Civil Rights & Discrimination

Have your civil rights been violated? Are you a victim of police misconduct, such as wrongful arrest or excessive force in the form of police brutality and unjustified police shootings? The Goodwin Firm is here to help. We represent victims whose civil rights have been violated by law enforcement, government agencies, or private businesses. 

What Are Your Civil Rights?

The civil rights granted by the Constitution come primarily from the following:

The First Amendment: Guarantees freedom of speech, expression, and religion and provides protection against retaliation.

The Fourth Amendment: Protects you against illegal searches and seizures and police brutality.  

Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Limit the power of the federal and state governments to discriminate. Private companies and individuals are not directly constrained by the Constitution.

The Sixth Amendment: Guarantees your right to a lawyer if you have been accused of a crime.

Over the years, Congress has also passed laws granting individuals additional civil rights, including:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Prohibits federal, state, and local governments, and most private companies from discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.

American with Disabilities Act (ADA)Prohibits federal, state, and local governments, and most private companies from discrimination based on a recognized disability. Under the ADA, no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regards to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation. Public accommodations include most places of lodging (such as hotels), recreation, transportation, education, and dining, along with stores, care providers, and places of public displays. 

Fair Housing Act: Probihits property owners to refuse to sell, rent to, or negotiate with any person based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, or national origin.

LGBTQ Discrimination (discrmination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity): 

While there is currently no federal or Florida law protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination, some courts, including some federal courts in Florida, have found that the prohibition against discrimination based in gender in the federal law includes a prohibition against discrimination based on gender identity and have ruled in favor of transgender individuals seeking protection from these laws. Additionally, several counties and cities in Florida have passed laws banning discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. The Florida counties and cities that have passed such laws include the Tampa Bay communities of:

            City of Dunedin                                                                               City of Gulfport 
            Hillsborough County                                                                     City of Largo
            Pinellas County  (Sexual Orientation Only)                            City of Sarasota  (Sexual Orientation Only)
            City of St. Petersburg (Sexual Orientation Only)
            City of Tampa 

Additionally, the following Florida municipalities and counties have enacted laws aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination:

           Alachua County                    City of Atlantic Beach                 Broward County                                                                               
           City of Cape Coral               City of Gainesville                        City of Juno Beach 
           City of Key West                   City Of Lake Worth                      Leon County                                                                                     
           City of Miami                         City of Miami Beach                     Miami Dade County 
           Monroe County                     Orange County                             City of Orlando
           City of Oakland Park            Palm Beach County                     City of St. Augustine 
           Village of Tequesta                Volusia County                             City of Venice 
           City of West Palm Beach      City of Wilton Manors

Types of Civil Rights Violations

Attorney April S. Goodwin is committed to helping you secure damages for civil rights violations involving all forms of misconduct by the government and private companies including:

          Police shootings                                                                                                          Police brutality

          Unlawful arrests                                                                                                          Unlawful searches and seizures

          Restraint of free speech or expression                                                                  Housing discrimination

          Discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, or religion             Housing discrimination

          Education (School) discrimination                                                                       Discrimination based on disability

          Discrimination based on sexual orientation                                                       Discrimination based on gender identity

          Accommodation discrimination (businesses open to the public such as hotels, restaurants, and retail stores)


Your First Step

If you feel that you have been the victim of a civil rights violation, we encourage you to contact us today at (727) 316.5333 for a free case evaluation.