Police officers have a lot of power. Most of them choose to use that power to protect citizens and do what's right. Far too often, however, officers on power trips abuse their authority and violate the civil rights of suspects, protesters, drivers, young adults, people of color, and others. If you or a loved one was a victim of police misconduct or brutality, you can hold the officer and the agency that employs them responsible for compensating you for the damage that was done.
Police misconduct cases are notoriously difficult to pursue and win, but at The Blankenship Law Firm, we don't back down from a fight. If you believe your civil rights were violated, contact our office to find out if we can help.
Examples of Police Misconduct in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska
If you are suspected of a crime, you have rights under the U.S. Constitution. Law enforcement officers—whether local, state, or federal—have a duty to uphold your rights in the way they treat you. Ways officers might violate your civil rights include:
- Unlawful search and seizure. This occurs when officers conduct a search or seize property without a valid warrant, probable cause, or without the individual's consent. Evidence obtained through an unlawful search and seizure is generally considered inadmissible in court, but its initial discovery may lead to a biased investigation or arrest, resulting in further harm, such as wrongful imprisonment, damage to reputation, or loss of employment.
- Excessive use of force. This refers to situations where law enforcement officers use more force than is necessary to control a situation or apprehend a suspect. Victims may suffer injuries such as broken bones, concussions, internal organ damage, or even death as a result of excessive force.
- Unjustified shootings. These incidents involve the use of firearms by police officers when it is not warranted, such as shooting unarmed individuals or pulling a gun on non-threatening targets. Victims may sustain serious or fatal gunshot wounds.
- Racial profiling and discriminatory practices. When law enforcement officers engage in racial profiling, they target individuals based on their race, ethnicity, or other protected characteristics rather than reasonable suspicion. Victims may experience emotional distress, humiliation, or psychological harm due to being unfairly targeted or treated differently by the police.
- False arrests and wrongful imprisonment. This occurs when individuals are detained or arrested without probable cause or based on false information. Victims may endure physical injuries during the arrest process, such as bruises or lacerations, and suffer emotional trauma or damage to their reputation as a result of being wrongly imprisoned.
- Sexual misconduct. Instances of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse committed by police officers in their interactions with civilians are unfortunately not uncommon. Victims may experience physical injuries from sexual assault, along with severe emotional and psychological trauma.
- Verbal or psychological abuse. This includes instances where police officers use offensive language, intimidation, threats, or humiliation to control or mistreat individuals. Victims may suffer emotional distress, anxiety, depression, or other psychological injuries as a result.
- Corruption and bribery. When officers engage in corrupt practices, such as accepting bribes, tampering with evidence, or protecting criminal activities, it undermines the integrity of the justice system and can lead to miscarriages of justice. Victims may experience a lack of access to justice or face unfair treatment as a result of police corruption.
If you have been the victim of any of these forms of misconduct, you have a right to pursue justice, regardless of whether you are facing criminal charges or not.
Please note that the police are not obligated to be truthful when interrogating suspects. Lying is not considered a violation of your civil rights, but over-the-top scare tactics may be the basis of a valid claim.
The Blankenship Law Firm Takes on Police Misconduct
The Blankenship Law Firm is dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims of police brutality and misconduct all over the state of Washington and in Oregon and Alaska. If you sustained injuries or a loved one was killed by the police, you can count on us to investigate the case and hold the liable party accountable. Our attorneys have won sizable verdicts and settlements in personal injury claims. Fill out our contact form to find out if we can help you, too.