Police Misconduct Lawyer
Although law enforcement officers generally act ethically and within legal boundaries and agency policies, occasionally there are lapses of conduct and these lapses can occur in various ways. In addition, police misconduct may be committed by officers other than those of a local community's police department ─ for instance:
- County sheriffs
- State highway patrol
- Federal law enforcement officers, including those of the FBI, CIA, DEA, Dept. of Homeland Security, etc.
- Military officers, Coast Guard, Border Patrol
- Civilians acting as police (for example, a shop owner or security guard)
Examples of Police Misconduct
Sometimes the police misconduct is a purposeful abuse of power. At other times, the misconduct may be an instance of the officer’s "getting carried away" in the pursuit of a suspect. The most common forms of police misconduct include:
- arrests during routine stops for no reason; false arrests
- arrests based on racial profiles
- negligent care of inmates or suspects in custody (custodial negligence)
- use of excessive physical force
- improper search/seizure
- planting drugs on someone
- arresting someone for refusing to divulge information
- harassing individuals
- keeping a "code of silence" about other officers' conduct
- improper handling of police misconduct reports
You Have a Defense against Police Misconduct
Whatever the case, innocent civilians have the right to contest the conduct of law enforcement officers.
A federal law, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, is the fundamental civil rights statute protecting people who have been victimized by police misconduct. This law has been in effect since 1871, when it was passed in an effort to prevent misconduct by the government and to keep individuals from acting in vigilante groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Section 1983 prohibits anyone acting under the authority of state law (such as police) from depriving an individual of his or her rights under the Constitution and other laws.
If You Have Experienced Police Misconduct
If you feel that you have been the victim of misconduct by a law enforcement officer or agency, there are a number of actions you can take. It is important that you write down as much as you can about what happened, including:
- the date and time of the event(s)
- who was present at or witnessed the event(s)
- the names of the officer(s) and other individuals involved
- whether you were injured, and if so, details and documentation
- notes of conversations that you have had with people involved, including after the event
Preserve any evidence that you have regarding the misconduct.
Contact an Experienced Police Misconduct Attorney It's in your best interest to have a qualified, knowledgeable attorney represent you in a legal action concerning police misconduct. Contact such an attorney in your area today.
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