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What Do Police Officers Face for Alleged 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.

In this era of social justice warriors and media activism, police officers are often sentenced by the public before the facts and circumstances surrounding the case come to light. Holding police officers responsible for police misconduct and police brutality is, of course, necessary. Nonetheless, it is, unfortunately, true that many officers unjustly come under attack for alleged police misconduct.

If you’re a police officer, understanding the kind of liability you may face when accused of police misconduct and the legal defenses available to you is highly important.

Liability for alleged police misconduct

Officers can come under fire and face legal problems just like anyone else. Many times, these legal actions against them are unjustified. When they are sued for police misconduct, police officers may face criminal and civil liability as well as disciplinary measures. Officers may face criminal liability for charges such as murder or involuntary manslaughter, sexual assault, drug dealing, and other egregious forms of police misconduct.

Also, alleged victims of police misconduct may file civil rights lawsuits against officers, in which the alleged victim seeks monetary damages and/or an injunction. Plaintiffs often pursue a Section 1983 lawsuit, which alleges a civil rights violation. However, alleged victims must overcome the qualified immunity defense that protects police officers from lawsuits that seek money damages. To do this, the plaintiff must prove that the officer violated constitutional rights and that they were so clearly established that a reasonable officer would have known that he/she was in violation of said rights.

Sometimes officers are not held responsible in court for alleged misconduct, but they might still need to face disciplinary action within their department, such as suspension or even being fired from the job.

Legal defense for accused police officers 

California has seen more than its fair share of police misconduct cases, and as demonstrated above, law enforcement officers are not immune to criminal or civil liability and other disciplinary actions under state and federal law. Police officers can be a target for false accusations from people they have detained or arrested. It is also true that sometimes officers make unfortunate mistakes. In any case, officers have a right to defend themselves and their actions in the line of duty.

Finding private counsel with vast experience in California police misconduct cases is essential for police officers who face these types of charges. A police misconduct defense attorney understands that a law enforcement officer’s job is very difficult and full of complexities, and they are intimately familiar with the solid defenses you may raise in a civil or criminal case.

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 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.