Police departments across the country have come under increased scrutiny over the last few years as video of officers breaking the law have gone viral in a number of now-infamous instances. However, police misconduct doesn’t need to be caught on video or make national headlines in order to affect you negatively.

Police have a long list of protocols, procedures, rules, and laws they must follow in order to do their job correctly and justly. If an officer circumvents any of those regulations and engages in unethical or unlawful behavior at your expense, with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you might be able to get charges against you dropped. 

For a frame of reference, here are ten examples of police misconduct you can refer to for your case.

Examples of Police Misconduct

Unfortunately, there are many ways police officers might ignore or even break the laws that are intended to protect the rights of American citizens.

Some of the most common examples of police misconduct include:

Excessive Force

The killings of George Floyd, Philando Castille, and others are prime examples of police officers using deadly force when such force was clearly unnecessary. If police used excessive force against you, cite either of these cases or others like them to explain why your charges should be dropped.

Drunkenness

It is against most police departments’ protocols for officers to consume any alcohol while on duty. Recently one officer in Georgia was fired after registering a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .087 while on the job.

Lying to Internal Affairs or other Investigators

Many police departments have internal affairs offices that investigate the conduct of officers within the department. Lying to an internal affairs investigator is another example of police misconduct. When the police department in Ferguson, Missouri was investigated, numerous accounts of officers lying about arrests were discovered.

Racial Profiling

Racial profiling is a type of selective law enforcement and another example of police misconduct. The police department in Ferguson was also found to have engaged in racial profiling.

Planting Evidence

In 2015, a South Carolina police officer planted his taser next to the body of a man he had shot to make it look as though the victim had stolen it. The officer was later caught, tried, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Fabricated Evidence

In addition to planting evidence, there are cases in which police officers have fabricated evidence. Almost three decades ago a New York City police officer was convicted of adding fingerprints of the accused to his file, arguing they were found at the crime scene.

Sexual Assault

More recently, two different New York City cops were arrested for sexually assaulting a woman they had arrested. The officers told the victim they would let her go if she performed certain sexual acts on and for them.

Theft Under the Law

In a case in Hawaii, a police officer noticed a significant amount of stolen money in a man’s car. The officer stole the money for himself, ostensibly figuring that you can’t steal what is already stolen. 

Witness Tampering

In the same case, when the man came forward and claimed the officer had stolen the money, the officer in question and four others spoke with the man and attempted to get him to change his testimony. Altering what a witness says through intimidation or other means is known as witness tampering.

False Arrest

In 2002 a Chicago woman was arrested and held in jail for 10 months after she was accused of robbing a police officer who had been in a car accident. In reality, the woman had saved the man’s life after pulling him from his car.

Any of these examples of police misconduct would be reason enough to get charges against you thrown out. What’s more, if police have infringed on your rights in a truly egregious manner, like in the case of the Chicago woman, you could turn around and sue the police department or city in which the arrest took place. 

Hire a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter what charges you are facing, it is crucial you hire a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The police in your case will try to get you to talk and anything you say will be used against you. 

A good lawyer will know how to defend you and keep the police from infringing on your rights. And if police officers have already done so, your lawyer will know what to do to get the charges against you dropped.