When an officer comes in contact with an individual they must search, the department in which they are employed with generally has a policy that stipulates how these searches should be conducted. For instance, although a male officer can pat down a female they suspect may have committed a crime or has already been detained, they will usually have a female counterpart come out when a more thorough search is required. Now, if a male officer does decide to conduct a thorough search on their own without calling for a female to assist and engages in an act of sexual misconduct, then it is essential that the person being violated contact a Washington County, FL police brutality attorney right away.
When a law enforcement officer engages in nonconsensual sexual contact with an individual who is in their custody, they are “depriving them of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right to bodily integrity” [Source: The United States Department of Justice]. Some examples of what might constitute as an act of sexual misconduct include:
- Sexual assault without consent (rape)
- Sexual contact procured by force
- Threat of force or coercion
- Unwanted or gratuitous sexual contact such as touching or groping
If you believe a police officer in Washington County, FL has sexually harassed you during a routine traffic stop or even while being arrested, you hold the right to take legal action against him/her. You also have the option of contacting The United States Department of Justice, so that the mater can be properly investigated. Aside from police officers, the Department is also responsible for investigating claims made against the following:
- Federal and state probation officers
- Corrections officers
- Others in the law enforcement field
What happens after I contact The United States Department of Justice to report an officer for sexual misconduct?
After you report your issue to the Department, they will conduct an investigation to determine if your claims are legitimate and if so, what penalties will be assessed based on the degree of the violation. During the time of the investigation, the Department must be able to prove that the officer “violated a victim’s right to bodily integrity” and that the victim “did not consent to the defendant’s actions.” Here’s an example of when a person might file a sexual misconduct complaint with the Department and why they should hire a police brutality lawyer to represent them during this time.
Let’s say a female was pulled over by a male officer for speeding and during the routine traffic stop, the officer spotted marijuana in the vehicle. Given that the officer had probable cause to pull the woman over and the marijuana was in plain sight, he could arrest her for violating the law. However, instead of arresting the woman for possession of marijuana, he has her exit the vehicle and proceeds to pat her down. During this time, he touches her inappropriately, which is a clear violation of her rights and the law.
Another example of what would constitute as an act of sexual misconduct is if an officer of the law uses coercion to bring false charges against a person or threatens an individual’s freedom if they refuse to engage in a sexual act. Just because an officer has the authority to stop someone and even search them, it doesn’t mean they can take advantage of them or use their vulnerability to force them into doing something to prevent from being taken to jail.
Although it is illegal for a police officer to engage in any act of sexual misconduct, many often do and the most effective way of getting them recognized for their inappropriate behavior is to have a help you take legal recourse against them. If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted by an officer in FL and would like to speak with a lawyer in your area who can help you through this confusing and difficult time, contact USAttorneys.com today.