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Holding New York police accountable for misconduct

By and large, New Yorkers are most appreciative of the police officers who devote their time to keeping residents safe.

There is a flip side however, in that the police sometimes abuse their power. Here are three areas of concern where law enforcement officers may violate the rights of citizens.

1. False arrest

False arrest is the most common claim lodged against law enforcement officers. The person initiating the claim will often say that the police violated his or her Fourth Amendment right concerning unreasonable seizure. The question is whether the officer had probable cause to believe a crime existed, in which case false arrest would not apply to the situation.

2. Excessive Force

No doubt you have seen news reports from around the country wherein police officers face accusal of using excessive force on suspects. Sometimes, there is a fine line between the need to subdue, for example, and actual abuse, which could cause injury or even death. Whether the use of force is reasonable depends on the circumstances and facts leading up to a particular incident, but a claim of excessive force will always receive close examination.

3. Malicious Prosecution

A violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, or the right to liberty, is the focus of a malicious prosecution claim against a police officer. If the claimant hopes to win, he or she must ensure that the claim includes four essential parts:

  •         The police officer commenced a criminal proceeding.
  •         The proceeding ended favorably in that there was no conviction.
  •         No probable cause existed.
  •         The proceeding showed malice toward the victim.

Seeking help

It sometimes happens that a person is not sure whether the treatment received from a law enforcement officer constituted abuse of power. This is the time to explore the legal options available. Every circumstance is unique, and the recipient of possible false arrest, excessive force or malicious prosecution can rely on professional assistance in sorting the matter out.

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Sivin & Miller, LLP Attorneys at Law
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