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Police harassment is an abuse of an officer's authority by continually or arbitrarily stopping someone, aggressively questioning him or her, or by conducting an unwarranted or illegal search and seizure.
The police are supposed to make us feel safe and protected. However, when we find ourselves on the wrong side of the law and have interaction with the police, we can leave the interaction feeling harassed. Harassment by the police is difficult to prove, but there are anti-harassment laws in place to protect you. Lack of clarity about what is considered police harassment and the best legal course of action available to the victims often result in legal questions that many of us do not have answers to. Below are the top 5 police harassment questions answered by the Lawyers on JustAnswer.
If and when you feel harassed by the police, or one officer in specific, filing a police harassment complaint may prove fruitless if you do not know the steps to take. The very first thing you should always do is file a harassment complaint against the police officer you feel harassed by, at the police station in the jurisdiction where the police officer is employed. If that doesn’t end the harassment, filing a complaint within the Internal Affairs Bureau is often the best route to take. However, before filing a complaint within the Internal Affairs Bureau, you must keep a detailed record of every instance that you feel harassment by the police or specific officer.
If you feel as if you are being ignored even after filing a complaint against an officer, or feel singled out by the police officer for harassment, you have other options. After sending a certified letter to the chief of police stating your cause, if there is no action taken, you can file a complaint with the State Attorney General’s office or the District Attorney in the county you live in. One other option is to file a Federal Complaint if you feel that your civil rights have been violated by the police. In this case you should speak to a local civil litigation attorney to handle the police harassment case.
If a judge has issued a search warrant, the police have the right to enter your house and search the premises within the provisions of the search warrant. If there is a valid court order allowing a search by the police, it is not considered police harassment. However, the police can only search the premises within the provisions of the search warrant and normally do not have the right to cause avoidable damage to the property. Depending on the situation, and especially if the police fail to find evidence during the search, you may be able to file a complaint with the police agency, and/ or the State Attorney General’s office if you feel the police are misusing the provisions of the search warrant and causing harassment. In extreme cases, you may need to speak to an attorney to take legal action against police harassment.
The police have a right to tow the car on the account of probable cause. . However, if they find nothing after a search of the car, this could be an issue of unreasonable search and seizure and can be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. In such a situation, you may need to hire a lawyer to file a complaint against the police department for abuse of authority and police harassment. Under normal circumstances, if a search of the car results nothing, and no tickets are issued, you should not have had your vehicle towed. Your lawyer may be able to sue for not only police harassment, but as well as towing fines and punitive damages. Make sure you hire an attorney that knows the police harassment laws, but first make sure that your specific situation gives you valid grounds for claiming police harassment
If you can prove your exact location when you were stopped and issued a ticket, and if you are certain that the location is outside the jurisdiction of the police officer, the first thing you should do is contact the police station where that officer is from and complain to the sergeant. Let the sergeant know that his officer was outside his jurisdiction and explain what happened. Provide the sergeant with proof of where you were at that time. Depending on your situation, you may have grounds for discrimination, police harassment, unlawful police abuse and possible profiling. If you can appear in person, try to get a written copy that the ticket was invalid and removed. You may also consider contacting a police harassment lawyer.
Many police harassment cases do not get addressed because most people are not sure of their legal rights and the limitations of a police officer’s authority. In many questions, not knowing what legal recourse you may have can result in questions like these and more. There are verified Lawyers on JustAnswer that you can take these and other harassment related questions to.
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