Police Misconduct Attorney in Seattle, Washington
The job of the police is to protect and serve. By doing this, police officers allow our society to feel safer. But what if an officer oversteps the mark and either intentionally or unintentionally uses excessive force? Unfortunately, police misconduct occurs all too often against those who are suspected, arrested, or charged with crimes. When this happens, you have every right to fight against it and defend your civil rights.
If you feel you’ve been the victim of police brutality or misconduct and want to understand your options, reach out to me at The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III. For nearly 20 years, I’ve been working on behalf of the citizens of Seattle, Washington. Call me today if you’re in the Seattle area or anywhere in Western Washington, including the Puget Sound Area, Bellevue, Tacoma, and Everett.
Examples of Police Misconduct
Police officers undoubtedly have a tough job. In their line of work, some amount of force is necessary and expected. However, when they cross the line into using excessive force or wrongdoing, this needs to be addressed. Misconduct can happen in a number of ways such as detaining someone unlawfully, participating in racial profiling, making a false arrest, lying under oath (committing perjury), falsifying evidence, or conducting an illegal search.
What Qualifies as Excessive Force?
Excessive force is one of the most common accusations of police misconduct, and it can also be the trickiest to pin down. Police officers are allowed to use reasonable force when making an arrest or taking someone into custody, but not unnecessary force. In some extreme cases, an officer may decide that using deadly force is a reasonable action, but they can only do this when absolutely necessary. Because this can be so murky, these charges are typically reviewed on a case-by-case basis by a judge. The court will look at the severity of the crime, whether the suspect posed a threat to the officer, and whether the suspect was resisting arrest.
Excluding Evidence Found Through Misconduct
Another common example of police misconduct is when evidence is obtained by violating the civil rights of the suspect. By law, you are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by the Fourth Amendment. If you feel that you were the victim of an illegal search and seizure, you can work with your criminal defense attorney to have this evidence suppressed and excluded from your trial. If this motion is successful, the prosecution cannot use this evidence against you and a judge and jury are prohibited from considering it when making their decision.
Reasons an Officer May Claim to Have Used
Not every instance of excessive force can be considered police misconduct, and ]officers have discretion about when they’re able to go beyond the use of reasonable force. For example, police officers are tasked with protecting both the safety of the public and themselves and if they feel in the moment that excessive force is necessary to carry out their duties, they may have a claim to have used it lawfully. The general rule of thumb is to ask if another reasonable officer in the same situation would have found it necessary to use excessive force. This could happen if the suspect is trying to flee or if they present a physical danger to the officer or civilians around them.
Police Misconduct Attorney
Serving Seattle, Washington
Police misconduct cases are notoriously hard to address in court, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from confronting these illegal actions when they happen. At The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III in Seattle, Washington, I’m committed to protecting the civil rights of all citizens. If you’re facing criminal charges and you have a legitimate belief that the arresting officer engaged in police misconduct, contact my office today to start looking at your options.