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Examples of police misconduct

You hope to never have a negative interaction with police, but if you do it's critical to understand your legal rights in Illinois and how to protect them. More specifically, a basic understanding of police misconduct will help prevent a situation in which you're taken advantage of.

Even though police misconduct is illegal, it remains a common problem throughout many parts of the country. Here are several examples of this type of behavior:

  • Excessive force: When putting an individual under arrest, police officers are only permitted to use as much force as necessary to apprehend the suspect and protect their safety while doing so. Using excessive force, such as striking an individual when they're handcuffed and no threat of causing harm, is a common example of police misconduct.
  • Illegal search and seizure: It doesn't have anything to do with physical harm, but it can cause just as much trouble for a person who is under arrest. Even with the Fourth Amendment in place, which is designed to protect against unlawful search and seizure, it remains a concern. In short, police only have the legal right to search you or your property, such as your home or motor vehicle, if they have reason to believe something illegal is going on. For example, an officer can't pry open your trunk in search of drugs because they have a hunch. However, if they believe you're hiding something in there, such as because an illegal substance is in plain view in your center console, they can proceed with the search.
  • Abuse of power: There's no denying the fact that police have quite a bit of power. And while they need this power to keep everyone safe, some officers abuse it, such as by asking for something in return for letting you leave the scene without being put under arrest.

What leads to police misconduct?

When you turn to the police for help, you expect them to arrive and be kind to you. You want them to be efficient and to handle your case with care.

Even when they're stopping you for a traffic violation or other offense, you expect the police to be respectful of you and not to attempt to escalate a situation into one of violence. Sadly, many people do end up injured or threatened by the police. Often, this is a result of police misconduct.

Racial disparities harm minorities in America

There is no worse feeling than believing that those who are supposed to be there to protect you actually want to cause you harm. Unfortunately, that's how many people feel about the police.

With so many cases of police brutality and misconduct, it's no surprise that people are upset. It's been shown that there are racial disparities in how the police in the United States use force. Are you black, Hispanic or Arabic? Do you look mixed or foreign? The reality is that these groups do face a higher likelihood of harm coming to them from the authorities.

4 officers face trial after teen's death

Following the news about police brutality cases is something that can sour your day quickly and make you think that all police are bad. The reality is that they aren't, but the cases that make the news highlight how poorly some people have been treated by the police.

Recently, a report from Chicago in November 2018 stated that four officers from Chicago are facing disciplinary actions after covering up a shooting that took place involving a teen.

Knowing when to use force is a vital part of policing

There are times when it is understandable that the police have to use force on someone because of their actions or because others are in danger. However, there are many instances in which police officers misuse their powers.Interestingly, there is no universally accepted definition for the use of force. It is up to the discretion of the authorities to determine how much force is acceptable in any given situation.

The use of force is acceptable when it is necessary. For instance, it is accepted when the officer has to protect themselves. Is also acceptable in a situation where they have to defend another person or a group.

Understanding the excessive use of force

There is never a time when the police or authorities should use more force than is necessary when making arrests. No one should fear being injured during routine traffic stops, getting pinned to the ground for asking questions or tased for standing up for their rights.

Sadly, there are times when the police do use excessive force. In those cases, people get hurt. Sometimes, people are killed. In the majority of situations, a government official should never use excessive force. However, there are instances during which they may exceed the minimum amount of force necessary.

How many people do police kill annually in the United States?

Police in the United States are generally permitted to use lethal force when the situation requires it. In other words, they may need to use lethal force to protect their own lives or the lives of others. In other circumstances, police need to use other less violent means to enforce the law.

The problem is, the line of when lethal force is necessary and/or required can be a fuzzy one. Numerous lives have been lost because of the lack of clarity on this issue, and numerous police have walked free of any consequences for their actions as a result. The bottom line is that a lot of people die in the United States every year as a result of police-caused killings and the problem doesn't seem to be getting better.

Chicago Police Department requires cameras to provide safety

There is no reason that someone meant to protect and serve should hurt an innocent person. Police officers should focus on helping all people, not just people of a certain background. This is certainly a problem in Chicago as well as surrounding areas, but there is some good news.

According to a recent report from Dec. 10, Chicago police patrol officers have to wear body cameras. In previous years, there were no body camera requirements, so there was a potential for officers to abuse their positions. Now, they'll be held accountable with recordings that show exactly what was happening in front of them at the time of any alleged case of police brutality.

The role race plays in police brutality

There are a number of fatal shootings of black people by police within the United States in the media presently. The problem with this can't be understated, but there is an issue. There is very little information on how racial bias impacts fatal police shootings, and because of that, it's complicated to define the true impact race has on law enforcement.

Some studies show that there is an intentional bias. Other evidence points to implicit bias. Whatever kind there may be, the fact is that those of color could face a higher likelihood of being fatally shot or mistreated by police.

Community groups want Chicago police to clean up their act

We can find case after case of police brutality in Chicago's law enforcement records and judicial proceedings. Perhaps your experience was similar to one victim who claims two officers slammed her against a building, pulled her hair and pushed her to the ground.

Multiple community groups have made it clear that enough is enough. The groups, which include Black Lives Matter, initiated a lawsuit last week, claiming that more federal oversight is required to ensure that the Chicago Police Department complies with reforms designed to curb police abuses.

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