Civil rights lawsuits are one of the most important tools our society has for putting a stop to abuses of power.
When a person’s civil rights are violated, there is a good chance that the police officer or other governmental actor who committed the violation has done the same thing to someone else before. If allowed to get away with the violation, there is a good chance that it will also happen again. Indeed, it is common to see cases where a police officer is finally fired or criminally charged for an instance of brutality, only to have other people come forward to discuss past instance of misconduct that where never properly addressed at the time.
Those individuals who take the time to stand up for their rights by using our legal system help to not only obtain justice for themselves, but also help ensure that the next citizen won’t be victimized by an out-of-control police officer. By definition it is impossible to know how many people owe their very lives to another citizen who stepped forward to put a stop to police abuses.