Civil Rights and Police Misconduct

Civil Rights and Police Misconduct

San Francisco Civil Rights and Police Misconduct Lawyer

The Helbraun Law Firm is dedicated to vindicating the rights of people falsely arrested or injured by police misconduct. City and county law enforcement institutions have limitless access to taxpayer money and city attorneys to defend bad actors within their police departments. The Helbraun Law Firm has the experience, tenacity, and legal skill to fight them every inch of the way in pursuing justice for our clients.

Read: Attorney David Helbraun was quoted in the Vallejo Sun regarding his client who refused to furnish his Driver’s License at a DUI checkpoint.

The Helbraun Law Firm represents individuals in state and federal actions to secure rights guaranteed under the California and U.S. Constitutions. David M. Helbraun focuses his practice on police brutality cases, and has successfully tried such cases to unanimous jury verdict for the plaintiff in the United States District Court. The firm also focuses in discrimination cases, including gay rights and transgender rights.

*In this video Richard Wang speaks to attorney David Helbraun about the black lives matter movement and what we can do as a community to keep pushing forward. In this episode topics like how to practice your right to protest, what happens if you encounter the police during a protest and how to start working towards police accountability are also covered.

Police and other law enforcement agencies in San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda County, and throughout Northern California have a history of abusing their search and seizure, arrest, and use of force powers. Over the years, we have handled cases involving false warrant affidavits, wrongful arrests, mass protests, violations of free speech, sobriety checkpoints, racial profiling, and use of force – baton strikes, canine attacks, firearms, police pursuit vehicles. Our civil litigation firm is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, for the highest level of professional excellence in the courts. We achieve this by staying true to our values and prioritizing the rights of citizens victimized by law enforcement officers on the street and in the jails.

Our firm has over twenty years of experience representing victims of police misconduct, such as one client who alleged that plainclothes San Francisco police officers beat him repeatedly with a baton. The government settled the federal lawsuit for $210,000. Another one of our clients received a $250,000 settlement from the Palo Alto City Council when he suffered a seizure after being wrongfully arrested and subjected to excessive force by the police; another received $250,000 after a vicious police canine attack.

Although past success does not guarantee future results, our compassionate attorneys strive to use our experience to help other victims of police misconduct receive the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or civil rights violations at the hands of the police, call Helbraun Law Firm at (415) 982-4000 to speak with a California civil rights attorney.

What Is Police Misconduct?

Amidst a national conversation about the role of police in society, it is still unclear to many people what actually constitutes police misconduct. Civilians’ rights are protected by the Constitution of the United States, as well as many civil rights statutes, both at the state and the federal level. It is against the law for police officers to violate a person’s civil rights “under color of law,” meaning by the power vested in them by the government. Sometimes – rarely – police misconduct may be pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice or California state prosecuting authorities. But most instances of police misconduct are only investigated and prosecuted in the civil courts system, by civil rights lawyers like the Helbraun Law Firm.
There are a number of civil statutes under which victims of law enforcement abuses can file a lawsuit. Prohibited conduct that can be redressed through civil lawsuits include:

  • Sexual assault or coercion
  • Excessive force
  • Unlawful stops, searches, and arrests
  • Discriminatory harassment

Police are also prohibited from discriminating based on disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. When these statutes are violated, victims can file private lawsuits against the responsible law enforcement officials.

When a police officer uses force within the bounds of the law, the injured party usually will not have a case. However, many officers commit acts of violence not permitted by law or by department policies. In these cases, we strive to help victims recover compensation in a civil lawsuit against the responsible officer or department.

How Can We Help?

After an uncomfortable or violent encounter with the police, we understand that victims may be suffering from severe trauma and injuries. Although many police officers are committed to protecting their communities, misconduct is unfortunately common in our Bay Area communities. As a dedicated civil rights firm, we provide each of our clients the care, attention, and devotion they deserve.

One area of the law that makes it difficult for victims of police misconduct to recover compensation is qualified immunity. In many cases, police officers and departments are afforded some degree of immunity from being sued if they can show the use of force or other violation complained of was not clearly established as unconstitutional when it occurred. because they are agents of the government carrying out their official duties. This hurdle can be very challenging to overcome. Our firm has the skill and experience necessary to oppose law enforcement claims that their conduct should be deemed immune from liability.

The Helbraun Law Firm zealously advocates for people injured by law enforcement overreach, and who have to face a powerful system comprised of government officials, police unions, “blue walls of silence,” and courts that historically do not hold police officers accountable for misconduct.

Whether you believe you were wrongfully arrested or searched, discriminated against, harassed, or subjected to excessive force, our firm may be able to help you win your case.

Call Our Experienced Attorneys for a Consultation

Civil rights violations at the hands of the police continue to persist as one of the worst social problems plaguing the United States. As long as qualified immunity exists, it will be an unfair hurdle for victims to meet when trying to hold police accountable for injuries. Helbraun Law Firm is committed to rectifying these civil rights violations and achieving justice for our clients. Call us at (415) 982-4000 or contact us for more information about how our firm can help victims of police misconduct in San Francisco, Oakland, and Alameda County.


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220 Montgomery St #1100
San Francisco, CA 94104

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We serve the following localities: San Francisco County, San Francisco, San Mateo County, Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Alameda County, Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, and Pleasanton.

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