Law enforcement officials are entrusted with protecting the American public. Though the great majority of police officers faithfully uphold this promise, some abuse their power and the rights of citizens as well. Often, victims of police abuse are unaware that their civil rights have been violated. They assume that they must have done something wrong to deserve such treatment. However, if you have experienced police treatment that prompted one of the following questions, you most likely have been a victim of police misconduct. If so, immediately contact a civil rights attorney regarding your legal options.
Can a police officer pull me over if I haven’t violated a law? In a word, no. If you were obeying all driving laws but were stopped by a police officer, you may be the victim of police misconduct. Many times, individuals are pulled over because of discriminatory factors. A police officer may stop someone because they have an older or damaged car. Alternately, some drivers with very expensive cars can be pulled over. In both cases, the police officer is making discriminatory assumptions about the drivers without any evidence of wrongdoing. Unfortunately, individuals may also be stopped simply because of their race or ethnicity, which is called racial profiling.
Can a police officer search my car without probable cause? No. If you have been stopped by law enforcement, that doesn’t mean they can search your vehicle without reasonable grounds. As any civil rights attorney knows, if a police officer asks to inspect your vehicle, you have the legal right to decline their request. If they proceed to search your car anyway, it may constitute police misconduct.
- Can a police officer use physical force against me if I am not resisting arrest? A resounding no. If you are complying with the instructions issued to you by law enforcement, they have no legal right to become unreasonably aggressive with you. Even if you have no visible injuries after the incident, seek the counsel of a civil rights attorney to determine if you have been violated by the police.
Don’t let your civil rights be abused by law enforcement officials. Patrick G. Geckle brings more than 30 years of experience to each police abuse case. If you are the victim of police misconduct, call our Philadelphia office today at (267) 234-7708.