Problems with police arrests such as the one in Cambridge, Massachusetts (involving a Harvard professor), can occur in local towns such as Collinsville, Illinois. There, a couple living in a beautiful subdivision, were subject to an unlawful search and arrest.
The Collinsville police had come to the house because of a loud music complaint. The couple had music playing in the living room with the windows open. Their teenage son was having a birthday party in the basement.
When the couple asked the police what they wanted, the police stated they were there for a noise complaint. The police had stepped into the house without permission. The homeowners asked the police to step outside to discuss the matter. The police refused.
When there was a noise from inside the house, the police, despite the protest of the owners, proceeded to search the basement and arrested underage drinkers. In the process the parents were arrested for obstructing justice and resisting arrest. Both parents were injured by the police and taken into custody in handcuffs.
Fortunately, the State dismissed the charges against the parents. A federal lawsuit ensued where the parents claimed violation of their Constitutional Rights, battery, trespass, and false imprisonment.
In cases such as this, the police only have a right to enter a home if they have a search warrant or probable cause that a crime is being committed. No person can be arrested without there being probable cause that they have committed a crime.
Without a warrant or probable cause, citizens have the right to sue for damages for violation of Federal Civil Rights as well as for State claims for battery, trespass, and false imprisonment.
The law firm of WWF&G successfully represented this family, by filing suit, deposing the police officers involved, and moving the case towards trial. The case was settled out of court confidentially before a trial was necessary. If you or family members have had similar problems, WWF&G has the experience to determine if civil damages are available and to proceed with suit. Please contact us for a free consultation at 618-462-1077.