Many police departments around the country foster systematic levels of corruption, because the leadership within the department wants to abuse their power and do things their own way rather than follow the law. Unfortunately, people can be falsely accused and many legitimate crimes or forms of misconduct will go unresolved because of a desire to keep this kind of behavior hidden from the public.
The Greenville County Sheriff was subjected to an investigation and removed from his office after numerous accusations of misconduct affected public safety in the area.
Former Greenville County Sheriff faces prosecution
Some of the accusations include intimidation against other department employees for reporting problems, giving badges to unqualified employees, illegally disposing of assets, and involvement in an inappropriate relationship. A grand jury has indicted the sheriff on six counts related to these charges and obstruction. The full extent of how the public or other employees within the department were affected is still unknown. The county’s former Sheriff is now taking the position as an interim leader.
The state of South Carolina had other recent highly publicized scandals involving illegal use of taxpayer money for Sheriffs to fly first class, stealing the money outright, and treating staff members poorly. A study revealed that approximately one in four Sheriffs around the state had engaged in some kind of severe misconduct. Lawmakers and public interest groups are pushing for greater oversight of police departments and better protections for those who report wrongdoing within their ranks.
How misconduct hurts the public
Taxpayers invest significant sums of money into their municipal or county department through property taxes and other sources of funding. Aside from abuse of this process, things like obstruction, intimidation, and sexual misconduct can all distract officers from legitimate duties by taking time and money away from the real business of law enforcement. This can lead to crimes that are never solved or properly investigated, and citizens being ignored. People with the department or the general public were also subjected to threats or retaliation for reporting behavior that was clearly illegal.
Abuse of authority
Police will often intimidate other employees within their own department, or criminal suspects when they uncover misconduct. Sometimes, they make false arrests, plant evidence, or even use violence as a way of getting back at those who report prior inappropriate actions.
Laws that protect the public
Because of the potential for abuse by members of police forces and other powerful government officials, the federal government has enacted laws that protect the population from illegitimate uses of authority. There are laws which state that no government employee can use their official capacity to unjustly deprive a person of their civil rights. These laws have been used to bring cases against police departments over the years for excessive use of force tied to police brutality, as well as cases of false arrests and malicious prosecution.
Talk to a local lawyer about police brutality
If you have been impacted by any kind of police misconduct, harassment, or violence in the Greenville area, there is help available. An attorney from the Hayes Law Firm LLC can speak with you and provide expert assistance.