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Police Misconduct: A Violation of Your Rights

This content about Police Misconduct was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

People who have been subjected to police misconduct and brutality are well within their rights to file a lawsuit or report an officer.

Individuals are usually at a loss as to how they can take on the complicated and sometimes harrowing process of bringing an officer to the forefront of a complaint or lawsuit, or sometimes they are not even aware that their constitutional rights have been violated.

Knowing what rights you have and how to get legal aid can help you decide the best course of action.

Types of police misconduct

Police misconduct classifies as any type of illegal or inappropriate behavior by law enforcement officers.  Some of the most common forms of police misconduct include racial profiling, unlawful arrest or detention, excessive use of force, and commitment of perjury. 

A good example is when an officer stops and frisks an individual suspected of wrongdoing on the basis of their race or color. Racial profiling does not meet the reasonable suspicion that is needed to make an arrest given that reasonable suspicion must concern a specific person and not a class of people.  

Violated Rights

Police misconduct often results in a violation of civil and constitutional rights. The rights that are most commonly violated when an officer engages in misconduct include but are not limited to the following:

  • Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national original, and religion
  • Protection against cruel and unusual punishment
  • The right to due process
  • The right to privacy
  • The right against unreasonable searches and seizures 

In the example mentioned above, where a person is stopped and frisked based on their race, there is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, which states that a person has the right to be free from a search and seizure that is unreasonable. The example also shows a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment on equal protection under the law. 

Getting legal aid

If you have been the victim of police misconduct or if you’ve had your civil rights violated by a law enforcement officer, you have plenty of options.

First, you can file a complaint with said police officer’s department. Second, you can ask the court to leave out any evidence that was found under the circumstances of the misconduct, and finally, you can file a civil rights lawsuit.

Sometimes, pursuing these options can result in a criminal case against the officer, though this is very rare.

Whichever option you decide to pursue, having a specialized attorney by your side can ease the process. Also, an attorney can guide you if you wish to pursue monetary damages for your suffering.

Unfortunately, California police misconduct is not rare and these types of cases can be very complex, so make sure to rely on a knowledgeable professional.

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.

This content about Police Misconduct was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.