Civil rights are the basic rights that belong to American citizens by virtue of their U.S. citizenship. The U.S. Constitution protects these rights from unreasonable interference by government and the federal laws provide us a process to seek damages in connection with misuses of governmental authority and power. Constitutional civil rights claims often arise in public employment settings where the government is the public employer (i.e. police departments, fire departments, school districts, etcetera).
Some examples include the right to associate and assemble with other people of our choosing, the right to free speech and the right to practice individual religious beliefs (1st Amendment); the rights to possess and bear firearms (2nd Amendment); the right to privacy in your home and your things, and freedom from unreasonable governmental search and seizure (4th Amendment); the right not to incriminate oneself and the right to protection against excessive use of force (5th Amendment); the right to protection against cruel and unusual punishment (8th Amendment); and the right to due process of the law before being deprived of life, liberty or property (14th Amendment).