Excessive Force & Police Misconduct
July 12, 2022
Every year, a lot of individuals often face unlawful criminal allegations due to the illegal and unethical actions of law enforcement officers. According to an investigation by USA TODAY Network, more than 85,000 cops throughout the United States have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct between 2009 and 2019. Such police misconduct may include excessive force, abuse of authority, sexual assault, planting evidence, intentional false arrests, and obtaining evidence through unlawful search or seizure.
At Strand Law Offices, LLC, we are committed to providing reliable representation and knowledgeable legal guidance to victims of police misconduct in their legal battle. Our experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can investigate every aspect of your personal situation thoroughly and strategize a strong defense to contest the illegal criminal allegations you may be facing. We’re proud to represent the wrongfully accused in West Chester, Lancaster County, and surrounding counties throughout Pennsylvania.
Understanding Police Misconduct
Police misconduct can be described as any corrupt practice, illicit, or unethical action committed by police or law enforcement officers in the course of performing their expected duties. Essentially, such an illegal act may violate another person’s constitutional rights or cause someone to face unlawful criminal charges.
Examples of Police Misconduct
Below are some common examples of police misconduct:
Abuse of authority and privilege
Sexual assault, misconduct, or harassment
Failure to intervene
Torturing and physically abusing suspects in police custody
Torture to force confessions
Committing perjury – lying under oath
Intentional false arrest or imprisonment
Causing unnecessary injury to a person
Unfortunately, many victims in police misconduct cases are usually subject to unlawful criminal charges or wrongful convictions. An experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer can educate you about the acts that qualify as excessive force or police misconduct and strategize an effective defense to fight your unlawful criminal accusations.
What Qualifies as Excessive Force?
Excessive force involves a situation wherein a police officer employs force in excess of what is considered reasonably necessary to diffuse a threat, arrest someone, or protect themselves or others from imminent harm or danger.
Pursuant to Pennsylvania law – Pennsylvania General Assembly Title 18 Section 508 – a police or law enforcement officer is allowed to “use any force which he believes to be necessary to effect the arrest or defend himself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest.”
However, if the officer exceeds the minimum amount of force necessary against the alleged defendant, you may consider this as excessive force. A police officer may be held liable – or face criminal charges – for using excessive or deadly force on someone or during an arrest.
Excluding Evidence Found Through Misconduct
The exclusionary rule was designed to prevent the government from using any evidence obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Under the rule, the Pennsylvania court may disregard any incriminating evidence from being introduced at trial should the court find out that such pieces of evidence were obtained:
Through illegal means,
Through misconduct, or
In violation of the legal rights of the alleged offender.
Therefore, if the law enforcement officers obtained the evidence against you using excessive force, improper search or seizure, or misconduct, your defense counsel may invoke the exclusionary rule. Thus, preventing such evidence from being introduced during trial.
Claims for Using Excessive Force
A police or law enforcement officer may claim to have used excessive force on someone else due to any of the reasons below:
Victim or suspect was trying to flee
Suspect was resisting arrest
Victim attacked the arresting officer
The suspect committed a severe or aggravated crime
Use of excessive force was necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony
Suspect appeared to pose imminent danger or threat to the law enforcement officer or other persons.
An experienced attorney can help fight any unlawful criminal allegations you may be facing and improve your chances of a brighter tomorrow.
How Strand Law Offices, LLC Can Help
Law enforcement officers have a legal duty to protect citizens, keep the community safe, mitigate crimes, and arrest offenders. Unfortunately, some police officers abuse their authority, fail to obey the law, or violate other people’s legal rights. If you’re facing unlawful criminal charges due to police misconduct, retaining a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney is imperative for detailed guidance and protecting your best interests.
At Strand Law Offices, LLC, we have the diligence, expertise, and resources to defend and represent individuals who have been unlawfully charged with a crime. Our trusted attorney can evaluate and investigate every surrounding fact of your case, craft a strong defense strategy to fight any unjust criminal charges against you, and attempt to establish your innocence.
Contact Strand Law Offices, LLC, today to schedule a simple case assessment with a reliable criminal defense lawyer. Our attorney has the aggressive representation and experienced legal guidance you need in your legal battle. We proudly serve the clients in West Chester, Lancaster County, and surrounding counties throughout Pennsylvania.