Can I sue the city or Police dept?

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Latest post 11-21-2011 2:34 PM by adjuster jack. 17 replies.
  • 05-09-2009 2:45 AM

    • dk1028
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 05-09-2009
    • MN
    • Posts 2

    Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    I was assaulted by a guy who previously assaulted my friend two days prior. The guy muffed(slapped) me on my head putting pressure on my neck where he knew I had a fusion procedure (4)years prior. When the police came they told me that they could not arrest him because they did not witness the incident even though there were 4 witnesses there who gave statements. Now 3 days before this happened me and two of my friends were sitting in a car in the parking lot of the same complex where I was assualted. The guy who assualted me came outside and started hitting the car we were in because he did not like one of my friends who was in the car. He yell get out of the car and stated that somebody was going to die. My friend moved the car about 100 feet from the guy so we could get out and go inside. The guy rushed the car and slammed the door on my friend as he attempted to get out of the driver side. Me and my other friend jumped out on the other side to help and the guy took off running. Police reports say a gunshot was fired but not by who. Witnesses said the say the guy attack the car we were in and again after we moved they confirmed that he attacked my friend. No one saw the alleged gun shot including myself. My friend was arrested shortly after for attempted murder which baffles me. I went to get a restraining order two says after that night but was told to come back. That same day as I (2 days after the assualt on my friend) the same guy saw me picking up my kids from the aparment complex and assualted me. It almoast seemed as if he wanted me to hit him back but I didnt. I called the police. They came and immeadeatly rushed me as if I did something wrong because I was in a rage from the incident, Quickly people told them that I was the victim but they were still hostile towards me. I said that I wanted him arrested and charges pressed but they said in MN they can only arrest somebody if they see the assault or its life threatning. I told them that I broke my neck 4 years prior and that the guy who assualted me knew that because he went straight for my neck area but they did nothing. I was outraged because they acted non **shalaunt** about the whole situation. They repeatly told me to fill out a statement and that the city attourny would file charges after reviewing the case but nothing has happened.  Its been about 1 and a half months since this happened and nothing has happened to the guy or the case. I could have died if the right amount of force was applied to my neck and fear for my life daily for fear that the guy will do something else. We are in a small college town and I wish they would have did something, I have a restraining order on the guy and everything. The judge granted it immeadately after I told him the same story. Can I sue the city for the lack of help they provided as a taxpayer? And if so how much would I be able to ask for? My surgery and rehab cost me over 100,000 when I first broke my neck. If I were to die or be assualted as a result of them letting the guy go free I would hope that my life and safety is worth that much.

  • 05-09-2009 2:58 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    I understand why you are upset and why you'd like the police to act. However, there is no basis for a lawsuit when the police and/or prosecutor fail to go after someone who committed a crime against you. They have the discretion under the law to decide which cases to pursue and which ones to drop. You could, of course, sue your attacker for any damages he causes you. You cannot sue him, however, for the cost of treating injuries you sustained prior to his attack.

  • 05-09-2009 3:09 AM In reply to

    • dk1028
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 05-09-2009
    • MN
    • Posts 2

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    So I would have to get murdered by this guy before I have basis to sue the city?? The reason Im so angry is because if I sniff wrong the police in this town will be all over my [me]. If I did the same thing and assualted another person Im sure I would be in the same place as my friend. he did nothing wrong yet he's left to fight for his freedom.....I just dont understand it!! Witnesses say they saw what happened yet this guy can roam around as he pleases....while I have to think about this every waking moment only because of my neck and how fragile my situation is...I dont know what to do but i wish I could sue the[m] [foul language removed] because if nothing else he should have been arrested!! Right?

  • 05-09-2009 5:31 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    Even being murdered would not give your estate a claim against the city for failure to prosecute the attacker. It's important to understand that prosecution is not done as a benefit for the victim and the state owes no legal duty to victims to prosecute those who commit crimes against them. Prosecution is done for the benefit of society—to punish wrongful behavior and act as a deterrant to others who may commit crimes. Like it or not, you cannot compel the police and prosecutor to go after the guy and you have no civil claim for damages against the police and prosecutor if they don't go after him.

    You can complain higher up in the management chain of the police department. You can complain to the mayor and city council members; after all, they oversee the police department and hire the chief. You can seek to get media attention for the case and see if that does any good.

  • 05-12-2009 12:58 PM In reply to

    Potholes . . .

    Prosecuting crminals is the same as filling potholes in the streets.  The relevant government agency has a budget of limited resources and it has discretion to decide where to spend the money.

    Your remedy is at the ballot box, not in the courts.

    "if nothing else he should have been arrested!! Right?"

    No.  State law establishes when an officer can arrest someone.  Very often, misdemeanors committed outside the presence of the police are citable only.

  • 05-12-2009 5:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    No - even if you were murdered there would be no legal basis to sue the city if they chose not to prosecute.

  • 05-13-2009 12:07 PM In reply to

    • DPH
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,596

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    "...where he knew I had a fusion procedure (4)years prior."

    So, if this guy knew about a procedure that you had four years ago then you must have some prior history with him.  Care to explain, which might explain his actions?

    "My friend was arrested shortly after for attempted murder which baffles me."

    Unless you are called to testify or something, it doesn't concern you at this time. 

    I suspect that there is much more to the whole story. Yes?


    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain


  • 05-16-2009 1:32 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    As a former cop I can tell you that there are many sides to every story.  The statement attributed to a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) that they could do nothing without observing it is weak.  If an offense is alleged and a suspect identified and the very least it should be investigated.  If witnesses have made statements and they jive it should establish "probable cause".

    An investigator makes out an affidavit stating what he found out from the investigation, presents it to your prosecutor (could be a city attorney, county or district attorney).  If it passes their review it goes to a judge for issuance of a warrant.  The LEO's in the city can arrest the assault suspect or it can be the Sheriff of the county.  State Patrol normally sticks with traffic related work unless they happen to stop the guy for an infraction and run him--finding the warrant.

    States used to have a procedure to force officials to do their job.  It is called a remedial writ called a Writ of Mandamus.  You will need an attorney to prepare it for you, file it with the court and get the police department served.  Many states have put that on the back burner and require you to go through adopted Rules of Civil Procedure.  You might find some legal references at your local library.  Often titled as Court Rules or split into two books with one called (Your State) Revised Statutes.  These are usually posted online as well.

    If you arn't good with details, know nothing how the law works, or have no access to a computer you might see if there isn't a "Legal Aid" organization to help you.  Criminal actions can't be "good enough for government work".  You need to tell every detail of the event because a persons freedom may be at stake. False reporting is serious.  If the guy violated a restraining order he should be taken into custody and let the judge deal with it.

    Don't believe the limited resources viewpoint if you are being assaulted and if you have a history (possibly intimate) with the alleged assaulter then other laws can come into play like domestic violence.  There are many different lesser crimes that could apply that don't even require physical confrontation.  Stalking, harrassment, disorderly conduct are just a few before assault & battery takes place.

    Personally I carry a .45 auto with me at all times.  Of course I know how to use it (or not).  I have a CCW permit.  Maybe you and your friends are viewed as gangbangers or troublemakers by the PD in a college town.  I worked in one and we found nonstudents took more of our time.  Forget about suing for money and try suing for action.

    I found that when I was a detective the reporters (print or TV) wanted me to give them a story all of the time.  Get copies of the reports made about the incident, copies of witness statements, determine if an investigation is active (they won't give you copies of records if it is) and then contact the media.  You won't make any friends of the boys in blue but will probably find other with similar experiences.  So get the city council to cut back funding because they need to layoff cops that are just feeding at the public feedbin.  Fun Huh?


  • 05-16-2009 4:21 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    States used to have a procedure to force officials to do their job. It is called a remedial writ called a Writ of Mandamus.

    The problem is that a writ of mandamus cannot be used to force a government official to do something that is discretionary. It is instead used to make officials do something that they are clearly obligated to do. For example, in my state if someone presents a properly completed deed to a recorder of deeds clerk and the clerk refuses to accept it for filing, a writ of mandamus would be appropriate there because the clerk has no discretion over whether to take it. State law instead says that the clerk shall accept a properly completed deed for filing.

    A matter over which they have discretion are things that they are not obligated by law to do. As a former cop, you know that cops have the discretion to decide whether to arrest someone, let them go with a warning, or whatever. No law says that cops MUST arrest everyone that they suspect has committed a crime. Same is true for prosecutors, they have the discretion to decide what cases to prosecute. No law says a prosecutor MUST prosecute all cases the police bring to them. A court cannot force an official to exercise discretion in a certain way through a writ of mandamus. It can only order them to do the things the law tells them they MUST do.

  • 09-06-2009 1:42 PM In reply to

    Dangerous and bad advice . . .

    Law isn't rocket science because if it was half the cops couldn't do it

    Cops don't practice law.  Attorneys practice law.  Prosecuting a criminal case isn't rocket science, but it isn't finger painting either.  There are laws that must be followed and court rules also.

    Attempting to arrest someone when you are not a police officer is a dangerous thing to do.  The other person may react with force, even excessive force.  A person could easily incur civil liability for attempting to effect an arrest.

    Prosecuting a criminal action, if even allowed in the relevant state, could open the poster to civil liability if he messes it up.

  • 09-08-2009 3:26 PM In reply to

    Re: Dangerous and bad advice . . .

    I completely agree that cops don't practice law...however, they should know enough about it to be able to do their job correctly.

  • 09-08-2009 3:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    To you, Sir, thank you for your service. I sure do wish there were a lot more officers like you..most of them do whatever they feel.

  • 09-08-2009 3:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the city or Police dept?

    I disagree with the people on this site telling you that you cannot sue the city or the police. I know of one situation it was done, Tracy Thurman, Torrington, Conneticutt. The situation was a little bit different, domestic violence; she had a restraining order and the city cops wouldn't honor it...but, it has been done and she did win. However, finding an attorney to take your case would be the hard part. Google lawsuits against cities and see what you find. I haven't done it, but I am sure that there is way more than one.

  • 09-08-2009 5:38 PM In reply to


    It's not their fault some idiot hit you.

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