Are You A Victim Of Police Misconduct In Washington?
The police have the job of making sure everything goes smoothly in their communities. They do this by providing support and protection for the people they serve. They generally have the authority and responsibility to make sure everyone plays by the rules – and that includes themselves.
As law enforcement officers go about the business of enforcing laws they are supposed to abide by certain protocols that acknowledge and respect the rights of people in the community to be free from unreasonable actions by the government.
The majority of police in Washington state do an admirable job at a time when tensions have been running high between communities and their law enforcement personnel. But sometimes officers use their authority illegally and fail to perform their lawful duties. Persons who are harmed by police misconduct can recover for their damages under Washington as well as federal law.
At the Law Offices of Joseph Rome, we understand the frustrations on the part of persons who have experienced what can happen when police overstep or misuse their authority. Our Kirkland police misconduct attorney seeks justice for clients who have experienced police misconduct.
What is Police Misconduct in Washington?
In Washington, police misconduct is intentional behavior on the part of the performing officer. An officer must either intend to gain personal benefit or deprive another person of a legal right by:
- committing an unauthorized act under color of law
- failing to perform a duty imposed on the officer by law
When a law enforcement officer takes action under ‘color of law’ it means that the officer is taking unauthorized action based on the authority he or she has been given by a law enforcement agency.
Law enforcement behaviors that can be instances of police misconduct include:
- excessive use of force
- racial profiling
- sexual assault
- evidence tampering
- false arrest
- false or misleading statements
Your Options for Making a Police Misconduct Claim
When police misconduct occurs there are a number of laws that may apply to your situation. Some actions may give rise to criminal penalties as well civil actions for violations of your rights. Both state and federal laws may apply.
At the local level, you may be required to report the incident to the employer of the offending officer. You may also be able to file a lawsuit against the officer and his employer for violating your civil rights.
If you believe that you have experienced police misconduct it is best to speak to an attorney who focuses on police misconduct and civil rights violations. Since you are talking about illegal activities by someone sworn to uphold the law, the situation can be delicate and you need someone on your side who knows what you are up against.
How to Get Help Filing Your Claim for Police Misconduct
Washington is one of a minority of states with greater transparency when it comes to police misconduct. The disciplinary history of law enforcement officers is generally available to the public in Washington. And recent legislation will make it harder for police officers to remain eligible to work in law enforcement after findings of misconduct.
When police misuse or abuse their authority it erodes the trust between communities and their governments and threatens the foundations of a civilized society. Police misconduct is taken seriously in Washington and lawmakers have made it clear that it is not a practice to be tolerated in our state.
The Kirkland police misconduct lawyer at the Law Office of Joseph Rome is passionate about enforcing the civil rights of Washington residents and holding rogue police officers accountable when they use their positions for unlawful purposes.
Call our office at 425-429-1729 to schedule a free consultation or contact us here and let us help you deliver the message that no one is above the law and everyone is entitled to be treated with respect.