California law enforcement officers are only authorized to use force that corresponds to situational demands. When a police officer negligently discharges his or her weapon, applies an improper submission hold, or uses excessive force that results in death, the victim’s family has the right to bring a wrongful death claim as well an action for the violation of the victim’s civil rights.
42 U.S.C. §1983, allows individuals to bring suit in federal court for civil rights violations. Our law firm is experienced in handling wrongful death claims against government entities and can help your family enforce its right to justice in a police misconduct wrongful death case.
If you have lost a loved one due to the misconduct of a police officer or state trooper, call us to discuss your case. Arrange a free consultation by calling us at (415) 981-7210 or contact the Walkup firm online.
Handling Fatal Police Brutality Cases Across California
The consequences of police misconduct can be grave.
Wrongful shootings as well as “less lethal” weapons like Tasers and Mace have caused many deaths. Certain methods of restraint and transportation have also been linked to fatalities.
The California police misconduct lawyers at Walkup Melodia understand what it takes to tackle a case against the police, sheriff or highway patrol. Whether a death results from inadequate training, negligence or conscious abuse of authority, our police brutality wrongful death team has been there before.
Because of special procedural rules, statutes of limitations and governmental immunities, bringing suit against governmental actors such as the police requires special experience. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our governmental liability group has a deep understanding of the special claims procedures and liability hurdles that face a plaintiff bringing a police misconduct action.
Drawing on a wealth of experience, our attorneys strive to achieve justice for those whose loved ones died unnecessary and tragic deaths while in police custody.
Police Misconduct Wrongful Death Lawsuit Case Studies
Police Misconduct — $1.5 Million Settlement
Our wrongful death specialists negotiated a settlement in the amount of $1.5 million against a local police department for the wrongful death of a bank executive who was mistakenly arrested for being drunk in public. In fact, the decedent had fallen and suffered a subdural hematoma. Under the police department’s policy at the time, “suspected drunks” were placed in holding cells until they sobered up. When the deceased could not be roused after five hours in a district station, medical personnel were summoned, but it was too late to prevent his death from global brain damage.
Police Shooting — Wrongful Death Settlement
Our wrongful death attorneys obtained a settlement on behalf of the surviving parents of a 20-year-old woman who was killed by police gunfire while she sat in the back seat of her car. Police had stopped the vehicle to speak with her boyfriend, who was seated alongside her. The police claimed that the vehicle was moving, in an attempt to escape, when shots were fired. Our wrongful death team proved, through the use of expert witnesses, that the vehicle was not moving and that the police violated their internal shooting manuals, as well as standard police training, in discharging their weapons at the unarmed vehicle occupants.
Highway Patrol Chase — Wrongful Death Jury Verdict
Our wrongful death police liability specialists obtained a jury verdict in Santa Clara Superior Court against the California Highway Patrol for the death of a husband and father resulting from a high-speed chase that covered more than 50 miles. Our attorneys brought suit against the Highway Patrol after they chased a suspect from Contra Costa, across the Golden Gate Bridge, down Highway 280, to San Jose, where he collided with the decedent’s car as he headed home from work. Our attorneys demonstrated that the CHP officers violated internal policy and procedure manuals and exposed the public to great danger by instigating a high-speed chase when the “suspect” was wanted for nothing more than a traffic violation. (As a result of this verdict, the Legislature changed state law to immunize police departments from chase liability.)
Contact Our Bay Area Wrongful Death Law Firm
If you have suffered serious bodily injury or have experienced the wrongful death of a loved one as the result of police brutality, look to our experienced California attorneys at the office of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger — the specialists in police brutality wrongful death cases.
We are well-versed in the laws governing the use of excessive force and other types of misconduct. Our legal team can help you understand your rights and explore your options if those rights have been violated by a police officer.
To arrange a free consultation about your police brutality case, call us at (415) 981-7210 or contact the Walkup firm online.