Unlawful Police Assaults and shootings


Police Assaults, Shootings

Assault is the unlawful and intentional use of force against another person, as well as causing that person to believe that force is necessary to be used. In South Africa, police brutality victims and their families may be compensated for assault claims against the police. It is helpful to know when and how to file a claim to protect your rights or assist others. In South Africa, police brutality receives less media coverage than in countries like the United States.

We urge you to contact our experienced attorneys at Lowe & Petersen Attorneys immediately if you suffer from personal injuries resulting from police assaults because claims against the police are subject to specific time limits and rules. A civil action can only be filed 90 days after a notice of the claim in the form of a demand for payment is served and must be served within six months of the occurrence or death. Thereafter, summons must be served within three years of the occurrence or death.

Unlawful Arrests and Detention

An unlawful arrest occurs when a police officer exceeds their authority or when an officer of the law unjustifiably restricts a person's freedom of movement. This appears to be a concern among South Africans, as the South African Police Services face an increasing number of civil claims and unlawful arrest claims.

A citizen's constitutional rights are violated by an unlawful arrest, according to the Constitution. It is a flagrant violation of Section 10 of the Constitution, which recognises the inherent dignity of every individual and safeguards the right to have this dignity respected and protected by all. As part of its protection of freedom and security, Section 12 of the Constitution ensures that no individual can be deprived of liberty or detained without trial.

An officer may only make an arrest without a warrant in extraordinary circumstances. If a police officer has acted in an unjust and unconstitutional manner, you can file a civil suit against the police to seek justice and damages. Our attorneys at Lowe & Petersen have extensive experience assisting individuals who have been wrongfully arrested and will assist you with your claim. When arrested and transported to the police station, you will be permitted to make a phone call. You should use your phone call to contact either a Lowe & Petersen attorney or someone who will contact us on your behalf. The bail application procedure begins once your attorney arrives at the police station. We will negotiate the bail amount on your behalf.


1Who can claim a police assault?
Anyone who is a victim of police assault can make a legal claim against the police officer or department. It is important to do it as soon after the assault as possible for legal reasons.
2What compensation can you get from police assault?
A claim for police brutality with our attorneys at Lowe & Petersen Attorneys may result in compensation for:
  • Past and future medical expenses for physical, emotional, and/or psychological harm directly caused by the incident
  • Past and future loss of income
  • If a family breadwinner dies as a result of unlawful police action, the family will suffer a loss of support which can be claimed
  • Resulting in pain and suffering from the assault
3How can you prove police brutality?
As soon as you are safe, it is essential to record as much pertinent information as possible. To support a potential claim against the police, you should collect evidence of the following:
  • Specifics of what took place, where, when, and by whom
  • Identifying information about the offending officer(s)
  • The contact information for any eye witnesses
  • Reports from attending medical personnel
  • X-rays and any other medical test results
  • Images depicting any visible injuries
  • Medical bills and any other expenses incurred as a result of the assault

Take our free online survey to see if you qualify for a claim and we will get back to you within 48 business hours.

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