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What counts as Police Misconduct?

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.

When a public officer acts illegally or improperly in connection with his or her duties, official misconduct can be claimed. If this public officer is a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or other law enforcement officer, the term used is “police misconduct.”  The legal dictionary of Law.com defines it as “improper and/or illegal acts by a public official which violate his/her duty to follow the law and act on behalf of the public good. Often such conduct is under the guise or “color” of official authority.”

What counts as Police Misconduct?

While the laws of each state might differ in some ways, in California can include the following:

  • Police brutality
  • Use of excessive force
  • Improper deadly force
  • Deliberately obtaining false confessions
  • Creation and use of falsified evidence
  • False arrest
  • False imprisonment
  • False testimony
  • Unlawful entry into a home or private property
  • Police corruption
  • Political repression
  • Racial profiling
  • Sexual abuse
  • Code of silence

Depending on the state’s law; there could be other acts that could be added to this list. In the U.S., the “Exclusionary Rule” is one way this type of case is addressed. This rule in criminal cases states any evidence gathered through misconduct is sometimes inadmissible in court.

Suing an officer for Misconduct

Law enforcement officers of all kinds (police officers, sheriffs deputies, border patrol agents, etc.) have broad authority and power to carry out their duties. However, the Constitution and other laws place limits on their authority.

As various cases in California show, sometimes officers can go too far and use excessive force or some other form of misconduct, like unlawful arrest, that results in a violation of citizen’s rights. When this happens, the person who was wronged may have the chance to recover damages through a legal claim or lawsuit based on their state and federal laws.

The primary purpose of our country’s civil rights laws is to protect everyone from government abuse, and that includes police misconduct.  A civil rights lawyer can help you know more about your civil rights and navigate your best options when filing a police misconduct lawsuit to recover compensatory and punitive damages if you’ve been wronged in any way the law finds punishable.

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.