When a person comes across a situation in which their rights have been violated in some fashion, they can advocate for themselves by pursuing litigation and seeking justice in court. Doing this often requires working with a skilled attorney familiar with any relevant laws, rights, and legal processes. However, to build a successful case, attorneys rely on one crucial element: evidence. Even if their client is clearly in the right, it can be extremely difficult to get the desired resolution without the evidence to prove so in court. This is especially true in cases involving violations of civil rights, where the offenders are particularly motivated to obscure the true nature of the altercation, as even the mere accusation of being a perpetrator in a civil rights case can be extremely damaging in terms of their reputation. In such a situation, working with a civil rights investigator can be the answer to all of your problems.
To gain a complete understanding of what civil rights investigators do and why they are so vital, it’s essential to first gain some background on civil rights cases. These cases tend to have unique challenges because of their inherently incendiary and emotional nature. It is natural to feel motivated to see that the parties responsible are appropriately punished for their actions, but this can only happen if the actions taken were genuinely unlawful. So, what exactly does the law have to say about civil rights, and how offenders of those rights can be dealt with?
What Are Civil Rights?
“Civil right” is a term used to describe what an individual is allowed or entitled to do by law. Enforcement of the law within this particular context is done to protect people’s freedoms. At the heart of civil rights is the idea of fairness and equality, ensuring that all the individuals covered by such laws are presented with equal opportunities to succeed.
One of the earliest examples of civil rights being acknowledged in a legal document in the United States is a line from the Declaration of Independence, which states that people have the following inaliénable rights: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Such a statement aimed to promote the equal right to a thriving existence amongst the populace. While this and other aspects of the document are not presently considered to have legal merit, they have often served as the foundation upon which other laws are created.
Nowadays, there is a large array of civil rights laws to identify in concrete terms exactly what rights are owed to each individual. Modern legislation also acknowledges certain changes that have taken place since those initial thoughts of equality were first echoed, such as abolishing slavery and the growing acceptance of various sexualities. However, the law is a complex topic. Some civil rights laws apply on a federal level across the nation, while others are specific to individual states. In-depth knowledge of what rights are protected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and to what extent is critical when going through the process of a civil rights case.
What Does the Office of Civil Rights Enforce?
Civil rights violations can occur in various contexts and involve perpetrators from all sorts of backgrounds. The party responsible could merely be another citizen, a business owner, an employer, or even a law enforcement official. Regardless, the Office of Civil Rights is tasked with enforcing civil rights laws in court. This includes those observed under federal law, those regarding conscience and religious freedom, laws regarding HIPAA compliance and general privacy, and general rights regarding nondiscrimination. Essentially, you can challenge in court instances where people are subject to harassment, are treated differently, or are denied access to goods or services based on a protected part of their identities (race, religion, gender, sexuality, or physical ability), as well as for breaches in their ability to access private information and property.
Concrete examples of civil rights complaints where the Office of Civil Rights might be involved include situations where a landlord decides to deny your application for an apartment because they harbor reservations against you based on your religion. An employer choosing not to hire a woman for a position because they think men make better employees would qualify as well, and so would being singled out by a police officer merely because you happen to have a different skin color.
Why Are Civil Rights Cases So Challenging?
Any sort of confrontation can be difficult, especially in a legal setting, as victims are asked to re-experience their trauma over and over again during court proceedings. However, the situation can become significantly more complicated depending on the identity of the perpetrators. An individual citizen who has violated someone else’s civil rights will be far less prepared to fight back than, for instance, a major corporation or a trusted law enforcement official. The latter examples likely have access to a significant amount of resources and may be willing to do whatever it takes to make the case go away, even if that means tampering with evidence or relying on their connections to powerful allies within the legal system.
As the victim in such a situation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or intimidated. That’s why it’s so critical to work with a skilled civil rights investigator. A good investigator can effectively level the playing field and ensure that the proceedings rely on nothing more than unbiased facts.
What Is a Civil Rights Investigator?
In brief, a civil rights investigator is a private investigator tasked with helping secure evidence for legal situations involving a potential violation of civil rights. Unlike attorneys or other members of a legal team, civil rights investigators are fully dedicated to this aspect of the process. This means that they often have extensive experience relevant to the best way to obtain evidence, successfully discredit any false evidence, and navigate the system so that relevant, helpful evidence can be officially submitted to the court. A comprehensive background in law, a strong network of contacts, and an innate strength in investigative skills are vital parts of being an effective investigator.
What Is a Civil Right Investigation?
Civil rights investigations are the way in which a civil rights investigator can contribute to a case. During this process, the investigator can take on several tasks depending on what is most needed for the specific situation at hand. One way that civil rights investigators conduct their investigation is through redundancy. This essentially means collecting evidence that has already been collected, such as having an autopsy done by a different medical examiner, getting additional witness statements, and independently documenting the crime scene. This is particularly effective at ensuring the facts are fairly represented.
Those attempting to tamper with evidence will be discovered throughout this process. This also helps to combat unconscious bias. For example, if the perpetrator is a police officer, they likely have a relationship with the crime scene investigation team. Because of their relationship, the team may inherently assume that the officer is innocent, which can affect how they document the scene, even if it isn’t intentional.
Investigators also have the time, resources, and insight to pursue avenues that others might overlook when it comes to collecting evidence, such as determining a random bystander’s identity at the scene and securing said bystander’s camera footage. The context in the form of statements from other parties not questioned by the police or previous interactions that took place before the altercation can also further support your case.
Not only can the investigator look into the case itself, but they can also look into the history of the offending party involved. With large corporations and trusted officials, it can be challenging to convince others of their involvement based on their past reputation. However, an investigator can dig up documentation that shows a pattern of behavior that is much more difficult to discredit. Investigators can also uncover emails or recorded conversations that show attempts to tamper with evidence or acknowledgments of the incident. All of this contributes to building a strong case.
Working With a Civil Rights Investigator
Private investigators have the unique skills and background necessary to ensure that you are adequately equipped to go up against any violator of civil rights in a court of law, no matter how many connections or resources they have. Not only are they extremely skilled at obtaining evidence, but they’re also extremely knowledgeable of the law and can do so in a lawful manner while keeping an eye out for unlawful behavior from the opposition. Whether you have personally had your rights violated or are part of a legal team handling a civil rights violation case, working with the right civil rights investigator can help you achieve your desired resolution. To get started with an initial consultation, contact the team at Amatrix Investigations today. With over 20 years of investigative experience, we can ensure the case is handled with diligence and with full respect for your privacy or the privacy of your client.