Police Abuse of Authority
The term “abuse” refers to all the ways that police officers abuse their power by taking advantage the very people they are pledging to protect and serve. Although most police officers are committed to their duties, some abuse the power they have been given to pursue their own selfish ends. A law enforcement officer may abuse his power to:
False arrest of a citizen
Arrests or warrantless searches
Assault upon a citizen;
To force a citizen to have sexual relations in exchange for them not being arrested or giving them a ticket.
Violations to civil rights of a citizen
It is possible to commit fraud or steal.
An unlawful murder.
Many victims of police abuse of power feel they don’t have any recourse against the officer responsible. These people need to understand that even though a person may have a badge or been granted some authority, it does not mean they are above the law. In 2009, The Cato Institute reported 449 instances of police misconduct that were reported to the national news. The most common report was one about excessive force against police officers. Next came sexual misconduct complaints against officers and then fraud and theft reports against officers. The Cato Institute also has some disturbing facts about law enforcement abuses of power.
Murfreesboro (TN) was ranked number 9 among the ten most dangerous cities in terms of total police officer abuse of powers reports.
Montana was number one in the country for incidents of police officers abusing their power, with 6.2 per 100,000 residents. Tennessee was 8 th with 2.9 incidents per 100,000 people.
One in every 135.8 officers of police across the country will be accused (in the media) of a criminal act or misconduct.
One out of every 220 people will be charged with a violent crime. However, this number is only one out 352 officers.
One in every 1,063 officers will be charged with sexual assault. A third of all 3,413 citizens will also be charged.
In the news, there have been many instances of police brutality and abuse of power in recent years. These incidents are becoming more common. It begs the question of whether police brutality or abuse of power is the new norm. And if the public can ever feel protected and safe by law enforcement. Police officers are known to break into homes and shoot people, claiming that someone did a “sudden movement” in order to justify excessive force.
Sometimes, citizens are shot in the back by officers while they claim the citizen was acting in an aggressive manner. False reports, putting evidence out, and even becoming the aggressor to the public are all commonplaces. We are left wondering why police officers seem to be more abusive. Do these incidents suggest that law enforcement officers are attracted to bullies because they offer power and oversight? Or is it that these situations are more often being recorded in the digital age?
Your Rights Under Mississippi Laws & Our Constitution
While it is true that some bad officers can make it harder for honest officers to do their jobs and provide a role model, officers who are truly committed to their profession will be able to handle any situation with dignity. However, if you feel you have been victim of police brutality you should know your rights. When you are the victim of police abuse or any other situation involving the police, you have the right not to speak up.
It is crucial that you document any incident of police abuses of power as soon as possible. This includes the time, place, officer involved, witnesses and any other details you can recall. Seek medical attention immediately if you need it. Keep a copy of any medical records that relate to your injuries. Contact a Mississippi attorney who is experienced in protecting civil rights and defending citizens from abuses of power by law enforcement.
The Nature of Police Abusive of Authority
David Carter (1985-322) provides perhaps the most complete definition of police abuses of authority. It is defined as any action taken by a police officers without regard to motive, intention, or malice, which tends to injure and insult human dignity, show feelings of inferiority, or violate an inherent legal rights of a member. . .” public. Carter’s definition includes three broad categories of police abuse, including legal, psychological, or physical.
Police violence has been a topic of intense debate and discussion since the 1990s. Extralegal force can often be considered one dimension of police abuse. However, it is important to distinguish between extra-legal (i.e. physical abuse) and unnecessary police violence. Officers should use tactics and strategies to prevent violent encounters from happening. Unnecessary force, in this context, is considered professional incompetence and not abuse of authority. Fyfe claimed that extralegal force is intentional physical abuse, which can be described as police brutality with a degree of malice towards the victim. This victim is often “guilty” for committing an offense to police authority. For officers engaging in violent behavior, brutality can be considered punishment. Worden (1996) discovered that suspects who try to evade police officers when they are commanded to surrender place themselves at risk of being caught by law enforcement officers.
There have been two types of brutality associated with American police, both occurring at distinct points of contact between citizens and police. External brutality refers to any excessive force or “street justice” that is used in public places before any formal disposition (e.g. arrest) is made. Custodial coercion refers to brutality that occurs after an arrest is made, usually during interrogation. Because of the inefficiency of the transport methods available to arrest suspects, officers were more likely to use other means of ensuring peace and order. The arrest disposition became more common as the police evolved into a formalized institution of social controls and started to rely on “scientific detection methods”. As more suspects were taken into physical custody, the police began to question them about their alleged crimes in order to obtain confessions. As custodial interrogations became a more common feature of the policing paradigm, so too did custodial coercion–particularly in the years through the 1930s when the third degree was widely used. In its 1931 Report on Police, the Wickersham Commission argued that “third degree” was used in interrogation of suspects by all police departments in the United States. The police volume of this report, which was published by the authors, referred to the third grade as “torturous” and called on the police to use less physical abuse during interrogations.
America was entering the decade of 1960s with increasing crime rates and riots in major and small cities. The police were ill-equipped to deal with these “threats”. President Lyndon Johnson created a special commission to examine the state of the police. The Kerner Commission, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders found many serious problems with American police practice. The most notable was that brutality was an accepted practice in police, and that aggressive use of coercion by the police was what triggered many urban riots that occurred over the next decade.
Policing began in the 1960s. Social scientists became interested in policing and applied their knowledge to an unstudied field. Many traditional methods of officer selection, training and deployment were challenged. As the 1990s progressed, many police departments tried to keep up with the latest research and apply the best ideas and methods. Although brutality has been an issue for the last few decades, it is not as severe as the institutionalized violence of the 1960s. The Knapp Commission’s report on the New York City Police Department’s allegations of misconduct by police shifted the emphasis from police brutality to profit-motivated corruption when it was published. The 1991 beating of Rodney King, a motorist, by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department rekindled interest in police brutality. This triggered a new wave of academic attention on the causes and consequences of police violence as well as how to control it.
Carter (1985) explains that police have historically used psychological abuse to get confessions. This was largely due to police interview practices. The Supreme Court’s ban on police using physical coercion during interrogations led to officers relying more heavily on psychological coercion in obtaining confessions. Although the Court has officially banned the use of “intense psychological coercion” of suspects under police custody, it is possible that this abuse continues. This is especially true because the police still rely on confessions as their primary evidence during custodial interrogations
Legal abuse is when police officers violate criminal statutes or citizens’ rights (typically accused offenders) to accomplish an organizational goal. This can be expressed as perjury at the witness stand in order to ensure an accused offender’s guilty verdict. It may also include officers installing illegal wiretaps to secretly gather incriminating information about police suspects. These examples are by no means exhaustive.
Important to note is that the framework described here can be used to conceptualize some of the most severe types of police abuse. However, it does not include verbal abuse which is most common and most difficult to remedy. While police abuse seems to cover verbal abuse by officers, or at least allow for it, very few, if any, police officers are capable of verbal abuse.
Researchers and practitioners have discussed verbal abuse as a type of police malpractice. This is due to the difficulty in defining and measuring verbal abuse. The importance of considering verbal abuse, however, is difficult to overstate because cumulative verbal abuse may be a primary cause of decreased police legitimacy and increased noncompliance among citizens–particu-larly in communities that experience social and political marginalization.
Legitimizing Police Abusement of Authority
As stated, The core of the police role rests in the general right use coercive force. This legal privilege is not available to any other members or groups in American society. It is paradoxical that police can also use crowd control, take physical custody and search private homes for evidence, all under the same legal authority. This could allow police to abuse their authority. The criminal law has been implicated in a system that allows police officers to engage in occupational deviation. It was noted, for example, that many routine actions by police officers which are part their legal mandate would be considered criminal violations if they were performed by private citizens. Additionally, each of these “practices” of legal police is accompanied by an illegal analog that places the activity in a category called police deviance. These activities are classified as both property and personal violations.
Brodeur stated that citizens would generally be held responsible for homicide. However, officers who kill are frequently using the legal police practice of “deadly forces.” This is analogous to police executions, which are killings that are not permitted by law. Brodeur said that private citizens who detain others may be guilty for kidnapping, but that police officers who engage in liberty deprivation are legally allowed to detain or arrest criminal suspects. False arrests can lead to abusive police detentions. For some forms of personal invasion, police are allowed to conduct body cavity and strip searches. When these searches lead to sexual exploitation, this behavior can become deviant. Sometimes, police officers might use force to seize property. Citizens who use force to seize property are most likely guilty of robbery. It is usually referred to as extortion and bribe-taking when police officers use their authority to seize property. When police officers use reasonable force, it can be considered assault or battery between private citizens. When police officers resort to brutality, reasonable force is considered deviant.
Property-related activity: Police searches and seizures often involve conduct which, if committed by private citizens, would be considered theft or burglary. When officers steal or convert the property seized to money, these behaviors are considered deviant. Police officers can also seize illegal drugs to be used in investigations and arrests. Private citizens involved in this activity are likely to be guilty of violating the criminal drug statutes.
Critical Examples Of Police Abusing Power
In certain cases, police officers may have been found guilty of using excessive force and put on trial. What is excessive force, you may ask? It is when a police officer, or any officer uses greater force than necessary during an arrest or call.
officers who use force are expected to use the minimum amount of force necessary to prevent an incident from occurring, stop a suspect/perpetrator or protect themselves. There are instances when officers abuse their authority and use excessive force. Here are some examples of excessive force.
When the perpetrator does not resist and is following orders, an officer may be aggressive or pushy.
When a person is not resisting, an officer may have hit or placed hands on them.
A police officer cuffs a suspect.
If they don’t resist or show dangerous signs, use your flashlight to strike them.
Don’t use their tools in an unneeded way. This includes their tasers, mace and other tools.
Use their handgun. This is a dangerous option, and police officers only have a gun for extreme situations.
Remember that sometimes an officer may need to use force. These are just a few examples of situations where force might be necessary.
If the arrest is made and the suspect is resisting or trying escape.
The perpetrator is trying escape with a deadly weapon.
The perpetrator threatened other people’s lives.
The crime has resulted in serious injury to an officer or another person.
Turning Off Body Cameras
A body camera can be a great asset to a police officer. The cameras can increase officer accountability. These cameras can also reduce police brutality and abuse of power. This is not always true.
Bodycams can be quite expensive. They are not affordable for all departments. They can also be unpredictable and sometimes unreliable. A poor on-off button can cause problems within the department.
Some cases involve body cameras being deliberately disabled. It is difficult to prove innocence or guilt if there isn’t video evidence, especially if an officer is involved.
When an officer is accused using excessive force, there are many cases where the body camera “malfunctions”. In these instances, an officer will turn off the body camera to prevent them from being proven guilty. These officers face lengthy trials and investigations to prove their innocence or guilt. They may also be subject to a trial to find out if the camera was actually malfunctioning or if they intentionally turned it off.
Lying about Arrests
Some officers will lie about an arrest. This is particularly true if the body camera isn’t present, malfunctioning, or turned off. Officers may lie if they have this information and claim that the perpetrator used force, resisting, etc.
It is now the police against the perpetrator. To get to the root of the matter, these investigations will require a thorough investigation. They will review all video evidence to find the truth. In most cases like these, however, officers will be charged with excessive force.
Remember that the bodycam of an officer can malfunction or stop working. The camera can malfunction in the following situations:
The camera could be damaged or bumped during a fight.
Sometimes the camera will simply stop working.
It was not turned on by the officer. This is usually when new devices are being installed.
The battery of the camera dies.
Cameras can only store a certain amount of data.
Some police officers abuse their authority and conduct searches without warrants. It is possible to have your case dismissed with the help of many other drug crimes and in these cases.
This is something that police are not allowed to do, but there are many reasons why they might. We have listed a few reasons why a police officer might search you or arrest your without a warrant.
A search may be conducted by a police officer on your vehicle and home to seize items. This could include money or drugs. They are not permitted to do so without a warrant. They may use whatever is taken from your home.
Very few encounters have resulted in a police officer forcing someone to have sexual relations with them. Officers will search your vehicle or house and take you into custody. The officer will then search your car or home and place you under arrest.
A police officer might also search your home or vehicle in order to steal or fraud. A police officer might search your home or vehicle in this case to steal your identity or gain valuable items. These items can be traded or sold for other items. Remember that a police officer can access personal information when they search for you. This is how identity and fraud can occur.
These are generally not issues that anyone should worry about. There are some police officers who abuse their power for their own ends. Remember that the majority of police officers will be law-abiding citizens who keep the community safe. This is their job, and many officers are proud of their work. There are, however, a few people who misuse their power for their own benefit, just as with any other profession.