Police officers have a responsibility to protect and serve the community. When an officer engages in misconduct, they may have violated the civil rights of the person they are attempting to arrest and charge with a crime. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, an attorney may use these violations to defend you against any criminal charges you face.
Here are a few of the most common civil rights violations stemming from police misconduct.
Use of excessive force
Under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, officers may only use reasonable force to arrest and detain a suspect. The reasonable force requirement generally means that an officer cannot use more force than is necessary when pursuing or arresting the suspect. Generally, an officer is allowed to use more force if the suspect has a weapon or is resisting arrest, than if the suspect is cooperating with law enforcement.
Unlawful search and seizure
The Fourth Amendment protects people from unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement. In other words, police generally cannot search you or your property without a warrant or probable cause. Any evidence obtained during an illegal search may not be used against you.
Officers unfortunately do not always have a good reason to arrest someone. In fact, many people have been arrested simply because the officer wanted to abuse their power or unfairly profiled a person. An arrest made without probable cause may be a violation of the suspect’s civil rights.
Texas police officers are in a position of authority, but that does not mean they can overstep their bounds. Victims of police brutality and other civil rights violations have the right to hold officers accountable for their actions.