We’re taught from a young age that police are supposed to protect us and our communities. We grow up respecting local officers, and many of us probably wanted to be one when we grew up. Unfortunately, the world we live in isn’t as protected or just as we believed when we were children. Police are as susceptible to corruption as anyone. Officers killed 1,202 people last year alone, and thousands more were victims of physical, verbal, and sexual misconduct.
Understanding the Right to Use Force and Police Immunity
Perhaps this kind of misbehavior is on the rise because the world around us becoming increasingly more violent, or perhaps it’s simply because mobile technology makes it easier to record and share such events. Either way, reports of police misconduct have been occurring more frequently over the past few years, which leaves many people wondering how they can take action.
Unfortunately, it has also led to increased false reports of police misconduct. Cops tread a very thin line between using necessary force and excessive force, and it can be difficult for an onlooker to discern between the two. Furthermore, police have what’s known as immunity, meaning they are, in many cases, immune to persecution. That being said, there are several situations where a police officer may violate civil rights laws.
Recognizing False Arrests
False arrests tend to be the most common claim against police officers. The fourth amendment protects citizens against unreasonable seizure. An officer must have probable cause to arrest someone. He or she does not need a warrant to arrest you if a misdemeanor or felony was committed in his or her presence. If you’re arrested and the information used to arrest you later turns out to be untrue, the police officer still had the right to arrest you because he or she believed the information to be true at the time. To prove false arrest, you must show the officer lacked sufficient information tying you to the crime.
Recognizing Police Brutality
Excessive force is another common claim against police officers. This is otherwise known as police brutality. Police often have to use force to detain someone. Occasionally, the force they use is unnecessary and causes significant harm to an individual. This claim will depend heavily on the facts surrounding the event.
If the police officer had good intentions but used unreasonable force, which caused injury, he or she will be held liable. If the amount of force was reasonable, though, the officer won’t be held liable—regardless of his or her intentions.
Proving Police Misconduct
There are other forms of misconduct, including verbal abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation, racial profiling, and malicious persecution. No matter the claim, you’ll be expected to prove the police officer violated his or her authority. You’ll need to prove:
- The officer committed an action that exceeded reasonable boundaries.
- He or she impeded your constitutional rights.
- The officer’s actions resulted in your injury and/or damages.
Proving police misconduct can be a challenging claim, but it’s necessary if you believe you were wronged. There are far too many unclaimed cases of police misconduct. Civil rights laws were put in place for a reason, and it’s our duty as a society to uphold them.
Speak With an Experienced Houston Attorney
Attorney Brian White works with clients in Houston, TX and surrounding communities. He’s a board-certified attorney with years of trial experience. He strongly believes in the rights of all his clients and will fight tirelessly on your behalf. Police misconduct is discouraging and unacceptable. Contact attorney Brian White today for more information, and find the justice you deserve.