Police Misconduct Results in Personal Injury...
I was being held in custody due to an arrest warrant with Wastenaw county, Michigan. I was released on personal bond but had a hold on me for Farmington Hills, Michigan. When I was being extradited back to Farmington Hills, the sergeant had cuffed me super tight.
On the ride back the officer hit a bump in the road causing my thumb to dislocate due to the cuffs being so tight. I mentioned that I was losing circulation in my left thumb and it felt tingly. He pulled over immediately and barely loosened the cuffs. When we arrived at the station I mentioned that I still had no feeling in my thumb, but the officers ignored my comments.
I believe there was some nerve damage done. I'll push on the tendon under my thumb where it connects to the hand and I'll get a severe shooting pain from the bottom of my hand to the tip of my thumb.
It's been approximately 2 weeks now, and I still have little to no feeling in that thumb. The knuckle is still obviously swollen and I have limited movement in the thumb. I was just wondering what can be done about this? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Police Misconduct Results in Personal Injury...":
Robert (Ypsilanti, MI):
Go to your local emergency room. Document your injuries. There is nothing you can do until you know if you have any documentable injuries.
Once you document your injuries you can proceed to the next step. The next step can be a difficult one to overcome. State and Federal police are immune from lawsuits for such things as injuries resulting from handcuffs which may have been unreasonably tight on a suspect.
The police have what is called “Sovereign Immunity”. This means they cannot be sued except under the most serious of circumstances. Those circumstances include massive police brutality, reckless disregard for the life of others, and criminal acts.
The best example of why police officers and their municipalities are exempt from suit could be this:
A police officer is investigating a serious crime and while doing so suddenly finds himself and a third party in danger of serious bodily injury or death.
Suddenly someone pulls out a weapon and aims it at the police officer or the person he is protecting. The police officer reacts and fires his weapon, killing the person who is pointing the weapon.
The officer had no idea who the person was, other than a person who aimed a gun at him. Later, it's determined the person who aimed the gun was not a criminal, but just an innocent party who mistakenly thought he was trying to help the police. The family of the innocent party files a lawsuit and it gets thrown out.
If a police officer has to worry about whether he is going to get sued if he shoots a person by mistake he might hesitate to shoot. That hesitation could cost the police officer his life, and those he is trying to protect.
In other words, as long as a police officer is doing his duty, he can’t be sued for reasonable mistakes.
In your case the officer tried to loosen your cuffs. It apparently didn’t help. Nevertheless, the officer is protected from liability. Like it or not, that’s the way the way Sovereign Immunity works.
If you feel the officer acted unreasonably you can always file a complaint with his Internal Affairs Department. They will investigate the claim, but to be honest your claim probably won’t go much further than that.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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