Police officers have the job to enforce the law and protect our communities; for that, we provide them with broad authority to arrest and detain people, use reasonable force when necessary, and even take a life as a last resort and never incur in police misconduct.
It is expected that every police officer will follow the laws and Constitution, and obey the limits on their authority; however, there are instances where an officer might exceed his or her authority, resulting in a person getting seriously injured or killed.
A bedrock principle under our Constitution is that any arrest must be based on probable cause to believe the person has committed a crime.
When arresting someone, police officers are only allowed to use the type and amount of force that is objectively reasonable under the circumstances, and necessary to achieve some lawful purpose.
Unfortunately, sometimes law enforcement officers violate these clear rules, resulting in their own civil — or even criminal — liability.
What is Police Misconduct?
In law, misconduct is wrongful, improper, or unlawful conduct. Unreasonable or unethical conduct, especially for a professional person, can also be considered misconduct.
According to U.S Legal, “(it’s) the improper actions taken by police officers in relation to their official duties. (it) often results in miscarriage of justice and discrimination.”
What counts as Police Misconduct?
While the laws of each state might be different in some ways, generally it can include the following:
- False arrest (without a warrant or probable cause)
- Unlawful detention (without reasonable suspicion of a crime)
- Unlawful entry into a residence or private building without a warrant or lawful exigent circumstances
- False police report
- Creation and use of falsified evidence
- False and dishonest testimony
- Malicious prosecution
- Use of excessive force
- Use of excessive deadly force
- Death in custody due to restraint methods
- Police brutality
- Police corruption
- Racial profiling
- Sexual abuse
- Police Code of Silence
What to do if you’re a victim of police brutality
If you have been subjected to this type of abuse, you can:
- Consult with a private civil rights attorney about possibly filing a civil lawsuit for damages;
- File a citizen’s complaint with the involved law enforcement agency;
- In some jurisdictions, you can file a complaint with a police oversight board or commission.
More on Police Misconduct:
- About the Law Enforcement Misconduct Statute
- Agreeing with a search warrant
- Common types of Police Misconduct
- Deliberate Indifference
- Filing a police misconduct complaint
- How do I report Police Misconduct?
- Physical Assault
- The OJP Program Statute
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- Police Misconduct in the US
- Laws Enforced by the Department of Justice
- Police Misconduct Provision
- What information should I include in a Complaint to DOJ
- Police Misconduct: A Violation of Your Rights
- See an Attorney about Police Misconduct
- Sexual Misconduct
- Understanding Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Violations
- What is Police Harassment?
- What counts as Police Misconduct?
- Advice from a Police Misconduct Attorney
- Your Legal Options after Suffering a Wrongful Arrest
- How to Legally Act Against Police Brutality and Misconduct
- How to Tell If You Are the Victim of a Wrongful Arrest
- How to Pick a Civil Rights Lawyer for Police Misconduct Cases
- Defenses You May Use as a Police Officer Against Alleged Police Misconduct
- What to Do When You Sustain Injuries Due to Police Misconduct
Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California. Call or email us for a free consultation.