When the Police Infringe Civil Rights, Speak to an Attorney

Zachary Brophy
Jan 20, 2018 · 2 min read

The United States is a republic, which is to say that its government derives its legitimacy and authority from the consent of the governed. In addition to meaning that citizens of the United States have a say in who makes up the government and how its functions are carried out, this arrangement also implies that individuals are equipped with rights that protect them from abuses by these officials.

A variety of civil rights, such as the prohibition against unreasonable searches, are enshrined in the Constitution, with many more having been established through legal precedent or legislation since. Although these important protections are generally respected carefully, there are times when the authorities ignore them. Lawyers who handle such matters often prove to be of critical significance when it comes to issues implicating Civil rights & police misconduct.

Protecting the Civil Rights of Citizens of the United States

Police officers almost always have difficult work to do, and they are granted more leeway than most, as a result. Members of municipal, county, state, and federal police forces can be allowed, under appropriate circumstances, to engage in activities such as the following:

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Detention or arrest. In normal situations, an average person may not stop or detain another by using force or the threat of it. Police officers, on the other hand, do so routinely, whether in the course of everyday traffic stops or when in pursuit of dangerous criminals. At the same time, the conditions under which police are allowed to engage in this type of behavior are carefully laid out and described, and these restrictions must be observed at all times.

Search or seizure. The founders of the United States had experienced many abuses at the hands of the previous government and were especially concerned about protecting personal property and possessions against illegitimate searches. That the Constitution contains a specific prohibition against such problematic actions is both a reflection of this fact and a cornerstone of American civil rights. When police officers fail to justify their searches or seizures of property appropriately, holding them to account in court is often the best possible way to make such lapses less likely in the future.

Lawyers Who Are Ready to Help

There are many other ways by which police officers and other authorities commonly infringe the civil rights of citizens. In each and every case, consulting with an attorney who understands the issues will be the best way to ascertain whether pursuing a legal case against the infringing party might be worthwhile.

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