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CHICAGO Police Misconduct
and Excessive Force ATTORNEYS

For the past several decades, police misconduct has been a real problem in Chicago. If you have been threatened, assaulted, or have otherwise had your rights violated by a police officer in Chicago, you may have the right to receive financial compensation. Just because police officers are employed by the government does not mean they are above the law. Our Chicago police misconduct and excessive force attorneys can help you file a lawsuit to receive the full damages you deserve to receive from the Chicago Police Department, and to help you make things right. 

What Constitutes Police Misconduct? 

Some people may feel as though they are not treated fairly by police, but that does not necessarily mean they were a victim of misconduct. For example, a police officer may tell a driver they suspect of drunk driving that they are required to submit to a field sobriety test. Although this is not true, it does not constitute police misconduct. In order for police misconduct to occur, a law enforcement officer or agent of the state must violate a civilian’s rights. Some common examples of police misconduct include: 

  • Police excessive force: Excessive force occurs when a police officer uses force that is greater than reasonably necessary to carry out their lawful duties.  Examples include Taser deployment or beating of civilians who are handcuffed or who otherwise pose no threat. Police excessive force also includes police-involved shootings, where the officer uses deadly force against a civilian when such force was not reasonably necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. 
  • Dangerous high-speed police pursuits: A dangerous high-speed police pursuit occurs when an officer chases after a vehicle for a minor violation, thus exposing members of the public to unnecessary risk. Many high speed police pursuits end in crashes in which innocent victims are injured or killed. 
  • False arrest: A false arrest occurs when a civilian is arrested or restrained without legal justification. If you have been arrested and the officer had no reason to suspect that you committed a crime, it could be a case of false arrest. 
  • Falsifying evidence: When a police officer falsifies evidence, they forge, fabricate, or otherwise manufacture evidence that support their allegations that you have committed a crime, even when the evidence is not necessarily real. 
  • Unlawful search and seizures: Under the Fourth Amendment, you have the right to be free from unlawful search and seizures. This means an officer must have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime and in most cases, they must obtain a search warrant before searching your property. Officers are also very limited in the scope of seizures, and what they can take. 
  • Intimidating tactics: Officers sometimes use intimidating tactics to make you fearful or to coerce you into going against your better judgment. Intimidation can involve verbal threats, encroaching on your personal space, or limiting your movement or freedom. They do this to get you to consent to certain tactics, such as a search, or so you will admit to an offense. 
  • Police brutality: Police brutality occurs when an officer uses unwarranted, unnecessary, or excessive physical force and by doing so, violates your rights. 
  • Perjury: If a police officer lies while under oath to gain an advantage in a criminal proceeding, this is known as perjury and is a criminal offense. 
  • Racial profiling: When a police officer discriminates against or targets an individual or group of people due to their nationality, race, religion, or other personal characteristic, it is racial profiling. 
  • Witness tampering: Witness tampering occurs when a police officer tries to influence a witness as part of a criminal case. This can involve intimidating witnesses so they do not testify, or bribing them into giving false testimony. 

Our team of attorneys have helped many victims of police misconduct obtain compensation. Our attorneys helped obtain a $8,500,000 verdict for a family whose 18-year-old son was shot by a Chicago police officer. We also obtained $1,300,000 for a family whose son was killed in an auto accident while a felon was fleeing from the Chicago police. 

How Often Does Police Misconduct Happen in Chicago? 

Police misconduct is, sadly, rampant throughout Chicago. Between the years of 1988 and 2018, there were over 250,000 complaints reported. Of these, only 17,130 resulted in some form of disciplinary action. According to the government, the majority of these claims were without proof and were not substantiated. Victims know better, though, and know that when a complaint is made, it is very likely that police misconduct occurred. 

This is one of the biggest problems in cases involving police misconduct. It is often the victim’s word against the word of the officer. Unless there is incredibly strong evidence that misconduct occurred, the government will likely side with law enforcement. More and more, video evidence is available, and our attorneys will work to urgently identify and obtain any available video footage, including surveillance footage or officer body-worn camera footage. 

How Can Our Experienced Attorneys Help if You Have Been a Victim of Police Misconduct? 

When filing a complaint or lawsuit based on police misconduct, it may seem as though everyone is against you. The offending officer is highly unlikely to admit that they acted inappropriately, and the government will also take their side and act as though they do not want you to obtain the justice you deserve. It is for this reason that it is so critical that you work with an experienced attorney. When working with our firm, we will handle many tasks to build you a strong case. These include: 

  • Conduct a thorough investigation into the act of police misconduct 
  • Collect evidence to support your claims that a law enforcement officer violated your rights and abused their position of authority 
  • Review the personnel file of the officer to determine if they have a history of misconduct 
  • Subpoena witnesses, such as government staff and other police officers, and depose them to learn important information related to your case 
  • Communicate with the Chicago Police Department on your behalf 
  • Consult with specialists and police misconduct experts throughout the entire process 
  • Negotiate aggressively on your behalf to secure a fair settlement on your behalf 
  • Prepare you and your case for a police misconduct trial and argue your case before a jury 

After being a victim of police misconduct and excessive force, you will suffer from physical and mental injuries. We will handle every aspect of your case while you focus on getting better. 

Steps to Take if You are the Victim of Police Misconduct in Chicago 

The steps you take after experiencing police misconduct can greatly help your case. The most important things to do are as follows: 

  • Write down everything that happened and your recollection of the events that transpired. Your memories may fade over time and even an honest mistake can hurt your credibility. 
  • Identify any witnesses and ask them for their names and contact information. 
  • If you were physically injured, visit an emergency room. This will protect your safety and well-being and document your injuries. 
  • File a complaint with the City of Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability online, in person, or by personally visiting the office. 

After taking these steps, or while you are still in the process, it is essential that you speak with an attorney who will be on your side and advocate for your rights. 

Call Our Police Misconduct and Excessive Force Attorneys in Chicago Today 

If you or someone you love has been the victim of police misconduct, you need someone on your side. At Kennedy Watkins, our Chicago police misconduct and excessive force attorneys will fight to ensure your rights are upheld and help you make things right. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will meet with you wherever you are located in the state. Call us now at (312) 448-8181 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options. 


About Police Misconduct Claims in Illinois


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Kennedy and Watkins were referred to myself and my husband by another attorney. From the very first conversation we knew we made the right choice. Everything was always communicated from the beginning to the end which made the process smooth and in the end we were extremely satisfied with the results of our case.

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