Not all crimes go unseen. In most instances, someone somewhere was present during the time a crime was being committed and their testimony, or recount of the crime, could be exactly what an officer of the law needs to convict a suspect in the event they were unable to obtain enough evidence on their own. In other instances, a witness to a crime may have also seen an officer of the law engage in activities that go against the laws they are required to abide by along with the policies and procedures they are expected to follow.
Given that witnesses can play a vital role in a case, whether their testimony can be used to aid in the conviction of a criminal or to recognize an officer who engaged in acts of misconduct, officers sometimes abuse the power and rights they hold to either force a witness to come forward or coerce them into keeping certain information to themselves to prevent from being held accountable for their unjust actions. When this happens, that officer along with the department in which they work for could be held legally responsible for the damages they cause a witness to suffer from.
If you or someone you know witnessed a crime or even a St. Johns County, FL police officer engaging in illegal behavior and that officer has either pressured or forced you into providing them with a testimony or withholding certain information, you should consider contacting a St. Johns County, FL police brutality attorney today. A lawyer whose focus is placed on handling police misconduct cases will know how to approach your issue and what steps to take to ensure justice is served.
Know the Law: What Police Officers in St. Johns County, FL Can and Cannot Do
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, police officers cannot:
- “Knowingly disobey the law or rules of criminal procedure in such areas as interrogation, arrest, detention, searches, seizures, use of informants and preservation of evidence.”
- “Knowingly commit any criminal offense under any laws of the United States or any state or local jurisdiction in which the officer is present, except where permitted in the performance of duty under proper authority.
Essentially, this means that police officers, despite their role and power, cannot commit a criminal offense, otherwise, they risk being subjected to the same consequences as anyone else who is found guilty of committing the same crime. According to U.S. Code Title 18 Chapter 73 Section 1512, it is considered a crime when a person uses physical force, the threat of physical force against any person, or attempts to do so, with the intent to:
- “Prevent the attendance or testimony of any person in an official proceeding.”
- “Prevent the production of a record, document, or other object, in an official proceeding.”
- “Prevent the communication by any person to a law enforcement officer or judge of the U.S. of information relating to the commission of a Federal offense.”
- “Influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding.”
- Cause a person to “withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding.”
In the event an officer in St. Johns County, FL is guilty of doing any of the following, they can be recognized through a complaint or lawsuit for engaging in unethical and illegal behavior. However, just because it is possible to recognize an officer for police misconduct doesn’t mean it will be easy to do. With that said, you should consider if an officer violated your rights. USAttorneys.com can help you locate an attorney in your area now if you are ready to become more informed on what steps they will take to ensure the officer is held liable for their inappropriate behavior.
Not only can a police misconduct lawyer help you obtain the justice you deserve, but they can even help you recover compensation for the pain and distress the officer caused you to suffer from.