compensation paid to the family when the police wrongfully take someone’s life. It is the result of surviving family members taking legal action to hold law enforcement accountable for an unjustified killing.
How do you file a lawsuit against a police department?
Most police departments have a process for citizens to submit internal complaints. However, that is not enough to receive compensation for what has occurred. To file a lawsuit against a police department, you must prepare and submit legal documents to the appropriate court. There is a time deadline.
(See the City of Columbia Police Department misconduct reporting procedure.)
What are the consequences of police misconduct and unethical behavior?
If a police officer commits misconduct or ethical behavior, they may face criminal charges, loss of their job and civil penalties. The police department they work for may be liable for their actions. In addition, police misconduct has a consequence for all of society because it interferes with peace, justice and the equal administration of the law.
What is a police misconduct wrongful death settlement worth?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, settlements for police misconduct and wrongful death range from $50,000 to $5.75 million. An average award exceeds $650,000.