What Happens in Cases Involving Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct occurs when a law enforcement officer somehow violates the law while on the job. However, not every single violation of the law can be considered police misconduct. For example, a police officer speeding while in pursuit of a suspect is technically a violation of speed limit laws, but in this case, the infraction cannot be considered misconduct. Instead, misconduct occurs in situations involving officers abusing the powers with which they have been entrusted.
An officer who plants weapons or drugs on a suspect to justify his or her improper actions, for example, would be considered misconduct because it demonstrates a serious abuse of power.
Anyone who is the victim of police misconduct has the right to contest the charges issued against them. Someone who has been subject to an illegal search, for example, may request any evidence collected in that search to be barred from use in trial.
Were your rights violated?
If the victim of misconduct wishes to file a lawsuit against the officer in question, that person must be able to prove there was a violation of federal or state or civil rights laws. A common example of such a lawsuit is a person claiming an officer unfairly targeted the victim because of his or her race in a way that deprived the victim of civil rights. Officers who use excessive force could also be found guilty of police misconduct and be subject to eventual lawsuits from the victim or the victim’s family.
To learn more about how to proceed if you believe you’ve suffered from police misconduct during a criminal investigation, consult knowledgeable Berks County criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.