What is a false arrest?


Photo by Flickr user grendelkhanBy Norm Kent

Board of Directors, CAFA

A false arrest is a violation of your fundamental civil rights. If you have been the victim of an illegal arrest, you should seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in false arrest cases. This site is not designed to be a promotion for any attorneys. It is meant for you to share your stories with others of your experience and to acquaint you more formally with the laws relating to false arrest. The Constitution guarantees you protection from false arrests. Police do not.

Falsely arrested? We want to hear your story.

When you are the victim of a wrongful arrest, your Constitutional rights have been violated. When those rights are violated, you are entitled to file a false arrest lawsuit. That means you would be seeking money damages from the parties responsible for your incarceration. Few things are more damaging than a false arrest. First, it is obviously humiliating. Your arrest is a public record others may read about. It can cause you traumatic, emotional, and psychological harm. This is clearly demonstrated by numerous psychologists in the evaluation of forensic cases alleging false arrest and imprisonment. False arrests can also cost you your job, your dignity, and most of all, your freedom.

Do you have a good case? Here are some guidelines for you to look at.

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Cleveland police sued for beating and bullying an innocent gay couple

The men said each time they tried asking questions, the officers became increasingly violent.

“The officer in the glasses grabbed me by my shirt, and punched me twice in the face, after he punched me, he threw me up against the wall,” said Simcox.

Simcox says at the time of the arrest, he and his partner were wearing only underwear and t-shirts. When Simcox’s brother asked police if he could get them some pants and shoes, one of the officers allegedly responded by saying, “You can go get them shoes, but faggots don`t deserve to wear pants in jail.”

The lawsuit states that the men were ordered to stand outside in their front lawn for five to 10 minutes while they were publicly humiliated.

Ondo and Simcox were taken to jail and according to the lawsuit for, “at least one whole day their repeated requests for pants were denied.”


Read the full story from Fox 8 Cleveland here

Woman calls 911. The cop who arrives rapes her, then police department tells her she’s being charged with assaulting an officer after she resists.

She now stood on a floor littered with broken glass and pointed to the brick. The cop she had summoned to protect her instead chose this moment to grab the back of her head by her hair and sodomize her. Then he raped her.

Her revulsion in the aftermath was so visceral that she vomited as she ran outside. The cop’s partner had become concerned when he did not immediately see Cates and called for back-up. Other cops began arriving and saw a woman screaming incoherently about being raped.

Cates appeared and grabbed her by the waist, spinning her around. Her swinging feet may or may not have struck the partner. She was handcuffed and taken in, told at the stationhouse that she was being charged with assaulting a police officer.


Read the full story from The Daily Beast here.

Man spends two years in prison with no trial or medical care following DWI arrest

A New Mexico man who said he was forced to pull his own tooth while in solitary confinement because he was denied access to a dentist has been awarded $22 million due to inhumane treatment by New Mexico’s Dona Ana County Jail.

Stephen Slevin was arrested in August of 2005 for driving while intoxicated, then thrown in jail for two years. He was in solitary at Dona Ana County Jail for his entire sentence and basically forgotten about and never given a trial, he told NBC station KOB.com Tuesday night.

“‘[Jail guards were] walking by me every day, watching me deteriorate,” Slevin said. “Day after day after day, they did nothing, nothing at all, to get me any help.”

Read the full story from MSNBC here.

Police chief reports another officer for misconduct. His reward? A demotion and harassment

A former Pittston police chief is suing the city and Mayor Jason Klush, saying they retaliated against him for reporting another officer’s misconduct.

Jeffrey Tayoun, now a sergeant with the department, said he was demoted and harassed after reporting an officer to the Attorney General’s Office for taking “46 photos of a nude woman in various sexual acts while she was unconscious,” according to a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

In October 2009, the suit says, Tayoun “blew the whistle on Police Officer Robert Joseph Semyon for police misconduct.”

Read the full story from The Citizens’ Voice here.

Hermosa Beach officer at fault for rear-ending car charges driver with reckless driving and assault

Charges have been dropped against a motorist accused of causing a collision that sent Hermosa Beach Police Officer Anthony Parente tumbling from his motorcycle into the back seat of a convertible, according to the driver’s attorney.

Thomas Beck, attorney for the motorist, Brian Hitchcock, said he was able to prove the accident was not caused by his client, and he called the case against Hitchcock “a monstrous fraud.”

Read the full story from Easy Reader here.

Police fracture 68-year-old woman’s elbow for no apparent reason

One of the deputies then ordered her out of the car despite requests from Teresa Cervantes to put on a brace she needs because of an injury to her foot, according to the lawsuit.

A deputy then grabbed Teresa Cervantes’ arm, twisted it behind her and leaned on her, according to the court filing, which says Cervantes was later issued a citation for speeding.

There wasn’t any altercation that led to the use of force by the deputy, but it’s likely that Teresa Cervantes’ inability to speak English was at the root of the issue, Scheele said.

“I believe he gave her some instructions,” he said. “She was trying to explain to him that she had an injured ankle and that she could not get out of her car. He then twisted her arm up behind her back and fractured her elbow.”

Read the full story from the Merced Sun-Star here

Las Vegas detective uses false information to obtain warrant, shoots unarmed suspect, costs department $1.7 million in lawsuit. His punishment? Forty-hour suspension.

Yant was part of a narcotics team that raided Cole’s east valley apartment after undercover officers bought 1.8 ounces of marijuana from Cole over four exchanges. But Yant made mistakes almost from the moment he began targeting Cole. Yant confused Cole with someone with the same name who had a lengthy criminal record, but that person did not match Cole’s physical description or age. Yant used the false information on the affidavit seeking a search warrant, and it was approved by a judge.

There also were several mistakes made during the minutes and seconds leading up to Yant firing once at Cole when the man was flushing marijuana down a toilet.

Yant said Cole, who was unarmed, lunged at the officer, but physical evidence contradicted his story. Former District Attorney David Roger told the Review-Journal that he and other prosecutors didn’t believe the officer’s story.

Read the full story from Las Vegas Review-Journal here

Police in Manhattan accused of falsely arresting gay men

Robert Pinter, a 52-year-old gay man who was arrested for prostitution at the Blue Door in the East Village on Oct. 10, spoke at the town hall meeting. He said a young man — a 29-year old undercover cop who, Pinter said, looked even younger — cruised him in the store. He was “charming and persistent, and we agreed to go home for consensual sex, but as we were leaving he said, ‘I want to pay you $50 [to have sex].’ I didn’t respond, but I thought it was strange,” Pinter recounted. As the men left the store, Pinter said, a group of men who did not show police identification pushed him against the wall

“I thought I’d been set up by a gang,” he said. “I asked them why they were doing this to me. I was totally clueless. They handcuffed me and said, ‘Why the f— do you think we’re arresting you — loitering for the purpose of prostitution.’”

Pinter spent several hours in a police van, more time at the Seventh Precinct, and “16 or 17 hours in the Tombs,” the city jail downtown. His Legal Aid attorney “strongly suggested I plead guilty to disorderly conduct,” which he did, although he now regrets it. He was also ordered to go to city-sponsored classes on how to engage in prostitution more safely.

Read the full story from Gotham Gazette here

Outrage over alleged entrapment of gay men leads to Palm Springs police chief’s resignation

“The sting was an egregious case of entrapment, a technique that has been used by law enforcement against gay people for decades,” said Robert Stone, co-founder of the Warm Sands neighborhood association and one of the most vocal critics of undercover operation. “Gays move to Palm Springs to get away from that.”

The controversy reached a boil last June with the revelation that an officer involved in the sting was taped uttering a gay slur. It grew venomous in December when Police Chief David Dominguez, who had disciplined the officer, acknowledged that he too had made an “inappropriate comment” — also caught on tape.

Dominguez apologized. Sensitivity training was ordered for all city employees. The Police Department scrapped the use of decoys in undercover sex stings, promising to rely more on community outreach and additional patrols.

Read the full story from PoliceLink here

Cops in Kent County accused of arresting gay men for holding hands

Critics told county commissioners Tuesday that undercover officers are entrapping gay men through casual conversation or arresting them for holding hands.

Attorney Miriam Aukerman of the American Civil Liberties Union says there’s nothing wrong with gay men flirting in a park. Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma denies that anyone is being arrested for holding hands. He says deputies are just trying to keep parks safe for everyone.

Michigan law bars someone from using a public place to invite someone to commit a “lewd or immoral act.” Aukerman says that could apply to any bar on weekends.


Read the full story from WWMT here