Most police officers go into the profession to protect and serve their communities. However, some lose sight of this goal and end up causing harm.

Police misconduct has gone from being swept under the rug in past years to top news these days. It seems that there is a new story every day about another police officer getting caught in hot water after doing something wrong.

Knowing the different forms of police misconduct can help ensure that you will be able to recognize it when it happens to you or others and that you can seek justice for it.

Verbal abuse

When interacting with police, you know to be as calm and respectful as possible. Yet, this treatment isn’t always reciprocal. Now, police may not be particularly fond of their detainees, but that doesn’t give them the right to speak to them offensively.

Police must retain their professionalism when interacting with detainees. They should not call you names, talk down to you, or otherwise degrade you through their speech.

Racial profiling

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), racial profiling is the discriminatory practice of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.

Essentially, when police automatically assume guilt or wrongdoing based on someone’s race, that is racial profiling.

Racial profiling does not refer to the act of a law enforcement agent pursuing a suspect that matches a description they’ve been given, in combination with other factors.

Excessive force

The International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Law Enforcement Code of Ethics contains the clause, “I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately…never employing unnecessary force or violence.”

Police should strive to control the situations they have been called to handle with as little force as possible. If a detainee is compliant with their commands, there should be no reason for them to use physical force on them.

Unwarranted lethal force

The first clause in that same code is, “As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is…to safeguard lives.” A police officer should never use lethal force unless their lives or the people in the vicinity’s lives are threatened.

Seeking justice for police misconduct

Police are supposed to do good in their communities, not harm.

If you believe that you were subjected to unfair treatment at the hands of a law enforcement officer, reach out to an attorney who is experienced in the area.  They can help you understand your legal options and advocate for you so that you can get the best outcome possible.