The Police Misconduct Provision “makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States (34 U.S.C. § 12601)” [Source: Department of Justice (DOJ)]. Therefore, this law gives victims of police harassment the right to take legal action against the officer and/or the department they work for. What do we mean by “take legal action?” Well, the DOJ accepts complaints stemming from harassment and given they can prove the allegations made are valid, the DOJ may file suit in an effort to recognize a department for the illegal behavior that is being displayed by its officers.
Now, you need to understand that in order for the DOJ to file suit, the misconduct must constitute a “pattern or practice” — it may not simply be an isolated incident.” In order for the lawsuit to stand, the DOJ must “be able to show in court that the agency has an unlawful policy or that the incidents constituted a pattern of unlawful conduct.” If the violation involves discrimination, such as discriminatory harassment, the “DOJ does not have to show that discrimination has occurred in order to prove a pattern or practice of misconduct.”
What happens once the DOJ files suit?
Given the lawsuit is successful, while the law does not permit a victim of harassment to recover monetary relief, it does help to preserve the relationship between the community and the police department assigned to patrol it. How? When a lawsuit filed by the DOJ is successful, it provides “injunctive relief, such as orders to end the misconduct and changes in the agency’s policies and procedures that resulted in or allowed the misconduct.” This helps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Do I need to hire a police brutality lawyer if I was harassed by a police officer in my city?
While the DOJ can help bring changes to a corrupt police department or one that has crooked cops working for it, the department cannot help you recover funds for the pain and suffering you may have endured as a result of the harassment. Therefore, while you cannot collect monetary relief under the Police Misconduct Provision, you could argue that the misconduct has led to you suffering various physical and/or psychological injuries. This would then give you a solid basis for filing a personal injury lawsuit against the officer, the department, or both.
Although the DOJ cannot help you file a personal injury lawsuit for the injuries you suffered as a result of the harassment that was inflicted upon you by a police officer, a police brutality attorney near you can.
If you’d like to find out more about why it is essential for victims of police harassment to hire a police brutality lawyer in their city, contact USAttorneys.com and let us connect you with some of the best lawyers in your area who have a proven track record of securing favorable outcomes for their clients.E