Police officers are meant to serve and protect, and for the most part, many police officers are good at their jobs and uphold the peace. However, there are a handful of law enforcement officials who abuse their position of trust and power, and behave in ways that are inappropriate and illegal. There are laws in place to protect against this abuse and misconduct.
Police Civil Rights Violations
The law protects police officers. Many are immune from lawsuits unless an officer demonstrates willful or unreasonable conduct. Negligence or failure to exercise care isn’t enough for a liability. An officer needs to violate your constitutional right. These include false arrest (false imprisonment, malicious prosecution or unreasonable or excessive force).
The most common claim against an officer is false arrest. This is a violation against the Fourth Amendment, which prevents unreasonable seizure. If an officer has probable cause, the arrest isn’t against the Fourth Amendment. This includes an arrest without a warrant for a warrant for a felony or misdemeanor acts committed in their presence. This even includes if all the information was incorrect. In order to prove a false arrest, lack of probable cause in the arrest needs to be proved.
A malicious prosecution claim means that the officer wrongly deprived the victim of the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to liberty. A victim needs to prove four things:
- An officer started a comical proceeding
- This proceeding did not lead to a conviction.
- There was no probable cause.
- This proceeding was brought with malice.
Excessive force usually invoices serious physical injury or death at an officer’s hand. The overall facts and circumstances are very important. The Fourtheenth Admendment protects against wilfully depriving of life, liberty or property without due process of the law. The word wilfully means a specific intent to depriving a victim. Examples of this are the police officers who beat Rodney King in the early 1990s and Kentucky corrections officers in the early 2000s who raped a teeenager in jail after a traffic violation. Evidence showed the officers teased the youth repeatedly for looking like a “sissy,” said he “needed to be scared,” put him in a cell that had a reputation for sexually predatory behavior, and told the other inmates to have sex with him. These were affirmative steps of harm.
Failure to Intervene
If an officer witnesses the violation of an individual’s constitutional right, he or she must report it. If the officer does not, this is failure to intervene.
Assert Your Rights Against Police Misconduct
Fighting against civil rights violations like those committed by police officers are important. It helps to create balance in our system and protects other individuals from the same situation. These cases are difficult, but that doesn’t mean misconduct should be ignored. If you are the victim of police misconduct, call today. The consultations is free and confidential. Let our two decades of experience representing the injured receive justice help you today.