Police brutality or abuse is a very real issue plaguing the world. These actions pertain to the unwarranted or excessive use of force against civilians by law enforcement officials. It can range from assault and battery, mayhem, to torture. Sometimes, police abuse cases can lead to wrongful death cases due to fatal shootings or other negligent actions.
Although anyone can hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to seek justice for the loved ones they lost through the negligence of police officers, it’s best to prevent these situations from escalating in the first place.
The following are the most efficient and legal ways you can get out of a sticky situation with a police officer.
Stay Calm, Polite, and Respectful
When dealing with an agitated police officer, a critical rule you need to remember is to remain calm and polite throughout the interaction. That’s because even the most collected or professional law enforcement officials can get aggressive if they feel threatened.
Although it can be frustrating to remain respectful when they aren’t treating you the same way, staying collected is the best way to stop a bad situation from becoming worse, ensuring your safety.
Know Your Rights
However, when calmly talking to them isn’t getting you anywhere, and they’re starting to get more aggressive with you, know your rights and use that against them. These include:
This policy establishes your right to refuse unreasonable searches or seizures. To use this right, ensure you clearly state your right of refusal even under pressure. Simply saying, “I don’t consent to searches” will do the trick. However, if the Officer has known facts that you committed a crime, they have the right to search you without your consent. So, it’s wise if you explain your alibi to them consistently, honestly, and thoroughly.
This amendment is commonly known as ‘your right to remain silent,’ and it’s wise to use this right when you’re being arrested or interrogated. You can place this policy in play by saying, “Officer, I am going to remain silent, but I would like to see a lawyer.” Doing this helps you avoid unnecessary aggression from both sides. However, when they ask to identify yourself, do it politely and don’t lie, but you can refuse to address other questions.
This right ensures your right to have legal assistance for your defense, meaning your right to have a lawyer. Never sign anything given to you without consulting with a reliable attorney first.
File a Police Misconduct Report
You can apply this measure when all criminal charges or civil actions against you have been resolved or when you want to file a complaint despite not getting charged with a crime. When filing for a misconduct report, you usually need to fill up an official form. You can get this via the internet, civilian review board, or through your local police department.
Before sending your report, ensure you make copies and store them securely. It’s best to send it through Certified Mail so the police can’t deny receiving your complaint. When you do this, it will create an official record of the incident, which can be used alongside other reports to indicate a pattern of misconduct, helping your community’s leaders prevent police abuse.
Although not all police officers are bad, some take their authority and power too far. Remember the tips mentioned to efficiently and safely get yourself out of a problematic situation with a police officer.