Civil Rights Lawyers

Our local governments have entrusted police officers with power and authority to investigate, detain, arrest, and charge citizens. We have also granted law enforcement officers the right to use physical violence, including deadly force, when appropriate. Police officers have access to numerous weapons and advanced technology to do their job, including drones, video surveillance equipment, police dogs, batons, pepper spray, tasers and firearms.  As citizens, have only a one protection against such an disparity of resources.

When people have had their civil rights violated by the police, they feel helpless. They believe that there is nothing they can do to right the situation or to prevent the police from victimizing them again. The truth is that people are not helpless when they are the victims of police abuse.

Elliot R. Zinger, P.C. can represent you in a lawsuit to hold the police officers accountable for their abusive actions, and to recover fair and just compensation for their wrongdoing. If you are the victim of police misconduct, then you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain, as well as punitive damages against the police officer(s).

Types of Civil Rights -- Police Misconduct

Coerced Confessions -- Police officers are sometimes so certain of a suspect's guilt that they will resort to extreme and illegal measures to force a confession which will lead to a conviction. There are also cases where, despite little or no evidence linking a suspect to a crime, the police manufacture or lie about evidence to convince people to admit to crimes they did not commit. Many of the worst interrogation tactics amount to coerced confessions.

Excessive Force --The law dictates how much force, and under what circumstances, police officers can use against individuals. A police officer is permitted to use only so much force as is necessary to subdue a suspect. Police officers are not allowed to beat people up just because they are suspected of committing a crime(s). Inflicting physical violence when a suspect is not resisting is unlawful and is considered excessive force.

Failure to Intervene -- If you have been the victim abusive police actions, in addition to the police officers that engaged in the unlawful behavior, you may have grounds to sue the police officers that allowed the abuse to happen. Under certain circumstances, police officers are required to protect citizens whose rights are being violated, and officers who were present at the time and condoned the actions or failed to intervene may be liable for damages.

Malicious Prosecution -- If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, followed by an exoneration or dismissal of the charges, you may be able to file a lawsuit on the basis that you were prosecuted without probable cause.

Police Brutality -- When police officers assault, shoot or torture a suspect, the police officers often try to justify their illegal behavior by claiming that the suspect was resisting arrest or had initially attacked them. Taking legal action against a police officer(s) who has brutalized you takes great courage. But staying silent will only enable the police officer to victimize others. Filing a civil rights lawsuit will allow you to receive compensation for what happened to you, and will also hold the police officer accountable for his or her actions and your own healing process can start.

Police Misconduct -- Police misconduct is a big problem in the Chicagoland area. Many police officers follow a code of silence and give their fellow officers a free pass. If you have suffered any type of abuse at the hands of the police, you deserve an advocate to help you defend your rights.

False Arrest -- If you have been arrested you without probable cause or a lawful arrest warrant, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for your loss of liberty. The United States Constitution protects you against unlawful arrests, and our attorneys can help you receive compensation from your false arrest.

Unlawful Search & Seizure -- The 4th Amendment is meant to protect people from unlawful searches and seizures by government officials, including police officers. This fundamental civil right prevents the police from entering your home, or searching you or your motor vehicle. Unless, they have your permission or legal justification.

For the past 5 years, Mr. Zinger’s firm has represented five prisoners in State custody alleging that they were tortured into making false confessions and wrongfully convicted of murder. Four of the murder cases are still pending before various judges at 26th and California. People v. Gerald Reed, 90 CR 25846, will be tried before Judge Thomas Gainer this fall. All five prisoners have entered into contracts with Mr. Zinger’s firm to represent them in wrongful conviction 1983 litigation as well as post conviction work and in hearings before the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission. In March of 2008, Mr. Zinger appeared in the Sec. 1983 case of Aaron Patterson v. Jon Burge, 03 CV 4433, on behalf of the Plaintiff Aaron Patterson, filing a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on his behalf before Hon. Judge Joan Gottschall.

In one of the torture cases , People v. Mark Maxson, Mr. Zinger was able to get his client’s conviction overturned in September of 2016. The DNA testing we were able to obtain for our client revealed the identity of the actual murderer, some 25 years after the crime was committed. Our firm filed a Sec. 1983 Wrongful Conviction case in October of 2016, Maxson v, Dwyer, et al, 16 CV 9417, seeking $36 million in compensatory damages and $18 million in punitive damages.

Mr. Zinger’s law firm has handled many other Civil Rights employment (mostly Title VII) cases. Our firm has negotiated settlements in many of these Civil Rights Claims for municipal employees in amounts including $750,000, $700,000, $416,00, $350,000 and $125,000.