While most law enforcement officers perform their job duties in good faith, we’d be foolish to pretend that police misconduct doesn’t exist. We’ve all heard of corrupt politicians and law enforcement officers who abuse their power – after all, corruption can be perpetuated by anyone, including public officials, board members, bankers, detectives, and the police.
According to the California Innocence Project, “Police officers are tasked with making our society safe. Sometimes their zeal leads them to cross the line and use the power of their badges to make a case that otherwise would not be triable. Especially when a brutal and senseless crime occurs, the zeal to see justice done can actually lead to great injustice. Other officers are often reluctant to report misconduct because of the loyalty they feel for their fellow officers.”
What is Police Misconduct?
It includes unethical, illegal, and immoral conduct by police officers while discharging their duties that violates citizens’ rights. Examples of police misconduct include police brutality, stealing evidence (such as drugs or cash), lying under oath, concealing evidence, planting evidence, fraud, coercion, torturing someone until they confess, sexual assault, abuse of authority, and demanding sexual favors in exchange for going easy on suspects.
In the past, police misconduct was often denied and swept under the rug. But now that almost everybody has a cellphone with recording capabilities, countless occurrences of police misconduct have been captured on video. All you have to do is search YouTube for “police misconduct” and videos will show up in the search results.
If you believe you’ve experienced police misconduct and you’re facing criminal charges, making a report on your own could fall on deaf ears, specifically because you may need to report the misconduct with the same agency that you’re complaining about. To protect your legal rights and fight your charges, contact our Columbia criminal defense firm for the help you need and deserve.