Frequently Asked Questions About Police Misconduct
Which constitutional amendments apply to cases of police misconduct? What types of evidence can be used to prove a case? When someone is killed as the result of police misconduct, what are the rights of the surviving family members? Browse our FAQs to learn about your legal rights as a victim of police misconduct, then contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
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Is sexual abuse a form of police brutality?
Yes. If an officer sexually abuses you while they are acting in their official capacity as a law enforcement professional, this is considered a type of police brutality. Actions on the part of the officer can include sexual harassment, fondling, oral sex, and rape.
How Sexual Abuse Occurs
Police officers are intimidating, authoritative figures who carry badges and guns. It can be tough to say no to an officer, even if it is clear they are acting outside the scope of their job. Some of the ways they may take advantage of their authority to brutalize citizens include:
- Targeting victims at routine traffic stops. Police officers might deliberately stop drivers in low-traffic areas to reduce the chance of any witnesses.
- Making arrests. Victims who are arrested are often in handcuffs and unable to protect themselves.
- Participating in mentorship programs. There are many reports from young women who are sexually assaulted by officers they trusted.
- Preying on domestic violence survivors. Victims of domestic violence are often vulnerable to abuse by those they call upon for protection.
- Targeting drug users. Often police officers will sexually abuse those they believe will not report the incident.
Beyond the Police Report
Because you will likely be filing your complaint at the very police department where the officer works, the process can be scary. The officer assigned to investigate your case is likely a colleague of the person who hurt you, and there is a code of honor within the police to protect the reputation of the department.
It’s essential that you do more than just file a police report. You need an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights. An attorney can help gather evidence to support your case, including:
- Information from a rape kit
- Eyewitness testimony
- Relevant video footage
- Medical records
Damages to which you might be entitled include compensation for medical bills, lost income, physical injuries, and emotional suffering.
Police misconduct is against the law, and if you are sexually abused by an officer, you need an experienced police brutality attorney. Call attorney Ben Crittenden to schedule a consultation.
Did the police use excessive force in my arrest?
By law, police officers are allowed to use a reasonable amount of force to protect themselves or citizens from harm. They can also use reasonable force when they are trying to arrest someone. Unfortunately, some police officers abuse their power by using excessive rather than reasonable force, which can result in a member of the public being hurt.
This excessive force is referred to as police brutality. Identifying excessive force usually comes down to the following:
- What another police officer might have done in a similar situation
- Whether the person harmed by the excessive force had a weapon
- Whether the police officer believed that excessive force was necessary to protect themselves or the public
These circumstances are weighed heavily in making the determination of police brutality. For example, if someone dies as a result of a police officer’s actions, but the police officer genuinely believed there was a physical threat to their safety or the safety of the public, this may not be police brutality. But if the person hadn’t posed a physical threat to others and the police officer’s actions caused unnecessary harm, this could be a case of police brutality.
Examples of Police Brutality
Police brutality doesn’t always involve a weapon. Depending on the circumstances, the following could be considered police brutality:
- Violence or a physical attack by the police officer on a civilian
- A strip search
- Botched raids
If an officer used excessive force on you, humiliated you, or otherwise acted inappropriately, and you suffered an injury because of it, you might have a police brutality case.
Why You Need an Experienced Attorney
Although police brutality and other types of police misconduct are against the law, you can expect that any police department against which you bring a case is going to fight it. An experienced police brutality attorney can advise you of your rights and conduct a full investigation to prove that you were a victim of excessive force. Call attorney Ben Crittenden at 907-885-6032 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.