You may have heard of instances where law enforcement crosses the line and violates an individual’s civil rights, such as using excessive force. However, there are several other ways in which police misconduct can occur.
Each type of police misconduct is unique, but several are unusually common in New Mexico. All these actions by law enforcement could mean you have a case against them for violating your civil rights.
Law enforcement does not have the freedom to arrest anyone for any reason. Generally, a police officer must have probable cause or an arrest warrant to place an individual under arrest and take them into state custody, even if only for a few hours. The arrest itself, if unlawful, could violate your civil rights.
Excessive force or police brutality
As we have seen in the news, these cases have become much more common, with law enforcement officers exerting unreasonable and excessive force upon an individual, directly violating an individual’s fourth amendment rights under the United States Constitution.
Another violation of fourth amendment rights under the United States Constitution is placing someone under unlawful detention. Law enforcement must have reasonable cause for detention or must show they had probable cause if they do not have an arrest warrant. An unreasonable length of detention is another violation of an individual’s civil rights. Police cannot keep individuals under police custody for however long they want.
If a law enforcement officer stops a driver because of that person’s race or skin color, they violate that individual’s civil rights. In addition, if law enforcement detains a person in other ways, such as during a neighborhood watch or patrol or wrongfully arrests a person based on that person’s race or skin color, law enforcement violates that person’s civil rights.
It can be difficult and sometimes intimidating to think that law enforcement could possibly target an individual unfairly. However, it happens, and it is unlawful. The U.S. Constitution protects its citizens from police misconduct. It provides ways for victims of law enforcement violations to defend themselves.