June 2011 I was the victim of a stabbing. I was dropped of at the hospital. While I was in the hospital room numerous police officers entered my room. I told them I didnt want to talk to them and asked them to leave my room. They refused and kept harrasing me. More officers came and began taking pictures of my injury agaist my will. I told them over 30 times to leave my room because I only wanted medical personel in there but they refused. They stayed in my room for over 1.5 hours. It got to the point where my nurse pulled out her phone and recorded the police while I kept telling them to please leave but they refused. I feel as though they invaded my privacy. They treated me like I was a suspect but I was the one who got stabbed and was seriously injured.
The victim of a crime does not "own" the crime and does not enjoy the right or power to simply declare it off limits to law enforcement. Someone stabbed you and that person could have moved on to stab someone else. And then someone else and.... You get the idea.
The police could not compel a statement from you, but they did not violate the law by taking an hour and a half to attempt to find out what you knew about the attack and the attacker that would allow them to identify and capture the stabber. An hour and a half is a very reasonable amount of time under those circumstances, most especially given the fact that you were presumably in some degree of disorientation at the time. You can argue this conclusion -- there is certainly room to disagree -- but the conduct of the police department was not so clearly in bad faith or contrary to law as to support a clean civil rights claim.
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In addition to the above answer, if you were stabbed on a property owned by a business, you may have a potential claim against the business for "inadequate security", and you would want to get a personal injury lawyer to look into it.
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I agree with Attorney McCall that your claim would revolve around the reasonable nature of the investigation by law enforcement. They are investigating a serious crime and an hour and a half does not appear to demonstrate unreasonable conduct.
In addition, bringing suit against a public entity, i.e. a police department, may require you to comply with statutory requirements regarding Governmental Immunity. You may have to make a timely claim against such an entity or your case could be barred.
Speak to a attorney in your area that handles Personal Injury. Use Avvo! There are some good attorneys in your town or in nearby Napa.
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, to be construed as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
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