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What to Do When You’ve Been the Victim of Police Misconduct

Police officers have a difficult job of upholding the laws and protecting our communities, and they do have authorization to engage in some unsettling behaviors that most people don’t like—such as necessary use of force, detaining individuals using handcuffs, making arrests, and interrogating suspects.

Just because some of these behaviors make you uncomfortable doesn’t mean those behaviors equal misconduct. In general, police officers have immunity from being sued for general negligence; however, the police can be held accountable for civil rights violations.

Misconduct by police falls under three major categories: false arrest, excessive use of force (police also have a duty to intervene if someone else is using excessive force), and malicious prosecution. Let’s take a look at these three categories below.

False Arrest

False arrest is the misconduct that is most often charged against police officers. In the simplest of terms, false arrest means that you were arrested without probable cause. The law asserts that an officer can only stop, detain, or arrest an individual if they have probable cause to do so.

In other words, an officer can’t just stop every person on the street unless the officer can demonstrate some suspicion or reason for doing so. For instance, if an officer hears that someone wearing a red sweatshirt just robbed a bank nearby, then the officer has probable cause to stop and detain a person who is wearing a red sweatshirt.

Even if later the officer learns that the person who robbed the bank was wearing an orange sweatshirt, this is still not considered a false arrest since the officer was operating under the information they had at the time.

Excessive Use of Force

Police brutality is another way of saying excessive use of force. Basically, this is when an officer uses force beyond what is reasonable for the situation. This is a very difficult concept, and it’s a tough case to prove because what is reasonable to one person may not be reasonable to another.

Also, there are many different factors that go into proving that an officer’s use of force was beyond what was necessary.

Malicious Prosecution

Finally, you can sue an officer for malicious prosecution—basically the idea that the officer was arresting you because of anger or malice toward you. As long as you can prove that the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you, and you were not convicted of the crime against you, then you may be able to win a case of malicious prosecution.

Speak with a Top-Rated Attorney Today About Your Police Misconduct Case

So then, what should you do when you’ve been the victim of police misconduct? File a case against those who’ve mistreated and harmed you. You do have the right to live a life free from police abuse, and you are owed compensation if police have wrongfully treated you.

Get in touch with a police misconduct attorney at Halperin Law Center today. We offer free case consults so you can tell us about your case right away. Dial 804-527-0100 or complete the form below to get justice for the violation of your civil rights.