Officer Liability - Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Councils
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The Seven Most Common Areas of Officer Liability
Failure to protect a citizen
Failure to enforce a court order
Failure to respond in a timely manner
Failure to provide information to a victim
Arresting without probable cause
Exhibiting a pattern of differential treatment
Inadequately trained officers.
Thurman vs. City of Torrington
Liability Issues (1) Law Enforcement Component, p. 3
Calloway v. Kinkelaar (1995)
Liability Issues (2) Law Enforcement Component, p. 3
Moore v. Green (2006)
Liability Issues (3) Law Enforcement Component, p. 3
Beyer v. Joliet (2009)
Officer Liability In 1996 and 2006 the Illinois Supreme Court ruled an officer can be held liable for money damages if the officer fails to act to protect victim of domestic violence.
Officer Liability When in doubt,
ACT to protect the victim.
Lawsuits for Failing to Adequately Train Officers
City of Canton, Ohio vs. Harris (109 S. Ct. 1197 (1989))
Ricketts vs. Columbia (No. 90-4099-CV-C66BA (US Dist. Ct. W.D. Mo))
Duty Breach of Duty Proximate Cause Damages • Compensatory • Punitive
What is the Public Duty Rule?
What is Special Duty?
Mastroianni v. County of Suffolk 668 N.Y.2d 542 (1997)
Police Liability in IDVA (1) (750 ILCS 60/305)
Any act of omission or commission by any law enforcement officer acting in good faith in rendering emergency assistance or otherwise enforcing this Act shall not impose civil liability upon the law enforcement officer or his or her supervisor or employer, unless the act is a result of willful or wanton misconduct.
IDVA Policy Liability (2)
Willful or wanton conduct is defined as “action” which if not intentional, shows an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for “the safety of oneself or others”. Castle Rock v. Gonzalez 125 S. Ct. 2796 (2005)
Special Duty related to the IDVA Domestic violence legislation and special victim legislation creates an exception to old rules – creates a special duty. Calloway v. Kinkelaar 168 Ill 2d 312 (1995)
When Can Supervisors Be Held Liable?
How Can We Reduce the Potential Exposure to Lawsuits? (1)
Adopt a legal policy
How Can We Reduce the Potential Exposure to Lawsuits? (2)
New legislation = policy changes
Document DV arrests/homicides.
Law Enforcement Responsibilities Use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse
What is the Impact of Positive Law Enforcement Response?
Impact of a Positive Law Enforcement Response (2)
Domestic violence is a crime
Holds batterers accountable
Supports the victim
Coordinated community response
Impact of a Positive Law Enforcement Response (3) How does arresting the batterer affect the case?
The Meaning of “SHALL”
If you do not comply, you’re not following the law.
If you are not following the law, you are not covered by immunity.
If you are not immune, you are susceptible to law suits.
You MUST do it!
Arrest The responding officer must arrest the suspect whenever an arrest is mandated.
Mandatory/Pro Arrest An officer SHALL arrest predominant physical aggressor if there is probable cause.
Why Strict Arrest Laws? Victims are in danger if the batterer isn’t removed
What is Probable Cause? “The combination of facts & circumstances that leads a law enforcement officer to believe that a crime has been committed.”
Absence of Probable Cause NEVER leave the scene using threatening words
What Do You NOT Consider in the Arrest Decision? (1) Claims that victim provoked the violence Mental health of victim or suspect Verbal assurances that violence will stop
Ownership/tenancy rights of shared residence
DO NOT Consider in the Arrest Decision (2)
Drug or alcohol use
Denial of abuse
Marital/Financial status of the parties involved
Inappropriate Dual Arrests = Increased Liability
False Arrest = Civil Jeopardy
Exigent Circumstances (1)
Exigent Circumstances (2)
Good faith basis to search a house to look for a victim/suspect, protects you from liability
If a victim is bleeding to death in a room of a house where you were on the scene and did not locate her … hire a lawyer!
Training Exercise 1 Handling the Call: Domestic Violence Vignettes Scene 6 “She Almost Killed Me”
Training Exercise 2 Handling the Call: Domestic Violence Vignettes Stalking Scenario “Everywhere I Go There He Is –
Am I Losing My Mind?”
Acknowledgements Resources provided by: - Mark Wynn, Wynn Consulting – www.markwynn.com
- 4th Judicial Circuit FVCC Law Enforcement Committee - OVW Rural Grant Committee, 4th Judicial Circuit - Law Enforcement Resource Center & Minnesota Program Development, Inc., 2000
This project was supported by Grant #2011-WE-AX-0055, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, through the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority. The original project was supported by Grant # 2008-WR-AX-0016, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Points of view, opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations contained within this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, or the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.