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Ex-cop in New Mexico faces false imprisonment charges

Everyone living in New Mexico or elsewhere in the United States is protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution against unlawful searches and seizures. If police arrest someone, it is the person who is being seized, as the courts have interpreted the term “seizure.” A former police officer is facing criminal charges for civil rights violations, including false imprisonment, for arresting a person with disabilities who was making a purchase in a Target store at the time.

Details were not provided as to the exact condition the man in question has, except that he has disabilities. He was reportedly having trouble finishing a purchase in a Target store. In a video accompanying the news report, the police can be seen dragging the man from the store. Once they were in the entranceway, one of the officers told the man he was under arrest and a physical struggle took place.

Attorney General refers to alleged civil rights violation

The New Mexico Attorney General stated that the disabled man was part of one the most vulnerable groups in society.  The AG noted that, rather than assist the man, the officer chose to treat him in an abusive and unlawful manner. In addition to false imprisonment charges, the ex-cop was accused of making a false report, perjury and battery.

Probable cause is required to make an arrest

Before New Mexico police can arrest someone, they must establish probable cause, which means they must have evidence that the person committed a crime. For instance, police cannot arrest someone for DUI unless they determine that the person has tested positive for alcohol or exhibits behavior that meets the criteria for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is a violation of an individual’s civil rights to be arrested without probable cause. An attorney who is experienced in cases involving a violation of Constitutional law can provide support to a person who claims to have been unlawfully arrested.