while attending a protest at a university (which was peaceful), I was handcuffed by the campus police and placed in a county sheriff's vehicle. This was done because I was leading the protestors in chants. The deputy took me around the corner to the university administration building, where I was uncuffed and told to make a statement. Which I did (without being read my rights) I was then released without being charged. I know I have false arrest/false imprisonment. Additionally I have a violation of my constitutional right to free speech. There are also media reports indicating I was arrested and waiting to be charged which defame and humiliate me. What other charges might I have and which court , do I file my claim in?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I am affiliated with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education as a network referral attorney. (I recently filed suit against another university for constitutional violations.)
You should consider contacting them (www.thefire.org). Also, I encourage you to give me a call at my office at 419-725-9300. My firm's website can be visited at www.francelawgroup.net.
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Despite what you think you "know" it’s not clear on the facts you posted if you have any grounds to raise any claim (nothing you posted is a slam-dunk for any violation or even a complaint).
Couple thoughts: The police enjoy qualified immunity in suit. The municipality likely complete immunity. You did not identify any damages and therefore nothing to recover. The actions of police would have to be so egregious so as to ‘shock the conscience’ of civilized society if you were to recover punitive damages.
Finally, the police will likely have a different version of events.
All that said--see a local civil rights attorney before you waste your time filing a complaint. BTW, if you DO have grounds to file a complaint, your window of opportunity is VERY short--likely less than 6 months after the event. Don’t delay in seeing a local attorney.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.
You should not attempt to file and litigate a civil claim of this type without an experienced attorney. This type of cases are very difficult and require an attorney willing to put in a significant amount of work into the factual research, legal research, and discovery process.
If this case is serious enough for you to pursue, then it is serious enough for you to search for a civil rights attorney to represent you in the long and difficult battle.
It appears you were not actually imprisoned or arrested since you were released. Your Miranda rights only apply if in custody and being interrogated by the police. The sole remedy to a miranda violation is exclusion of your statement at trial if your charged. Your right to free speech is not absolute and therefore may not have been violated. For example when various organizations want to hold protests it is not unconstitutional to require a permit to be obtained. You should consult a civil rights attorney privately but keep in mind you have to prove damages which is very difficult and false imprisonment is very difficult to prove since most places have qualified or absolute immunity and to pierce that you have to show over reaching by the individual.
Attorney Chris Beck
Beck Law Office, L.L.C.
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