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Police Misconduct Attorney Chicago, IL

It’s important to recognize that police and law enforcement play a crucial role in society. Not only do they maintain public safety and order, they also allow society to thrive. In order to perform their duties, the law allows them to prevent, stop, and investigate crimes. Law enforcement agents who perform their duties safely and correctly contribute to a better tomorrow. Unfortunately, police are capable of abusing their power and engaging in police misconduct. If you suffered from any type of police misconduct, you need a Chicago police misconduct attorney on your side.

At Curcio Law Offices, we have years of experience handling cases involving police misconduct, police brutality, and police shootings. We care deeply for our Chicago family, so we’re committed to holding law enforcement accountable for their actions. An abuse of power by police ultimately leads to harm to citizens, society, and freedom. If you encountered police misconduct or brutality, we’re here for you. Call our office for a free and confidential consultation at 312-321-1111. You can also fill out our online intake form.

What Is Police Misconduct?

Police misconduct refers to law enforcement officers behaving unlawfully or improperly. It often involves violations of state law, federal law, or the rules and regulations of the police department.

In recent years, reports of police misbehavior have grown more regular in the media. Extreme use of force, cruelty, corruption, forced interrogations and coerced confessions, witness tampering, and racial profiling are the most common types of police misbehavior we learn of. These activities can result in bodily harm or death, as well as wrongful detention and constitutional rights violations.

However, making false reports, unlawfully damaging property, and abusing or stealing confiscated items, money, or narcotics all fall within the definition of misconduct. Violence or illegal behavior off duty are also examples of misconduct.

Additionally, police misconduct has the potential to cause not only individual harm, but also societal harm. These actions jeopardize the conduction of justice and break down the citizens’ faith in law enforcement. That’s why it’s important to hold those responsible for police misconduct accountable by speaking with a police misconduct attorney in Chicago.

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What Are Your Civil Rights?

The inherent civil rights granted to you come mainly from the Constitution of the United States. Below, we list the specific sections which grant you the relevant rights.

  • Fourth Amendment: It shields you from illegal searches and seizures, as well as police abuse. We have had experience addressing these civil rights matters, as well as unlawful arrest and wrongful conviction cases, which frequently entail violations of the due process of law sections of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
  • First Amendment: Ensures freedom of expression and protects against reprisal. This is particularly true in situations involving whistleblowers, commonly known as qui tam lawsuits.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964: Prejudice based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is prohibited by federal and state governments and businesses. In employment law situations, this is frequently cited.

Bear in mind that there are several other sources of civil rights. The three mentioned above are simply referenced much more than other sources.

Types of Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Violations

At Curcio Law Offices, our Chicago police misconduct attorneys stand ready to represent you. We commit ourselves to securing damages for police misconduct, brutality, and even shootings. Our experience covers a wide range of forms of police misconduct, which we list below:

  • Failure to Intervene
  • Taser Abuse
  • Falsification of Evidence
  • False Imprisonment
  • Perjury
  • Witness Tampering
  • Racial Profiling
  • Unwarranted Surveillance
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Inmate Abuse

If you or someone you know experienced any of the above, you may have a police misconduct case. Contact a Chicago police misconduct attorney to find out if you have a case.

How Does Police Misconduct Impact a Case?

Police misconduct greatly impacts how criminal cases proceed. The job of the defense attorney in a criminal case is to generate reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. Wrongdoing by law enforcement employees, as well as information that casts doubt on the reliability of police evidence, might influence how a prosecutor, judge, or jury perceives the evidence presented. 

In many cases, prosecutors look over possible cases before anyone else. Sometimes, they only have police reports to help them determine whether or not to take a case. These preliminary police reports are often very limited, or even incorrect. A number of problems can arise on a police report, like lying witnesses, administrative errors, and even officer bias.

A defense lawyer may urge their client to go to court in order to obtain an acquittal if the allegations are false or deceitful. Unfortunately, for the defendant, this may be hazardous, costly, and distressing.

Police misbehavior isn’t always obvious, and the proof of it isn’t always enough to persuade a prosecutor or a jury. In situations like these, the defendant may be encouraged to accept a plea deal or risk being found guilty of a crime.

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Legal Remedies for Police Misconduct

Luckily, both civil and criminal options exist for pursuing justice after a police misconduct violation. Speak with a police misconduct attorney in Chicago to find out which option is best for you.

Exclusionary Rule

Maybe the police illegally obtained evidence in your case, such as without a search warrant. This violates the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. The exclusionary rule prevents the prosecution from using illegally obtained evidence against you.

This rule offers an incentive for officers to behave within the realm of the law. If they fail to do so, the evidence they obtain while breaking the law cannot be used in court. It also encourages police departments to ensure that their officers adhere to constitutional guidelines.

Criminal Charges

Police officers, despite their status as law enforcement, can still face criminal charges. Certain states enforce criminal penalties for police misconduct. Additionally, federal law prohibits knowingly or willingly depriving someone of their rights. 

Depending on the facts of the situation, it is also possible for prosecutors to file charges of bribery, theft, fraud, assault, witness tampering, evidence fabrication, manslaughter, or murder against an officer. They could also remove them from their job or revoke their policing license.

Civil Lawsuits

Section 1983

Police misconduct victims have the right to sue the offending officer, as well as their department, under the Civil Rights Act of 1871. A Section 1983 lawsuit allows these victims to seek monetary compensation for their suffering. It intends to prevent police misconduct and to encourage police departments to equip their personnel with proper training.

However, not every victim receives compensation. Qualified immunity is a difficult barrier for victims to overcome. It protects officials from civil responsibility unless they infringe on a clearly defined right. The theory of qualified immunity is intended to shield officials from accountability when they are forced to make fast choices that are reasonable but ultimately incorrect. However, detractors contend that it is almost impossible for victims to achieve the criteria, and that as a result, qualified immunity provides cops with an absolute protection.

Structural Reform

Civil rights litigation has led to the discovery of patterns of police misconduct in several towns. When a department has a history of violating people’ civil rights via the wrongdoing of its officers, state or federal courts may compel structural changes, such as modifications to the department’s rules, procedures, training requirements, data collecting, and internal investigation processes.

What Administrative Options Are There for Police Misconduct?

It is possible for the following parties to impose administrative sanctions for police misconduct: government agencies, police departments, municipalities, or citizen review and oversight boards. Below, we list the possible administrative penalties.

  • License revocation: The state must approve or certify an individual before they may work as a police officer. The ability to certify comes with the ability to revoke that license. A state agency or panel can revoke a person’s license to operate as a police officer in circumstances of significant misbehavior.
  • Internal affairs investigation: The department or town where the officer works can also launch its own inquiry into claims of police misconduct. A public report or a complaint from within the department might be the source of the accusations. The inquiry is usually conducted by a department’s internal affairs section, which may result in punitive action if the claim is shown to be genuine.
  • Citizen review or oversight boards: The public is frequently worried that a police force will not be able to examine suspected misbehavior by its own officers thoroughly and honestly. The formation of citizen boards to investigate and oversee a police department whose personnel have displayed a pattern of wrongdoing has been one reaction to this worry. One of the purposes of citizen review boards like these is to improve public responsibility for departments and officers, increase openness in procedures, and reduce conflicts between officers and the people they serve.

Policy Reforms to Discourage Police Misconduct

Reform occurs in certain cases as a result of changes pushed by policymakers and the society.

Changes in Policy Making

Changes to the legislation can be made by federal and state legislators, county commissioners, and council members in order to curb police wrongdoing. The following are some examples of police reform law.

  • Taking away legal obstructions which prevent victims from bringing lawsuits or succeeding in lawsuits against police misconduct.
  • Mandating training on de-escalation tactics, use of force policies, cultural sensitivity, and other procedures for officers.
  • Mandating the use of body cameras on police officers.
  • Reallocating, increasing, or decreasing funding for police departments.

Community Action

Another approach to effect change is via the ideas of the public. Supporting rallies, planning or engaging in a march, testifying at forums or public hearings, or forming a worldwide coordinated movement are all examples of community action.

One other way to engage in community action is to report the misconduct that you witness. Many people, when they suspect police misconduct is or is about to occur, try to film it with their phones. Taking pictures and offering video evidence of the misconduct helps greatly when a police misconduct attorney files a lawsuit.

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Speak to a Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney Today

Victims of police misconduct or police brutality have several options in seeking justice. If you’re a criminal defendant who believes the police improperly obtained their evidence against you, we recommend speaking with a criminal defense attorney. However, if you experienced police misconduct, you need a Chicago police misconduct attorney with Curcio Law Offices. We’ll help you determine which of your rights were violated, as well as how to seek justice. Contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation at 312-321-1111 or fill out our online form.