The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is meant to protect citizens from unlawful searches and arrests conducted by police officers.
Just this past week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Manuel v. City of Joliet, that a criminal suspect who is arrested and detained absent probable cause, and whose pretrial detention lasts for several weeks before the prosecutor dismisses the case against him, has the right to bring a § 1983 claim based on a Fourth Amendment violation.
As I was preparing to give a talk at a Minneapolis event regarding community and police officer relations, it dawned on me that the excessive force test that the U.S. Supreme Court laid out in the landmark case of Graham v. O’Connor not only provides the basic legal framework for deciding an excessive force case, but also provides a very practical guide for citizens seeking to avoid deadly encounters with law enforcement.
The U.S Supreme Court recently issued a decision making it more difficult for police misconduct victims to successfully sue law enforcement. The case of White v. Pauly dealt with the qualified immunity doctrine and under what circumstances it applies to protect police officers from lawsuits.