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Common Types of Civil Rights Violations

HomeBlogCommon Types of Civil Rights Violations
December 23, 2021

According to the FBI, the most common complaints about civil rights violations are those that involve allegations against law enforcement officers or officials. Other common violations involve hate crimes that are often racist in nature. At Olivier Schreiber & Chao LLP, we believe strongly in the protection of civil rights for all, and we fight for relief for those whose rights have been violated.

“Color of Law” Civil Violations

Federal law protects individuals from abuse of power and authority at the hands of members of local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies.

If a police officer, prison guard, other law enforcement officer, or anyone else acting as a public official deprives an individual of their rights while performing their official duties, the officer can be held liable. This is known as a “color of law” violation. A typical example of a color of law violation is police brutality or misconduct.

The most common forms of police misconduct include racial profiling, unlawful arrest, and excessive use of force. When a law enforcement officer abuses their power, they may be violating the civil or constitutional rights of individuals, including the:

  •         Right to due process under the law
  •         Right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
  •         Right not to be discriminated against based on the protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
  •         Right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment
  •         Right to peacefully protest 
  •         Right to freely assemble
  •         Right to be treated equally under the law

The law provides remedies to victims of these violations, including the right to file a civil rights lawsuit under Section 1983 to pursue and obtain financial compensation for the harm suffered and/or to stop the offender from continuing the abuse and violation of others’ civil rights.

Hate Crimes

A hate crime is a crime against a person or a person’s property that is motivated by the victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.  A hate crime is a serious offense, which can result in jail time for the perpetrator.

The conduct underlying a hate crime can take many forms, including:

  •         Physical assault
  •         Written or verbal threats
  •         Arson
  •         Cross burning
  •         Disturbance of religious meetings or services
  •         Bomb threats
  •         Property damage or vandalism

In California, the Ralph Civil Rights Act protects individuals in the above protected classes against hate violence or threats of violence.

If you believe your civil rights have been violated under the color of law or if you have been a victim of hate crime, contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

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