If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to police brutality, contact the Sam Bernstein Law Firm to get the compensation you deserve.


If you or a loved one were injured by federal, state, county, or local law enforcement and you believe that your injury resulted from their excessive force or abuse of authority, contact us as soon as possible to get in touch with the best police brutality lawyers in Michigan. We are Michigan's most experienced personal injury law firm with over 800 years of combined legal experience. Our team of police brutality lawyers are ready to begin fighting for the compensation you deserve.

We expect police to work hard to prevent crime and keep us safe. The vast majority of police officers are dedicated to protecting the public. We are immensely grateful to these law enforcement professionals.

However, there are law enforcement officials who ignore their sworn duty when they violate the rights of law-abiding citizens. In these situations, the innocent victim may have the right to make a legal claim against the abusive officer(s) and the police department where they work. It can be difficult for a victim of police brutality to come forward with their claim, as they may fear they will not be taken seriously because the perpetrator is a police officer.



Police brutality is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

There are several different forms of police brutality that may occur, including the use of excessive force. While police officers are typically allowed to use whatever force is needed to defend themselves or make an arrest, there are some instances where it crosses a line and unreasonably injures someone.

An office can be liable for police brutality if that officer unreasonably uses a taser that severely injures or hurts someone, or if they use attack dogs to seriously injure someone. It may also be police brutality if an officer unreasonably restrains someone. Additionally, it can be considered police brutality for an officer to rape or sexually assault someone.


Police brutality may result in multiple types of injuries. There may be physical injuries, such as bruises, sprains or strains, and lacerations. You may also suffer more serious injuries, which may include spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, brain injuries, and broken bones. Emotional trauma, such as PTSD or an ongoing fear of police officers, can also occur from police brutality.

It is important to act fast in cases involving police brutality. You may be able to preserve video evidence of the attack if you request it right away. Additionally, it is a good idea to speak to any witnesses who may have seen the incident. Of course, your top priority should be seeking any necessary medical treatment. Your medical records may be admissible in court to help prove your case.


A tort is a term used in civil court for a legal wrong.

In police brutality cases, you are bringing forward a claim in civil court for personal injuries due to the police officer’s actions. There are also cases where a police officer violates your constitutional rights. These cases are a bit different. Your attorney will go over the facts of your case with you to ensure that you are bringing the proper claim.



Police have broad authority to carry out their duties, as they should. Nevertheless, there are limits to these powers. Legal claims for police brutality or abuse may arise when law enforcement officials go beyond the limits of their authority and cause needless injury.

The following are some of the types of legal claims arising from police brutality or abuse in Michigan:

  • Excessive Force
  • False Arrest or Imprisonment
  • Malicious Prosecution
  • Unreasonable Search
  • Rights of Pre-Trial Detainees



Police only may use the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to carry out their lawful duties. Whether force is "excessive" depends on the reason why police attempted to stop or arrest an individual, the way that the person responded to police requests or demands, and the circumstances surrounding the encounter.

Thus, it might be reasonable for law enforcement officers to physically grab and restrain a person who was armed, committed a violent crime, or physically resisted arrest. Police could do this based on a reasonable belief that the individual posed immediate danger, even if their belief was wrong.

However, police may use no more force than necessary. They should not hit, rough up, or otherwise hurt a person who is unarmed, acts in a non-threatening manner, and follows their directions.

Even if a person is aggressive, police must stop using force as soon as they restrain the individual.

Thus, any legal claim for "excessive force" must be based on injury resulting from force beyond whatever was necessary.


This claim arises when police take an individual into custody, without an arrest warrant and without "probable cause." An officer would have "probable cause" if he or she actually saw the person commit a serious crime or had a reasonable belief that the person had or was just about to commit a serious crime.

The reasonableness of the officer’s belief is based on the information available at the time of the arrest, even if it turns out to be wrong.

When police lack this legal justification, the person taken into custody may have a claim for false arrest.


An individual may be the victim of "malicious prosecution" when a law enforcement official begins a criminal proceeding, without "probable cause," but with malice toward the victim, and the criminal proceeding ends in the victim’s favor (without a conviction).

This claim arises because the law states that no one should be subjected to the extreme emotional stress, embarrassment, and financial expense often involved in a criminal prosecution that lacks a legitimate basis.


In recent years, the U.S. Congress and Courts have responded to terrorist attacks, drug trafficking, and school violence, by expanding police powers.

Thus, law enforcement officers may ask every person for identification, and may check for weapons, at airports, schools, and other public buildings.

In addition, police can stop a person in any public place, if the officer has "reasonable suspicion" that a crime was committed and that person committed it. During this kind of non-custodial stop, the officer may do a "pat-down" search to make sure the individual is not carrying a weapon.

There still are occasions when law enforcement officers go beyond their authority, and a search becomes "unreasonable." The situations that may be the basis of a legal claim include:

  • Police enter and search an individual’s home without permission, without a warrant and without the presence of emergency, or "exigent," circumstances
  • Police do a body cavity search, or "strip search," of a person who is not under arrest, or who was arrested for a misdemeanor



Even if police have a lawful basis to make an arrest, the individual may have a legal claim for injury that occurs in the detention facility or jail. At that point, law enforcement officials have complete control over the detainee. Therefore, they have an obligation to promptly determine his or her physical and psychological needs, provide proper medical treatment, food, and shelter, and protect the detainee from other inmates.

Injury resulting from neglect during pre-trial detention may be the basis for a legal claim against the law enforcement agency that operated the facility.

If you or a loved one were injured by federal, state, county, or local law enforcement and you believe that your injury resulted from their excessive force or abuse of authority, contact us as soon as possible.


In every police abuse case, the first critical issue is whether or not the officers were doing their job properly, or had a reasonable belief that they were doing so at that time. This defense is sufficient to defeat the claim, even if the victim suffered severe emotional distress.

Proof that the law enforcement officers were careless or negligent is not enough to prevailin this type of case. Instead, the victim must have evidence that police knew they were acting in an unreasonable or unlawful manner, and intentionally caused injury.

Only an experienced attorney can handle a police brutality case. To make a proper claim, the attorney must investigate all the relevant evidence and evaluate the circumstances surrounding the police conduct and the victim’s injuries.

If you or a loved one were injured by federal, state, county, or local law enforcement and you believe that your injury resulted from their excessive force or abuse of authority, contact us as soon as possible.

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