When hearing stories of police brutality or harassment from law enforcement officials, it is easy to cringe at the thought of such violent mistreatment. The unfortunate reality is this type of case is not uncommon. Though several news stories report of extreme violence, police harassment can take shape in many forms such as:
- Illegally placing certain people under surveillance
- Making racist or sexist remarks
- Illegal detention
- Racial and ethnic profiling
- Search and seizure without a warrant
- Use of excessive force
Understanding that police harassment is not just physical abuse can help frame your mindset when encountering a law enforcement official. It is important to remember that, in most cases, the police officers are professionals with a deep sense pride and commitment to the city and people they serve. That being said, it’s never a pleasant experience to be stopped by an officer, even if you are innocent. Though unpleasant, remaining calm and respectful will help to deescalate the situation.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being mistreated by an officer, it’s very important to approach the situation in a calm and organized way. Following these few guidelines may help to keep the details of the story straight:
- Write everything down: taking detailed notes of the incident will help you down the road, as it can be difficult to remember small details over time. Be sure to avoid embellishments or inaccuracies, as these will hurt your credibility.
- Consult with your lawyer: whether or not you were charged with a crime, it is still a good idea to pursue a civil suit against the police in order to bring the misconduct to justice. A lawyer will help you determine if you have a strong enough case.
- File a police misconduct report: it is important to note that this step cannot begin until criminal charges and civil actions have been resolved. Filing this report too soon could hurt your chances in court by revealing too much information.
- *For a more detailed description of each of these steps, check out this article.
At Boughter Law Office, we have the utmost respect for the brave law enforcement officials who defend our streets. However, we know unfortunate situations like this can happen, resulting in mistrust and harm. If you think you might have a case to report on, don’t hesitate to fill out our free evaluation form to get started. Our police brutality attorneys will fight for your case and bring justice to the system.