As part of the St. Louis metro area, Clayton Missouri has consistent issues with crime and tensions between the police and the public.
There are some situations where police officers abuse their authority even when they are off duty. In these situations, they can still be held responsible for inappropriate actions that involve violence or firearms. An off duty cop in the St. Louis area was charged for unlawful use of his firearm over a towing dispute.
Off duty officer pulls his gun on a civilian truck driver
The officer became involved in a dispute with a towing company when his personal vehicle was repossessed. He was charged with unlawful use of a weapon for an incident where he pulled a gun on a man who was near his car during the repossession attempt. There is also audio evidence from a recorded emergency phone call from one of the men who was threatened by the officer. The 30 year old officer from St. Louis was not in uniform and not on duty at the time the incident happened.
The authority of an off duty officer
Police officers are still held to certain standards of professional conduct, even while they are not on duty. When a police officer is not actively working, they have the same general powers as a citizen to make an arrest. This means that a firearm or force can only be used to detain someone and notify local authorities if they have witnessed a crime in their presence. Unlawful uses of their weapons or other forms of intimidation can result in criminal charges, discipline from their department, civil lawsuits, or a combination of these sanctions.
Pulling a gun on someone can be the subject of a civil lawsuit. There are intentional torts for actions such as assault, battery, and false imprisonment that are relevant to acts of violence or false arrest. Tort law is the general term for the area of the civil law that allows victims of negligent, reckless, or intentional acts to receive compensation from the person or entity who is found to be at fault for the harms they have suffered. These are all essentially personal injury cases and the amount awarded to the victim is relative to the level of harm they suffered at the hands of the defendant.
Deprivation of civil rights
Police are still bestowed with certain amount of authority from the government that needs to be used responsibly. Whenever an officer of the law abuses their power to harm members of the public, this is a civil rights violation. There are relevant laws that allow citizens to claim that they were deprived of their ability to function normally because of an abuse of government power. Police officers are commonly named as defendants in these kinds of cases, because they have the most obvious potential to abuse their power to cause direct harm to others.
Get help after being mistreated by the police
If you need to talk to an attorney about being the victim of police violence or misconduct, contact Kruse Law. They represent clients in Clayton as well as throughout the St. Louis Missouri area.