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What Evidence is Necessary to Bring a Police Brutality Lawsuit in Maine?

— July 8, 2022

Civil cases against police officers and their employers are for monetary compensation.

Portland, MEPolice brutality is a serious matter where a person is harmed by an abuse of authority. When this happens, the victim has the right to bring a lawsuit, but they must also be able to prove that the officer acted outside the boundaries of acceptable conduct and actually did something illegal. In most cases, this is because the officer became violent during an interaction, but there are also other types of police misconduct that are legally actionable. Anyone who has questions about whether they have a legitimate lawsuit against a local police department in Portland or other cities in Maine should meet with an attorney who focuses on these issues. 

Aspects of legitimate lawsuits against the police

For a victim to bring a police brutality case and have a chance at prevailing, they should have clear evidence that the officer committed some kind of violation of standard operating procedures meant to protect the public. This can include excessive use of force against a suspect, illegal arrests, or engaging in criminal activities against the person. If a person was legitimately arrested and detained, they cannot bring a lawsuit merely because they are upset at having to face criminal charges, even if the case is later dismissed or the person is found not guilty. The relevant civil rights laws that allow the government and police to be sued say that the actor must have used their authority in some kind of illegitimate way that deprived the person of their legally protected rights. 

Forms of evidence of police brutality

Types of evidence that tend to be most helpful are video recordings, pictures, witness testimony, documents that prove illegal activity, or anything else that clearly shows the officer’s actions. Officers in many departments in Maine and other states now have to wear body cameras that should capture their interactions while they are on duty. It is common for bystanders to film interactions with the police, and there may be surveillance footage available from local businesses. It is most helpful if the evidence clearly shows the officer engaging in excessive force or some other kind of illegal activity, which would leave little room to defend against the claims in the lawsuit. 

Remedies available to victims

Gavel on copy of lawsuit; image by Wirestock, via
Gavel on copy of lawsuit; image by Wirestock, via

Civil cases against police officers and their employers are for monetary compensation. This is paid out in a settlement or after a successful jury verdict. The compensation amount tends to reflect the person’s losses such as medical costs as well as lost income. 

Finding local legal help lists lawyers in each state organized by practice area. Anyone who needs to meet with a police brutality attorney in Maine or other parts of the country can choose their location and a practice area to get started. 

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