Police misconduct occurs when an officer violates someone's constitutional rights. This misconduct can subject the officer and the police department to both civil and criminal penalties.
Civil Police Misconduct
- It is unlawful for an officer to engage in a pattern of conduct that deprives a person of their constitutional rights
- You must be able to show that it is a pattern- one isolated incident is not sufficient to prove a civil violation
- The court can grant you an injunction that requires the officer to stop the misconduct against you
- A police officer is prohibited from engaging in practices of discriminatory misconduct
- Again you must show that there is a pattern of discriminatory misconduct, before you can bring a case
- Examples of civil discriminatory misconduct include:
- racial slurs
- unjustified arrests
- discriminatory traffic stops
- coercive sexual conduct
Criminal Police Misconduct
- A law enforcement officer cannot deprive any person of his/her constitutional rights.
- There is no requirement that the police misconduct be done in a manner to discriminate
- Examples of criminal police misconduct include:
- Using excessive force
- Sexual assault
- Intentional false arrest
- Intentional fabrication of evidence
What to Do If The Police Violate Your Rights
- Always file a complaint first with the police department or internal affairs division. It is generally a requirement that you exhaust all of your administrative remedies first before bringing a lawsuit.
- After reporting to the police department, the next step is to report the misconduct to the United States Department of Justice or the United States Attorneys office
- After you have reported the violations, you then may be permitted to file a lawsuit in Court against the police department and/or their officers.
Filing a Lawsuit against the Police
If you feel the Police violated your rights and you want to file a lawsuit to collect money for your injuries, you should speak to criminal attorney immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.