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Police misconduct covers an array of behavior by law enforcement that is in contravention of the police sworn duty to protect the public and the rights of individuals in the exercise of their duties. Police who commit misconduct can be subject to criminal prosecution and civil litigation.
Some major forms of police misconduct include:
As an agent of the government, or state, police in general are accorded immunity from civil action. For a victim of police misconduct to overcome the presumption of immunity, the alleged misconduct must be extreme or beyond what is considered reasonably acceptable, in violation of personal or civil rights, and resulted in injury or damage to the victim.
If you are an officer of the law criminally charged with misconduct or are being sued in a civil case, you will want to discuss your legal options with an attorney experienced in handling misconduct cases. Police found guilty of misconduct face possible imprisonment and expulsion from the police force or demotion in rank and may be exposed to civil liability.
If you believe you have been the victim of police misconduct, meeting with a lawyer can help you decide how to proceed. You may want to press for criminal charges, file a civil lawsuit for damages or both. Cases against law enforcement often generate a lot of publicity and public interest and can result in millions of dollars in damages being awarded to victims. Do not be intimidated by police authority. Talk with an attorney to learn your rights and about compensation you may be entitled to.