Police misconduct is not merely a problem, it is illegal. The most well-known example of police misconduct is police brutality, but this is only one way the public can be victimized. Police misconduct also includes accepting bribes, improper search and seizure, harassment and racism in law enforcement. Police misconduct violates the oath of peace officers and their responsibilities as public servants. Victims of police misconduct can be wrongfully convicted of crimes, lose property and freedom, and face social stigmatization. Police misconduct also creates distrust between police and the public they are meant to protect.
Police misconduct often goes uncorrected because people do not understand their rights as citizens. Prevention of police misconduct by an informed public can avert violence, wrongful convictions, and abuse of authority. In general, police misconduct is the exception-most police officers are law-abiding citizens, but when police misconduct does occur, police departments often fail to address the problem in the appropriate manner. Police misconduct is therefore encouraged by the lack of risk to the officer involved.
Reporting police misconduct a step towards ending this abuse of power. If you have been a victim of police misconduct, you have legal grounds to protest your mistreatment. An attorney familiar with laws governing police misconduct can review your case and help you decide how to proceed.
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