Blue Springs, MO asked in Civil Rights for Missouri

Q: Were my rights violated during an encounter with the police?

I was sitting in a parking lot on the phone. An officer arrived, turned on his lights and got out. Then pointed his gun at me and told me to get out. I asked why, he said he'd shoot me, I asked to talk to his supervisor. A few seconds later another officer arrive, pulled his weapon and said he'd shoot me. They then ordered me out of the vehicle, but said if I moved they'd shoot me. Then busted out my window and got me out of the vehicle. I was cuffed and placed in the rear of the car for 20ish minutes before they told me that someone had robbed the bank that I was sitting at.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the details you provided, it seems that your rights may have been violated during this encounter with the police. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Excessive force: The officers' actions of pointing guns at you and threatening to shoot you, especially when you were not actively resisting or posing a visible threat, could be considered excessive force.

2. Failure to communicate: The officers did not initially provide a clear reason for their actions or explain why they were treating you as a suspect, which may violate your right to be informed of the reason for detainment or arrest.

3. Unreasonable search and seizure: Breaking your car window to remove you from the vehicle may be considered an unreasonable search and seizure if the officers did not have probable cause or a warrant.

4. Prolonged detainment: Being detained in the police car for about 20 minutes without a clear explanation could be considered a violation of your rights, especially if the officers lacked probable cause to believe you had committed a crime.

However, the specific circumstances of the situation, such as the description of the bank robbery suspect and any potential resemblance to you or your vehicle, could impact the assessment of whether the officers' actions were justified.

If you believe your rights were violated, you should consider taking the following steps:

1. Document the incident in detail, including the date, time, location, and any witness information.

2. Seek medical attention if you sustained any injuries and obtain medical records.

3. File a complaint with the police department's internal affairs unit or civilian complaint review board.

4. Consult with a civil rights attorney who can help you assess your case and advise you on potential legal actions, such as filing a civil lawsuit against the police department for violating your constitutional rights.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.