I was arrested on a false warrant that turned out to be for someone from another state, and born 4 years before me. At approximately 10:00pm on April 17th I was handcuffed, illegally searched, never read my rights, and kidnapped by Trenton Police, beaten and taken to headquarters. One police officer choked me and slammed my head into a cinder block wall twice. I went to the hospital immediately within 1 hour of being released from Trenton Police Headquarters and made sure to take pictures of all the marks the police left on my body. I have a doctor and medical reports to corroborate my story. The police left bright red handcuff marks on my wrists and marks from the choking on my neck. Not to mention the piles of evidence collected by the squad car cameras of the Trenton police. How can I obtain this photo/video evidence. How can I get the names and badge numbers of the officers who falsely arrested me. Based on this information, do i have a good chance of winning if i take legal action?
Violent Crime Lawyer
I do not practice in New Jersey. My answer applies general legal principles that are applicable in all states. To get legal advice, contact an experienced civil rights attorney in your area.
Generally speaking, in order to ever file a lawsuit against a government entity, you must file a claim form with that entity within a limited period of time. You should immediately contact the city government of Trenton and request a claim form and promptly file it. Generally, failure to file a timely government claim bars you from recovering anything.
Your situation presents two questions:
(1) Was the police mistake in believing you were the person named in the warrant a reasonable error? While the warrant ultimately proved to be for someone else, the police may claim they have a valid reason for believing the person was you. For example, if the description or photo of the wanted person was very similar to you, if their name is identical to yours, or if you refused to provide ID, the arrest could be a reasonable error.
(2) Were the police justified in using the force you described? Generally speaking, police are not entitled to use unreasonable force to arrest a suspect. If, however, the suspect resists arrest, the officers may use reasonable force to subdue the suspect. Often, when a suspect is injured, the police will claim that the force was necessary because the suspect resisted arrest. Police should have training in specific methods of using force that are most likely to subdue a resisting suspect with minimal injury risk. Choking a suspect or beating the suspects head on a wall sound well outside the normal parameters of reasonable force.
The most likely way to obtain the information you are seeking is to hire an experienced civil rights lawyer, who will know the appropriate discovery procedures to obtain the information, and will know how to best evaluate your chances for success in the lawsuit.