To serve and protect. Or so they say. The code of ethics that law enforcement agents are supposed to live by has been severely tarnished by a small number of corrupt police officers, prison guards and other law enforcement agents. This abuse of power and authority has an overwhelming and lasting effect not only on the person who was brutalized, but also the community in which these acts of injustice occur.
As a U.S. citizen, you have certain rights – as outlined by our Constitution and reinforced by state and federal law – that limit the power the police have over you. Police brutality occurs when an officer violates these rights. The Fifth Amendment states that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Our constitutional rights are in place to prevent issues such as excessive force, false arrest, warrant-less searches and unlawful imprisonments from occurring.
Even so, unjust scenarios involving law enforcement agents continue to unfold in our nation’s neighborhoods. Many kinds of police misconduct exist, all of which have the same negative impact on the individuals that are involved and on our society as a whole.
Below is a list of the more commonly reported acts of police misconduct and police brutality. If you would like to learn more about this topic, please contact us.
- Excessive Force/Brutality. Law enforcement agents may respond to a situation with any individual using only as much physical force as is needed to control the situation. Excessive force claims are commonly reported due to the obvious use of a weapon or due to unnecessary beatings. When unreasonable force is used, police brutality exists.
- False/Unlawful Arrest. When making an arrest, a police officer must have probable cause for suspecting that a crime is either being committed or has been committed. Probable cause is defined as “a reasonable belief by an officer that a crime has been committed.” Probable cause exists only if the facts and circumstances known to the officer would warrant him/her to believe that a crime has been committed and that you are the responsible party. Police brutality often occurs during incidents of false arrest.
- False Imprisonment. An innocent individual does not need to spend a night in jail to be falsely imprisoned. Any bodily restraint not authorized by the law amounts to false imprisonment. Law enforcement agents often try to cover up incidents of police brutality by using unlawful restraint and charging the individual with disorderly conduct. On a street, in a police vehicle, at the police station or even in one’s home – if you were unfairly restrained, that may be illegal.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a police officer, please call us at (516) 342-2200 or fill out the online contact form for immediate attention to your case.