One of the primary goals and functions of the U.S. Constitution is to safeguard the rights and liberties of private citizens against unreasonable intrusions by the government, including the police. The protections that we enjoy under the Constitution include the right to be free from the abuse of police power, such as unlawful and unwarranted searches and the use of excessive force by the police. Despite these protections, the police and the government sometimes abuse their power by using excessive force against citizens or by taking other harmful actions in violation of their civil and constitutional rights. The Law Office of J. Clay McCaslin is committed to representing victims of police brutality and individuals who have been subjected to violations of their civil rights at the hands of police or other government wrongdoers. While the vast majority of police officers are good people performing a difficult job, unfortunately, some police officers have decided to use their authority to abuse and intimidate private citizens in violation of their Constitutional rights. Many people believe that they have no recourse when they are the victims of police brutality or other police misconduct. Fortunately, this is not true. In this country, when police officers abuse the rights of citizens, they should be held accountable for their actions in a court of law. Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a private citizen may bring a civil action against any public official or government employee who deprives a person of his or her constitutional rights. Under this statute, commonly known simply as “Section 1983,” a person may seek various forms of relief for violations of his or her constitutional rights by a public official, including injunctive relief and monetary damages. In addition, if the claim is successful, the plaintiff may be entitled to reimbursement of his or her attorney fees and legal costs. In recent years, the City of Portland has seen its share of problems with the use of excessive force by some of its officers. Unfortunately, a number of citizens have actually lost their lives because of these encounters. Several of these police-related deaths have resulted in notable civil rights cases against the City of Portland and its individual officers. In 2009, this firm obtained a unanimous federal jury verdict against former Portland Police Officer Ronald Frashour for his use of excessive force against one of our clients in a civil rights case entitled Waterhouse vs. Frashour. If you or someone you know has been a victim of excessive force, illegal search, or other wrongful conduct by the police, call the Law Office of J. Clay McCaslin today to schedule a consultation.