Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Evan J. Mandery
Law enforcement officials are subject to civil liability for intentional actions on their part to deprive citizens of constitutional rights. This liability derives primarily from the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, enacted as a response to the systematic injustices leveled against blacks in the aftermath of the Civil War. Although written with a narrow constituency in mind, the Act is cast in broad terms, providing a remedy against “any person” who, under color of state law, deprives any person of “any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution.” The Act is codified as 42 U.S.C. §1983. During the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court began widening the coverage of Section 1983 to match its expansive language. In Monroe v. Pape (1961), the Court held that Section 1983 provides a remedy for any constitutional violation committed under color of state law. Prior to that decision, the Court Bivens ...