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Los Angeles Law Blog

By stephen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Other on Monday, September 14, 2020.
What can I do if I believe I am a victim of police misconduct or brutality?

 

Even under the best of circumstances, it can be an intimidating and complicated situation to navigate if you find yourself entangled with law enforcement. In a perfect world, cops would always be the good guys, robbers would always be the bad guys, and everything would be as simple as children’s games make them out to be. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect, as is our justice system. There’s no foolproof method to ensure all cops are good, and we know from too many heartbreaking stories that many criminals are not bad – particularly when someone is wrongly convicted. If you believe you have been a victim of police conduct or brutality, whether it was a one-time occurrence or ongoing battle you now need legal support for, here are the next steps you can take, as well as how we can support you to overcome such an intimidating event.

 

Although officers are enforcers of the law, and therefore have resources and processes available to them that are not options for everyday citizens, they are by no means above the law – and more importantly, they’re still human, which means there is always room for error, malicious or otherwise. When this happens, it’s typically considered police misconduct, and anyone who suffers as the result of it is entitled to justice and compensation for any damages resulting as the consequence of the officer’s or officers’ actions. There are a variety of ways police misconduct can occur, which means the appropriate response may vary accordingly.

 

Unlawful search

Just because someone is a police officer doesn’t mean they can do as they please, and there are rules that must be followed. In a black and white scenario, a search warrant is pretty clear cut, but there are other exceptions that some officers know the average citizen may not understand, and use this gray area to justify an unlawful search or manipulate someone into agreeing to a search believing they do not have a choice. If you believe you may have experienced an unlawful search, review the circumstances surrounding the event and give our office a call to determine if police misconduct may have occurred.

 

False arrest

As with searches, police officers have made arrests despite not having enough evidence or cause, either because they themselves did not realize the arrest was unlawful, or because they took advantage of a citizen’s lack of knowledge of the law. Just because the arrest is over doesn’t mean you’re out of options, and fighting the arrest can result in certain evidence being thrown out, or even having all charges dropped.

 

Brutality and excessive force

These may be the most common instances the average person thinks of when they think of police misconduct, and they are certainly among the most severe. Being physically attacked – particularly by an official peacekeeper – is a traumatizing experience. If you had an altercation with the police that turned physical, and you believe they escalated the situation beyond what was appropriate, please call us immediately so we can review the circumstances and evidence to begin building your case.

 

Shooting

There are very few circumstances that should result in an officer drawing a firearm, let alone discharging it. Whether or not you were injured, it’s absolutely essential to protect your rights to avoid escalation – particularly if the officer feels they need to defend their decision to shoot. We are here to help you through this and resolve the situation as quickly and smoothly as possible for your peace of mind.

 

Police misconduct comes in many forms, but it is never justified and it should never go unresolved. By bringing instances of illegal police behavior into the light, we can all work together to reduce occurrences altogether. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of law enforcement, please call our office so we can respond swiftly on your behalf.