42 U.S.C. § 1983 : US Code - Section 1983: Civil action for deprivation of rights

      Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
    regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the
    District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any
    citizen of the United States or other person within the
    jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges,
    or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable
    to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other
    proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought
    against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such
    officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted
    unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was
    unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress
    applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be
    considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.