How to Report Cases of Police Misconduct in Arizona

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The state of Arizona has mandated its law enforcement officers to detain or stop suspects, whichever may be necessary. Thus, when a police officer tries to search your vehicle or requests that you stop, it’s best that you listen. But, the authorities, like everyone else, are not above the law. In Arizona, police misconduct is considered a serious crime. Unlawful search and seizure and planting of evidence, among others, are forms of misconduct.

If you are witness to such behavior by a police officer, you can file your complaint with the appropriate law enforcement department or the Federal Department of Justice (or FBI), depending on the particular circumstances.

Police Misconduct

 

If you have personally experienced what you believe to be police misconduct, you may file a case to recover due compensation, if you prefer. To be on the safe side, however, it is recommended that you first seek the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer like Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, before seeking legal action or filing a complaint on your own.

Understanding the Arizona Police Misconduct Law

Law enforcement officers are immune from lawsuits unless they are in violation of individual rights or specific laws. Forms of police misconduct include sexual assault, civil rights violations, and false arrest, among others.

As mentioned, if you feel that law enforcement officers have violated your civil rights, you can report the incident with your local FBI. However, achieving a successful lawsuit filing against a person in authority can be quite challenging – especially if you’re doing it solo. This is where working with a competent lawyer becomes crucial.

What Qualified Immunity Is

A police officer has what is known as “qualified immunity.” This means he has protection from recourse that includes lawsuits. The protection is effective for as long as the law enforcement officer is properly doing his job – unless he is in violation of individual rights.

Under the law, a police officer may only be the subject of a lawsuit if he demonstrates unreasonable, willful actions (excluding failure to observe good care). Thus, a suspect cannot sue the police officer after an encounter in a typical police operation.

Filing a Police Misconduct Complaint

Any person who has witnessed or has knowledge of law enforcement misconduct can file a misconduct complaint. In general, you will need to file your complaint with the supervisor of the involved officer. However, you can also file a complaint through another supervisor, via the Internal Affairs Unit, by mail, or with the concerned department’s Duty Officer.

You can access an area supervisor all year round, 24/7 via telephone. Bear in mind that filing a false misconduct report could result in a criminal charge.

Violations of an Individual’s Civil Rights

Federal law declares that it is unlawful to willfully deprive an individual of any privilege, immunity, or right secured or protected by the constitution or laws of the United States. These include physical assault, sexual misconduct, deliberate indifference, or failure to intervene in a case of a serious medical condition or risk of imminent harm.

The Federal Justice Department handles the investigation of police misconduct charges involving civil rights interference. There will be a conviction if it is established that the police officer willfully acted in depriving you of your constitutional or legal rights as a citizen of the United States. If you feel the police violated your civil rights, get in touch with your local FBI office and file a corresponding complaint.

Instances of Police Misconduct

Civil rights laws are intended to safeguard Americans from the misconduct of law enforcers, as well as other government agents. A lawsuit can be filed if an officer intentionally or negligently inflicts injury through the use of excessive force or police brutality, enters a residence without securing the necessary warrant, abuse of a detained person, and violation of existing department policies.

Other forms of police misconduct include false arrest, verbal abuse, unjustified use of a stun gun or taser, unjustified shooting, abusive behavior towards inmates, and attack by a police dog.

Final Word

If you had an incident with a law enforcement agent and you were subsequently arrested, it is important that you consult with an attorney. Even if no criminal charges are filed, you may still be able to file a case against the police officer. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, can help determine whether or not the case is worth pursuing.