What is Police Misconduct?

Police Misconduct occurs when inappropriate actions are taken by an officer(s) in connection with their duties which violates someone's constitutional rights and/or engages in practices of discriminatory misconduct. Such misconduct can result in both the officer and the police department being subject to either civil and/or criminal penalties.

What are examples of police misconduct?

Examples of civil discriminatory misconduct include, but, are not limited to:

  • Harassment
  • Verbal abuse/racial slurs
  • Discriminatory traffic stops
  • Unprofessional conduct –including coercive sexual conduct

Examples of criminal police misconduct include, but, are not limited to:

  • Using excessive force
  • Misuse of police dog, stun gun, taser
  • Sexual assault
  • Intentional false arrest or fabrication of evidence

What Are Miranda Rights?

The Miranda warning/rights are part of a preventive criminal procedure that requires law enforcement to advise a suspect in custody and subject to direct questioning (or the functional equivalent) of certain constitutional rights (i.e. 5th Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination). In short, a suspect must be informed that he/she has the right to:

  • Remain silent
  • Have an attorney present during questioning
  • Have an attorney appointed if one cannot be afforded

Can I Be Arrested without Being Read My Miranda Rights?

Yes - The police are only required to read the Miranda rights when interrogating a suspect in police custody. To arrest you, the police merely need probable cause.

What should I do if I believe that my rights were violated by the police?

  • Always file a complaint first with the police department or internal affairs division.
  • You can also report the misconduct to the United States Department of Justice or the United States Attorney’s office.
  • After filing a police complaint, you can pursue other remedies by filing a lawsuit in Court against the police officer(s) involved and their respective department.

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