Although police brutality more often makes headlines, other types of police misconduct are a disturbing issue in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Various types of police misconduct, such as racial profiling and unreasonable searches, are a threat to the civil rights and freedoms of individuals and communities everywhere.
If you have been mistreated by the police in the Philadelphia area, Cooper Schall & Levy is here to defend your right to be treated with respect and professionalism and to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their misconduct. Contact us now to see if you have a viable case. If so, our police misconduct attorneys will fight vigorously to recover the monetary damages you deserve.
Laws Protect the Public From Police Misconduct
Everyone is aware that police officers have difficult and dangerous jobs. That fact, however, does not give them permission to disobey the very laws that they are supposed to enforce or to violate the constitutional rights of those they serve. If you are uncertain about whether the treatment you were subjected to rises to the level of police misconduct, get in touch with our knowledgeable legal team.
Types of Police Misconduct
Although most police officers take their duty of care seriously, instances of police misconduct are not rare, especially in low-income, high-crime communities. Tragically, such misconduct more frequently targets minorities, especially people of color. Apart from excessive force and police brutality, there are still too many types of police misconduct, including:
False Arrest and/or False Imprisonment
The circumstances of false arrest and imprisonment may vary, but however either occurs, they are both serious matters. Police may arrest an individual without probable cause or without a valid warrant. They may also coerce a suspect to confess in order to facilitate a false arrest. If the arrested individual ends up in jail, the police offense is even more reprehensible.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
There are constitutional limitations to the right of law enforcement officials to search a person, a vehicle or a home, but in many instances, police overstep the boundaries. Although “stop and frisk” is legal in the U.S., it is far too often applied in a discriminatory manner. The most egregious forms of unlawful search can take place when police enter and search a home without a proper cause or warrant.
Discrimination: Profiling, Harassment, Threats
Words can hurt you. When spoken harshly by a person who has the weight of the legal system behind them, words can put you in fear of your safety, or even your life. If a police officer calls you a name or speaks to you in a derogatory manner because you are black, Muslim, gay, disabled, transgender, Jewish or elderly, they are engaging in misconduct. By the same token, if a police officer makes sexual comments or threatens to hurt you, your rights have been violated. The police have taken an oath to uphold the law, not to break it or use their power as an enforcer to intimidate you.
Being spoken to in a sexual manner by someone who has the authority to take away your freedom or potentially harm you is frightening. Being touched inappropriately, fondled, or groped by such a person can be terrifying. If you have had such an experience, the police officer should be disciplined and you are entitled to compensation.
Evidence Tampering, Coercing Confessions, Lying on Police Reports
Over the years, many police officers have been found guilty of planting or tampering with evidence, coercing confessions, or lying in police reports in order to build a strong case. Some have lied under oath to ensure that the individual they arrested is “put away” or to protect their own reputation. None of these acts should be tolerated.
Police are obligated to exercise appropriate care when chasing or arresting a suspect. Each year, there are reports by third parties, typically innocent bystanders, of injuries that resulted from police chases, shootings, or other law enforcement actions. Police are responsible if they inflict personal injury upon these third parties whose lives they have sworn to protect.
Not Getting an Injured Person Urgent Medical Care
No matter how heinous the crime a person is accused of committing, the police are duty-bound to get that individual emergency medical assistance. Otherwise, law enforcement can be found guilty of cruel and unusual punishment.
How Our Police Misconduct Attorneys Can Help
It is daunting to legally confront any large, powerful entity, particularly a law enforcement agency. At times like this, it is essential to have an accomplished police misconduct attorney. If you are battling police misconduct in the Philadelphia area (including adjacent counties in New Jersey), Cooper Schall & Levy is well-prepared to protect your rights through strategic negotiation or litigation.
You should know offending officers will likely invoke the principle of “qualified immunity” to protect themselves from prosecution. This principle exempts government officials from civil lawsuits unless it can be proven that they violated the plaintiff’s constitutional or statutory rights. Our legal team has dealt with such matters many times before. In most instances, police misconduct is pursued as a civil, rather than criminal, case. Notably, this action can be taken even if you are found guilty of the crime you were arrested for.
Contact Our Experienced Police Misconduct Attorneys Now
It is not only in your best interests but in the best interests of the public that we hold police accountable for their misconduct. If we are to make our communities safer from civilian crime, we must be vigilant about police misconduct as well. More than that, you are entitled to damages for the indignity and mistreatment you suffered. You can count on us to provide you with the legal clout you require to win maximum compensation. Contact us today so we can begin working on your case.