Real World Examples of False Arrest Are Everywhere
We hear stories of false arrests all the time. Many have to do with racial or ethnic profiling, or just poor and hasty police work conducted by law enforcement. False arrests happen all the time, which means its important to understand when there may be a false arrest claim that can lead to a damage award.
False Arrest Happens All the Time
A recent report about a black gym owner in Detroit who was arrested inside his gym on suspicion of being a wanted bank robber. The owner says that officers walked in, arrested him, and took him to the police station, without explanation. The owner says that it should have been obvious from police photos, that he did not look anything like the suspect.
In Indiana, a bird watcher was stopped by an officer for acting “suspicious.” The officer had a gun and a police dog. The officer demanded the man’s drivers license, told him he was not free to leave, but would give a reason for why the man was being detained. It was later learned that the man was birdwatching near that officer’s residence, which is what made the officer stop the man. The man is suing on the basis that there was no probable cause to detain him.
The State of Florida is being sued by up to 20 people who say that they were falsely arrested by officers from a county sheriff’s office. An officer falsified a test to show that a man’s laundry detergent tested positive for heroin, and the officer had conducted a number of similar false tests on otherwise legal substances, to arrest people on drug charges.
In all of these cases, the men were released without being charged. Nonetheless, they are all likely victims of false arrest.
Although false arrest implies an arrest, the action comes from a longstanding wrong called false imprisonment. False imprisonment does not actually require someone be imprisoned or arrested. Anytime someone wrongfully confines someone or detains someone, there is false imprisonment. When done by law enforcement, it becomes false arrest, and because law enforcement is the government, there is also a potential violation of someone’s 4th amendment rights.
For your freedom of movement to be restricted by a law enforcement officer, there must be probable cause. What is and what is not probable cause is a detailed, factual analysis based on the facts of your situation.
You also must have a reasonable belief that you are not free to leave, or that you have no choice but to do what law enforcement is asking of you. If a court finds you consented to being restrained, or you volunteered to remain detained, there would be no false arrest.
Even non-law enforcement can be liable for false arrest, if there is a close affiliation with government. Examples may be a contracted private security agency providing security to a prison, a school, or courthouse.
Have you been arrested wrongfully, or without cause? Contact the Alabama police misconduct attorneys at Lasseter Law Firm today to discuss whether you have a cause of action for damages.