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Police Misconduct in a Criminal Case

Police Misconduct in a Criminal Case

We need the police to protect our citizens and keep our streets safe, and fortunately, the majority of law enforcement officers are doing their best to perform their job duties in good faith. But like in any occupation, there are a few bad apples here and there.

Because law enforcement officials can feel like they have so much power and authority, the occupation can actually attract some unsavory individuals who wish to use their positions to abuse their power and take it out against citizens. When this happens, it’s called “police misconduct,” but what is it and what does it entail?

Police Misconduct Defined

According to the California Innocence Project: “Police misconduct encompasses illegal or unethical actions or the violation of individuals’ constitutional rights by police officers in the conduct of their duties. Examples of police misconduct include police brutality, dishonesty, fraud, coercion, torture to force confessions, abuse of authority, and sexual assault, including the demand for sexual favors in exchange for leniency. Any of these actions can increase the likelihood of a wrongful conviction.”

What can police misconduct lead to?

  • Forced and coerced confessions,
  • Officers lying under oath,
  • Wrongful convictions,
  • Great injustice for the wrongfully accused,
  • Weak cases can go to trial,
  • Out of loyalty to fellow officers, other officers are reluctant to report the misconduct, and
  • Citizens are often afraid to report the misconduct because they’d have to do it at the same police department where it occurred.

In the past, reports of police misconduct were often ignored or accused of being “false,” but now that just about everybody has their own cellphone with video capabilities, more and more videos are popping up on YouTube proving that police misconduct is very much real, and even the government is spreading awareness.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) vigorously investigates and prosecutes law enforcement officers who violate citizens’ Constitutional rights. The DOJ’s investigations often include allegations of excessive force, sexual misconduct, false arrest, and theft. The DOJ’s authority applies to all officers’ misconduct, whether they are on or off duty as long as they are claiming to act in their official capacity.

Related: What is a Dismissal in California?

Are you a victim of police misconduct who’s facing charges in Oakland or anywhere else in the East Bay? If so, contact our firm at once to protect your rights.

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