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I believe I was wrongfully arrested/detained by police without

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having committed a crime. If...
I believe I was wrongfully arrested/detained by police without having committed a crime. If no formal charges were filed and I was let go can I still pursue legal action?
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Legal
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2/23/2010
Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 7 years ago
JD
JD, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1,335
Experience: Over 11 years in practice as a litigator ... civil and criminal
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It depends. Why were you taken into custody and why were you released? Also, what county/city was this in?
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
I was handcuffed and detained in the back of a police car in Knoxville/Knox County after they pulled my friend over. I was not asked to identify myslef in any way and at the time was talking to one of the officers present, there were a total of four, in regaurds to why they had stopped my friend. In the process of gathering information for my friend's defense an investigator reviewed the video tape from the police car and stated the officer that detained me exhibited deplorable behavior.
Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 7 years ago
What did they define as "deplorable"?
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

the officer used a harsh tone when addressing me, was forceful when applying handcuffs, and was forced to sit in the back of the car in cuffs until the officers had spoken with my friend and issued a field sobriety test to him, despite needing to use the restroom which resulted in the soiling of my pants, which was humiliating, and myself crying.

Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 7 years ago

Did the officer ever say you are under arrest? Were you transported anywhere or were you released at the scene? I am sorry to ask this last question, but it matters.... had you been drinking?

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

I was released on the scene by a different officer than the one who had originally placed me in handscuffs, despite the original officer arguing with him to "take me in".

I am not sure if I was told I was under arrest or not, but was not read miranda rights or anything, and no I had not been drinking.

Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 7 years ago

Thank you for the responses.

 

You have a potential lawsuit here that could involve several claims that range from false imprisonment, false arrest, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of your civil rights. These lawsuits could pose liability upon the officer personally and if you can show sufficient fault on the department you may even be able to pierce governmental immunity and sue the city.

 

Before you get to the hyper technical legal details of a lawsuit, you need to take the video to a local civil attorney and let them review it. Preferably you want a lawyer with experience in civil rights litigation and/or false arrest and malicious prosecution. These are complicated matters when attempted against the government and experience helps. If the attorney feels your case is worth pursuing then you will probably be able to work out a contingent fee agreement where the attorney fee will come out of the recovery... if any.

 

So I can tell you there is a potential case here based on what you've said. However, I have not seen the tape and cannot give you a good basis for my opinion except that it is entirely based on your assessment of the video and the officer's conduct. If an independent review of the video shows you acting in an agitated state on the roadside to the point of endangering the safety of the officers who are attempting to investigate a suspected DUI, then your temporary detention would likely be valid and even with a rude officer you would not likely have a good lawsuit. Further, if your conduct rose to the level of Disorderly Conduct then you could have been arrested and their decision to release you would simply be good fortune... not grounds for a lawsuit. Here is the law in Tennessee on Disorderly Conduct...

 

39-17-305. Disorderly conduct.

(a) A person commits an offense who, in a public place and with intent to cause public annoyance or alarm:

(1) Engages in fighting or in violent or threatening behavior;

(2) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard or other emergency; or

(3) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.

(b) A person also violates this section who makes unreasonable noise that prevents others from carrying on lawful activities.

(c) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

 

 

So basically you need to take this video and let a couple plaintiff's attorneys look at it. They should immediately give you an assessment of the situation and provide an independent and neutral view of your odds of recovery. Finding a good lawyer is best done by referral (friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc) but if that is not available try www.lawyers.com where you can search by practice area and geographical location. There are even peer review ratings to help you find a lawyer who is well respected in his/her area.

 

Please reply if I can help further.

 

________________________

JD
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Experience: Over 11 years in practice as a litigator ... civil and criminal
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Does it matter that this took place in a McDonalds parking lot not on the side of the road? I have not seen the video, I was only advised by the law firm's investigator that I may want to speak to an attorney. I was also informed that the officers' microphones were not on for the majority of the entire incident, and do not know if that would make a difference?
Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Does it matter that this took place in a McDonalds parking lot not on the side of the road? I have not seen the video, I was only advised by the law firm's investigator that I may want to speak to an attorney. I was also informed that the officers' microphones were not on for the majority of the entire incident, and do not know if that would make a difference?
Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 7 years ago

It does make a difference that it occurred in the McDonald's parking lot as it makes it a bit more difficult for the police to claim they had to secure you to prevent a traffic accident (assuming you were acting erratically). The officer's microphones being inoperable goes both ways as you could claim they deliberately disengaged them to prevent recording their misconduct.... but you won't have the recording of the misconduct. Most video systems have an indicator on the video that shows when the microphones are engaged.

 

________________________

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