Can I Sue a Cop in Oklahoma?
YES... But there's a bit to it
What is a Tort Claim in Oklahoma?
The Governmental Tort Claims Act is a law that allows ordinary individuals to sue the State of Oklahoma and it's political subdivisions, such as cities, towns, counties and law enforcement departments. The purpose of the act is to allow people to bring claims in court and pursue compensation when they've been damaged or wronged. There are many facets to navigating the process and we highly recommend hiring an experienced Oklahoma civil rights attorney if your rights have been violated by law enforcement in Oklahoma. Every case is unique, therefor we encourage those affected to seek out proper representation.
How do I file a Notice of Tort Claim?
If you are suing a municipality start here:
OMAG states on their website: "Private citizens and third parties cannot, by law, file claims directly with OMAG. Instead, you must contact the Municipal Clerk of the Municipality involved. They will ask you to fill out and sign the Notice of Tort Claim form. After the Municipality has accepted and reviewed this form, the Municipality will file this form with OMAG."
If you are suing Oklahoma County start here:
Oklahoma County has a form with instructions for filing a TORT Claim available online HERE. Their website states: "Any person with a claim against the county must file a written claim with the County Clerk of the county in which the accident or occurrence happened within one year after the loss."
If you are suing Tulsa County start here:
Tulsa County has a form with instructions for filing a TORT Claim available online HERE. Their website provides instructions on the process, it appears to be geared more towards property damage than civil rights issues.
If you are suing Canadian County start here:
Canadian County has a form with instructions for filing a TORT Claim available online HERE. Their website states: "The filing of a Notice of Tort Claim in the County Clerk's office is only the initial step in the claim process and does not indicate in any manner the acceptance of responsibility by the County and / or its related entities. Written notice is required by law and shall be filed with the County Clerk within one (1) year from the date of occurrence. It will then be sent to the County Claims of Oklahoma Claims Department located at 429 NE 50th Street in Oklahoma City, OK (Phone (800) 982-6212) for further investigation. Failure to file your claim within such time frame may result in the claim being barred in its entirety. Other limitations to your claim may also apply (See Oklahoma Statutes, Title Number 51, Section 151-172)."
Official Capacity vs. Individual Capacity
As you proceed through the stressful process of holding the government accountable, you will frequently hear the terms "Official Capacity" and "Individual Capacity" frequently. We encourage you to learn what this means in relation to your case specific situation. Here are a few resources available online you can read to familiarize your self with the concepts.
Pro Se Tips and Tactics from Prison Legal News
Official Capacity Definition - Collins Dictionary
Individual Capacity Definition - Law Insider
User's Guide to Qualified Immunity - Plunkett Cooney Lawfirm
The external sites listed below are not necessarily endorsed by Citizens Overseeing Police Oklahoma, and the views held by these organizations may not be the views of C.O.P. Oklahoma. These links are provided for educational purpose only and user discretion is encouraged.