What action (legal or not) should I take against a police department that illegally searched my car ?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Itasca, IL

My car was illegally searched while I was waiting, along with a co-worker, for our friend to come out of a Burger King in Maywood, IL. There was no probable cause (plain sight view, odor, or fugitive gesture rule), or traffic violation(s) to merit this action. The K-9 truck blocked me from behind while I was parked ,called for back-up, asked for license and registration, and detained us. I fully cooperated with his demands, they then arrested my co-worker for a warrant. They searched the entire vehicle (including trunk) found nothing illegal or incriminating to arrest me for. The head of the K-9 unit says "I don't want to ever see you in f#@#@ Maywood ever again." I know my 4th Amendment right was definitely violated and wish to pursue action against these police officers.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Joshua Sachs

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . "I know my 4th Amendment right was definitely violated . . . "

    A lawyer might not be so confident based on what you have told us. You tell us your conclusion that the police had no probable cause but several aspects of your narrative suggest that this perception is one that a judge might not share. I agree with my colleague that there are attorneys who concentrate in civil rights litigation and that you should contact one for an evaluation of your case and advice on what your options are. You could try searching for an Illinois or Cook County civil rights attorney on Avvo.

    You will want to consider the timing, at least, of any action that you take. Your hope to recover financially from the police department might be a factor undermining your credibility should you have to be a witness for your friend in a criminal case.

    Run this situation past a civil rights specialist. Good luck.

  2. Charles Gregory Schierer

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . Sorry to hear about your situation. You should contact a civil rights attorney. Claims against the police for illegal searches are brought under 42 USC 1983. These types of claims are very difficult to prevail on. Best of luck.


    Charles Schierer

    www.srtriallawyers.com. You may hire our firm by calling 1-312-888-5832. Personal Injury cases on a... more
  3. Louis Joseph Meyer


    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . When you say "fully cooperated" did they ask for and did you give them consent to search? If you said go ahead and search, you have no cause of action. Also, what are your damages?

  4. Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You attempt a monumental task that will have to be proven by your as Plaintiff in a federal action. Although the issues you described in your opinion were actionable, it is my professional view that you have a hard case to prove.

    DISCLAIMER The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general... more

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