Civil Rights Lawyers

Experienced Civil Rights Attorneys

Government employees and organizations have an obligation to protect your civil rights and freedoms. They are expressly forbidden from discriminating against you due to your race, ethnicity, disability, age, sex, sexual-orientation, religion or other protected class, or denying you the right to equal and fair treatment in society.

Unfortunately, there are times where the system fails and we are betrayed by police officers or other government officials. Whether it’s retaliation for speaking out, the use of excessive force while completing an arrest, voter intimidation or discrimination based on race, sexual-orientation or gender, civil rights violations are all too common in the state of Wisconsin.

At Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, we understand the impact these violations can have on your life. Our compassionate team of civil rights attorneys has successfully fought numerous civil rights cases, helping individuals receive damages for the injuries and emotional stress they have endured.

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Common Civil Rights Violations

Civil Right violations in Wisconsin, also known as Section 1983 violations, often involve:

  • Abuse by police – police brutality, excessive force, unjustified shootings
  • Racial profiling
  • False arrest or obstruction of justice
  • Abuse or discrimination in educational institutions
  • Neglect or abuse while incarcerated or in group homes
  • Free speech retaliation
  • Workplace discrimination
  • Housing discrimination
  • Being denied the right to vote
In 2020, Bucks Guard Sterling Brown, represented by GTW partner Mark Thomsen, settled a history-making civil rights lawsuit with the City of Milwaukee. The settlement included $750,000 in compensation and forced the city to admit it violated Brown’s constitutional rights and incorporate changes to its police department standard operating procedures.

GTW Case Result

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Contact Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs to have your civil rights case evaluated by one of our experienced attorneys. Se habla español.

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Common Questions About Civil Rights Cases

I believe I have a civil rights case. What should I do?

If you are injured, you should first seek medical treatment. Excessive force and police brutality injuries often include gunshots, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, torn ligaments and head trauma. The extent of these injuries may not be clear immediately, so a thorough exam is important.

Next, collect as much information related to your case as possible. Names, titles, badge numbers and other identifying information is helpful. Emails, letters, texts, voicemails and video related to the incident will also help prove your case.

Lastly, get in touch with Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs for a review of your case. Our experienced attorneys specializing in civil rights violations will review your situation and recommend next steps, which may include legal action.
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Can I sue an individual or organization for violating my civil rights?

While it’s difficult to sue an individual for violating your civil rights, you can sue their employer if it’s a governmental organization. Examples of governmental organizations include schools, police departments, correctional facilities, city/state governments and more.
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What are civil rights vs. civil liberties?

Civil rights are not the same as civil liberties. The concept of civil rights has traditionally dealt with the right to be free from unfair and unequal treatment based on protected characteristics. Civil liberties are broader and guaranteed by the Constitution or other federal laws. These include the rights to free speech, privacy and voting.
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How does immunity impact civil rights cases?

Immunity is a legal doctrine that shields government employees from being liable for civil right violations — like the right to be free from excessive police force — for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate “clearly established” law. Immunity can make it hard to bring cases against certain individuals, namely police officers, prison officials and school officials.
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Do prisoners and those in group homes have the same civil rights as everyone else?

While prisoners and individuals in group homes may forfeit some rights (privacy, private property, etc.) they do retain the following rights:

- The right to humane facilities and conditions
- The right to be free from sexual crimes
- The right to be free from racial segregation
- The right to express condition complaints
- The right to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- The right to medical care and attention as needed
- The right to appropriate mental health care
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How long do I have to file a civil rights claim?

The statute of limitations is a time limit established by the laws of Wisconsin, and it determines how long you have to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on the details of your civil rights violation, so we recommend you pursue your case immediately.
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Legal Options Following a Civil Rights Violation

If you are the victim of a civil rights violation and decide to take legal action, Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs will fight for compensation, which may include:

  • Disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and interference with family relationships
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages, future earnings and earning capacity
  • Past, present and future medical bills
  • Wrongful death

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