What is The Definition of Police Misconduct in NYC?

What is The Definition of Police Misconduct in NYC?

Sometimes the police can seem like they’re all-powerful and above reproach. But they are governed by rules and laws like anyone else.

And if they break those rules or laws, and are caught,  it can have an impact on the strength of the case against you. You may even be entitled to compensation as a result. So it’s important to know what the police can and can’t do. 

See also: Can You Really Get My Criminal Case Dismissed?

The police may not use excessive force.

The police are only allowed to use as much force as it takes to resolve the situation. But they do get broad interpretation on what that means. When in doubt, they usually get a big pass if they can make a case their lives were in danger.

This is why it is very important to stay calm when dealing with police officers. Don’t struggle, raise your voice, or start swearing. If you remain quiet and polite, they do not have much of a case to use any force against you. Don’t forget to say as little as possible.  Better yet, say nothing.  

See also: Dumb Moves to Avoid When Accused of a Crime in NYC.

They must be courteous.

The police are not allowed to swear at you, call you names, or insult you. They are required to remain professional at all times. 

Offensive language is enough of a concern that the New York Civilian Complaint Review Board lists it separately, rather than leaving any ambiguity by covering it under their “discourtesy” provision.

See also: When Words Can be Criminal: Harassment Defense in New York.

They may not abuse their authority.

Abuse of authority is one of the most common forms of misconduct, and one of the ones most often used to craft a defense in a criminal case. This can include threats that police have no legal ability to carry out.

It also covers improper search and seizure, the most common form of police misconduct This isn’t just a form of “misconduct,” it’s a violation of the constitution. The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman has been able to get many cases dismissed when we are able to  show the police did not respect your constitutional rights.

See also: 5 Things Police Shows Get All Wrong.

Here’s what to do if you think you’ve been a victim of police misconduct.

First, document everything you saw and heard. Try to get the names of all the officers, note any witnesses, and note the date, time, and location of the incident. If someone obtained  video, be sure to mention that to your attorney too.

Then, pass all of this information to your attorney as soon as possible, along with any other information pertinent to charges against you. It will be up to your defense lawyer to determine how to use this information to your advantage.