Denver Civil Rights Attorneys
Individuals who are arrested, detained, or imprisoned have guaranteed constitutional rights that can be protected through legal action. Likewise, protestors who are exercising their constitutional rights may seek redress through the legal system for any infringement of those rights. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we are prepared to help our clients protect their constitutional rights regardless of the circumstances.
Constitutional Rights of Individuals Who Are Arrested, Detained or Imprisoned
Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence for individuals who have been arrested, detained, or imprisoned to have their constitutional rights violated by state authorities. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we are experienced in helping our clients pursue claims involving such violations. Whether you suffered a severe injury when stopped by the police, or were subjected to unreasonable treatment while in jail or prison, we can help. Our team of criminal and civil lawyers can assist you with all aspects of your case.
What Constitutes a Violation of Civil Rights?
The Colorado and U.S. Constitutions guarantee Colorado residents civil rights that protect them from abuse, misconduct, or unlawful discrimination by an arm of the government.
Law enforcement officers operate as government actors when they take official action. If a police officer violates your civil rights while acting “under the color of law,” the Civil Rights Act provides a civil remedy to hold the government liable for your losses. In 2020, Colorado passed the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity Act, which removes qualified immunity for police officers who cause unnecessary injury by using unreasonable force. The law states that “a peace officer who uses excessive force in pursuance of such officer’s law enforcement duties shall be subject to the criminal laws of this state to the same degree as any other citizen.”
Examples of police misconduct include:
- Arresting a suspect without probable cause,
- Coercing a false confession,
- Using excessive force during an arrest, or
- Planting fabricated evidence.
You must also prove that you suffered losses due to the police officer’s misconduct before you can recover compensation in a civil rights claim.
Violation of Civil Rights in Jail or Prison
Inmates retain certain constitutional rights, and violations can occur when those rights are infringed upon. Some common examples of civil rights violations in jail or prison include:
- Use of Excessive Force: Inmates have the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The use of excessive force by correctional officers can constitute a violation of this right.
- Inadequate Medical Care: Inmates have the right to receive adequate medical care, and failure to provide necessary medical attention can be considered a violation of their rights.
Discrimination can be a form of civil rights violation when it involves the unfair and unequal treatment of individuals or groups based on certain characteristics that are protected by civil rights laws. Civil rights are the rights of individuals to be treated equally and to be free from discriminatory practices. Discrimination becomes a civil rights violation when it infringes upon these protected rights by state and local government entities.
Here are some key points on how discrimination is considered a form of civil rights violation:
- Protected Characteristics: Civil rights laws prohibit discrimination based on certain protected characteristics, which may include race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, or other factors. Discriminating against someone on the basis of these characteristics is a violation of their civil rights.
- Equal Protection Under the Law: The concept of equal protection under the law, guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, ensures that individuals are entitled to equal treatment by government entities and public institutions. Discrimination undermines this principle and constitutes a violation of civil rights.
- Anti-Discrimination Laws: Various federal and state laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Fair Housing Act, specifically address and prohibit discrimination in different contexts, including employment, education, housing, public services, and more.
- Denial of Equal Opportunities: Discrimination denies individuals equal opportunities and access to resources, services, or benefits based on factors unrelated to their merit, qualifications, or abilities. This denial is contrary to the principles of civil rights.
- Hostile Environment: Discrimination can create a hostile environment for individuals in the workplace, educational institutions, or public spaces. This can include harassment or unequal treatment that interferes with a person’s ability to fully participate in society.
- Systemic Discrimination: When discriminatory practices are institutionalized or systemic, meaning they are embedded in policies, practices, or structures, it can lead to widespread violations of civil rights on a broader scale.
- Violations of Constitutional Rights: Discrimination can infringe upon constitutional rights, such as the right to equal protection, freedom of association, or freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
When individuals are treated unfairly or unequally based on their protected characteristics, they have the right to seek legal remedies to address the discrimination and hold those responsible accountable. Reporting instances of discrimination to relevant authorities, filing complaints with anti-discrimination agencies, or pursuing legal action are common steps taken by victims of civil rights violations related to discrimination.
How Do I Know If I Have a Civil Rights Case?
You must prove that you suffered a significant injury or incurred a loss, such as loss of freedom or a violation of privacy, when your civil rights were violated. An example of an actionable injury may include:
- Medical bills from your physical injuries,
- Lost wages from being wrongfully detained and missing work, or
- Bills for psychological treatment following the misconduct.
Even though police officers may commit misconduct regularly, you cannot file suit against them for doing so unless you incur some kind of loss.
Constitutional Rights Of Protestors
It is quite common to hear about protestors getting arrested, mistreated, or abused while they exercise their First Amendment rights. While this is illegal and unethical, it also sheds light on the fact that many people are unaware of their protesting rights. Far too often people experience violence and harassment from the police without knowing what their legal rights are. As a result, countless people suffer at the hands of the authorities who are supposed to protect them.
Our civil rights lawyers are committed to advocating for advocates. In other words, we can champion the best interests of those who advocate for a cause or belief. We can help you if you experienced the following situations:
- You were arrested or cited in connection with a protest
- You or others were mistreated or interfered with at a protest
- You or someone you know has been injured at the hands of the police
You should not have to suffer legal consequences and abuse for exercising your constitutional rights. The attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. are here to help you protect your constitutional rights.
Schedule your free case review online or by calling us now!
Any person organizing or participating in a protest should be aware that they have the following rights:
- The right to peaceably assemble in a public venue.
- The right to be free of bodily harm, including being subjected to tear gas, pepper spray or rubber bullets.
- The right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by police officers assigned to a protest.
- The right to counsel if you are arrested or otherwise cited at the protest.
- The right to bring a civil action for any misconduct by police officers at the scene of a protest.
- The right to seek an injunction concerning any unreasonable interference with a protest, or to prevent such interference at future protests.
Why Hire Us?
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we have a long history of protecting the civil rights of our clients. This includes representing those who have been injured at the hands of the police, and those who are exercising their rights to speak out in support of social justice. Attorney Dan Gerash has worked as a criminal defense attorney for 30+ years, and previously practiced with his father, Walter Gerash, a well-known figure in the Colorado civil rights movement. Attorneys Dan Gerash and Michael Blanton both handle a variety of civil rights litigation, including:
- claims of those injured by the police
- claims of those injured while in detention, jail or prison
- claims of those whose rights were infringed by state and local authorities
Our lawyers are concerned with the protection of the civil rights and liberties of our clients. As trial and appellate lawyers, we are the advocates of the underdog. Whether litigating on behalf of those who have been injured at the hands of the police, or representing protestors who are seeking to end such abuse, our mission, foremost, is to defend the constitutional and statutory rights of our clients against illegal governmental conduct.
As representatives for the people, our opponents are almost always institutional entities. We strongly believe in, and proudly enforce, our constitution and the laws guaranteeing the rights and liberties of our clients.
Our mission is to preserve your guaranteed rights and liberties. Fill out our online contact form or call us so we can get started!