The Civil Rights Act of 1871, now known as 42 U.S.C. § 1983, is one of the most important federal statutes in force in the United States. It was originally enacted a few years after the American Civil War, and consisted of the 1870 Force Act and 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. The statute has been subjected to only minor changes since then, but has been the subject of voluminous interpretation by courts. Section 1983 does not create new civil rights. Instead, it allows individuals to sue persons in federal courts for civil rights violations. To gain federal jurisdiction, i.e., access to a court, the individual must point to a federal civil right that has been allegedly violated. These rights are encoded in the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes.
There are many different types of § 1983 claims mostly surrounding actions taken by police officers or government officials. Examples of such claims, include excessive or unlawful force, wrongful shooting, unreasonable search and seizure, false arrest and false imprisonment.
Municipalities may also be held liable under § 1983. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court held that municipalities could be held liable for constitutional violations by their employees, thus depriving local governments of sovereign immunity and making municipalities “persons” within the meaning of the legislation.
More information about Section 1983 claims, here is a brief overview.
The attorneys of Regan Zambri, and Long have extensive experience in handling claims based on police misconduct. If you have been injured as a result of police misconduct, contact us online for a free consultation.