To expand a bit on Ms. Berjis response, if the city hasn't acted on your claim it is deemed to be denied by operation of law after 45 days, which means you can then file a lawsuit. The city also has to send a denial letter with certain language required by statute in order to trigger the 6 month statute of limitations. If they fail to send such a letter the statute of limitations is two years. The claims filing requirement relates to state causes of action, and civil rights lawsuits typically also include state claims in addition to the civil rights claims. The statute of limitations for a civil rights lawsuit is two years. You should consult with an attorney experienced in police related cases if you intend to pursue such a lawsuit. Be aware that cities often aggressively defend such claims (that was always the policy in the cities I represented, and we even had one case go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was Muehler v Mena decided in 2005...). In any event, use the Find a Lawyer tab on Avvo to find an attorney in your area to consult with. Best of luck to you...
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The city must act on the claim within 45 days after the claim has been presented. (NOTE: A claim is "presented" when it is placed in the mail, NOT when it is received by the city. And, mailing extends any period of duty to respond by 5 days, if the address is in California.) The city's failure to take action on the claim within 45 days is, by operation of law, deemed rejection of the claim. (See California Government Code section 912.4. et seq.) So, if you have not heard back from the city by the applicable deadline, and you want to be on the safe side, then file your lawsuit, in the Superior Court of California, within six (6) months from that deadline. And, to answer your other question, another "deadline" to keep in mind is statute of limitations to file an action in federal court.
Ms. Berjis is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and thus this answer is for informational and educational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice. Since all facts are not addressed in the question, this answer could change depending on other significant and important facts. This answer in no way constitutes an attorney-client relationship.
You should bring all of the facts and evidence to a civil rights attorney who has successfully sued police officers and or police departments. After such a lawyer has all of the facts, he or she can make sure that you meet all of the deadlines and let you know if you have a case worth pursuing in court.