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Civil Rights

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Gonzales & Poirier, PLLC serves as a voice for victims of discrimination, abuse of power, and negligence, but most importantly, we stand up for those that cannot fight for themselves.

The Law Offices of Gonzales & Poirier is committed to justice for all people. Our firm serves as a voice for victims of discrimination, abuse of power and negligence. We give hope to the disenfranchised that have little expectation of justice by giving them access to quality legal representation. Most importantly, we stand up for those that cannot fight for themselves.

Justice for All:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) prohibits discrimination, including harassment and retaliation, based on race, sex, color, religion, and national origin. Specifically, Section 703(A) made it unlawful for any employer to “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions
or privileges or employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” In addition, Title 42, Section 1983, of the United States Code, provides that it is illegal for a police officer to deny the Constitutional or federal rights of any person. A police officer’s responsibility is to uphold the law and protect individual’s civil rights.

The Law Offices of Gonzales & Poirier take cases involving civil rights violations and police misconduct seriously. Our experienced attorneys stand up to government, especially when one’s rights are being violated. There are many variations of civil rights cases. These cases involve police misconduct, employment discrimination, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and violations of the First Amendment (freedom of speech and religion), Fourth Amendment (right against searches and seizures), Eighth Amendment (right against cruel and unusual punishment) and Fourteenth Amendment (rights to due process and equal protection).

Police Misconduct involves cases of excessive police force, unjustified deadly, negligent use of police dogs, false arrest or detention, racial profiling, and jail abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, Arizona has had its fair share of police misconduct or abuse. The Law Offices of Gonzales & Poirier have had a multitude of cases involving police misconduct. Most recently, our firm has handled cases of false arrest, racial profiling and false detention. We have been successful in receiving settlements prior to litigation.

Civil Rights Violations & Police Misconduct

Employment Discrimination cases in Arizona are governed under the Arizona Civil Rights Act, which provides that it is unlawful to discriminate against any individual because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability. This Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Discrimination includes the following:

  1. Failing to hire individuals or promote individuals for discriminatory reasons.
  2. Firing or demoting individuals for discriminatory reasons.
  3. Providing an individual with different pay, benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment.
  4. Segregating workers based on protected characteristics like race or gender.
  5. Sexual harassment, hostile work environment or harassment.
  6. Engaging in or tolerating harassment because of race, color, national origin, religion, age or disability.
  7. Pregnancy discrimination.
  8. Failing to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals.
  9. Failing to make corrections when harassment or retaliation are reported.
  10. Treating employees differently or retaliating against such employees because they have complained about discrimination.

Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. To be protected under this Act, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. A person is considered to have a disability with they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

The First Amendment protects our freedom of speech. Citizens of the United States may freely express any belief or idea, even if controversial or unpopular. The First Amendment also protects our religious practices. Our freedom of speech is only limited in certain instances such as speech that provokes imminent unlawful activities, slander, speech that is obscene or considered to be a hate crime. The attorneys at the Law Office of Gonzales & Poirier defend the First Amendment with vigor and zealousness. We believe that the First Amendment is the cornerstone to our freedom.

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures, requiring that law enforcement obtain consent from the person to be searched, or a warrant supported by probable cause. Such warrants need to particularly describe the place to be searched, and persons and property to be seized. Should law enforcement fail to obtain consent or a valid warrant, all evidence obtained by the search may be excluded under the exclusionary rule. The Fourth Amendment also protects individuals against arrest if the officer does not have probable cause. However, when an officer has “articulable suspicion” that crime is underway, the officer may investigate by stopping the individual for a short time and may frisk the person for weapons. This is known as a Terry Stop. Moreover, an officer does not violate the Fourth Amendment by merely approaching individuals on the street or in other public places and asking questions if these individuals are willing to listen.

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing cruel and unusual punishment for federal crimes. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars States from inflicting such cruel and unusual punishment for State crimes. The US Supreme Court has held that excessive physical force against prisoners may constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The Fourteenth Amendment sets forth the due process and equal protection clause. The due process clause provides that no state shall make or enforce any law which deprives person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The due process clause also makes the Bill of Rights applicable to states. When states may substantive laws or regulations, the Fourteenth Amendment may invalidate such laws under the doctrine of substantive due process. The Fourteenth Amendment also prohibits states from denying any person the equal protection of the laws. In essence, states cannot treat similar situated people differently. This applies to sex, alienage, illegitimacy, wealth, or other characteristics.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of police misconduct or a civil rights violation, call the Law Offices of Gonzales & Poirier today at (928) 774-5400. You may also email us at, or message us from our website at We handle cases in Flagstaff, Holbrook, Winslow, Williams, Sedona, Cottonwood, Prescott and other parts of the State. Our initial consultation is free.

A lot of law firms might claim to fight for your civil rights but we actually do represent citizens whose rights have been violated by the government. Here is a small example of our prior case involvement, as reported by the Arizona Daily Sun and the Arizona Republic:

Title: So. Beaver lawyer cites racism, to read the article click here.

Title: 4 schools to close, to read the article click here.

Title: Suit likely if South Beaver closed, to read the article click here.

Title: FUSD set to vote on school closure, to read the article click here.

Title: Flagstaff smoke shops continue smoke-free, to read the article click here.

Title: Parents, teachers, students and administrators may learn Tuesday evening which schools the Flagstaff Unified School District plans to close, to read the article click here.


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