Arizona Police Misconduct and Brutality: What Are Your Rights?
The work of police officers in Arizona is regulated by strict rules. On occasion, the use of force may be justified. It should be used to keep a suspect from fleeing or causing somebody else harm. Excessive physical and lethal force, however, cannot be utilized. These will fall under the category of police brutality. What are your rights when facing Arizona police misconduct and brutality?
What is Police Brutality?
There isn’t a precise legal definition of police brutality in Arizona. The circumstances will determine just how much force a police officer should use in order to detain a suspect or keep them from harming someone.
Police brutality, however, is obvious in specific situations. Here are a few examples.
A person who is already in custody and who is in handcuffs can’t really resist a law enforcement professional or cause harm. In this situation, the use of force will easily fall under police brutality. The same applies to a situation in which a law enforcement professional uses a weapon against a non-armed individual who is not aggressive.
The excessive use of force falls under the category of police misconduct. Several other misconduct varieties include the following:
- A wrongful arrest
- The carrying out of an illegal search
- Subjecting a suspect to a police dog attack (also a form of police brutality)
- Working under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Planting evidence for the purpose of detaining an individual and charging them with a certain crime
- False imprisonment
- Discriminating against suspects on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, gender, religion, etc.
Every person in Arizona is entitled to federal protections against police brutality. Several federal laws deal with police misconduct. These laws include US Constitution Amendment IV and V, as well as Amendments VIII and XIV.
If a law enforcement professional violates your rights stated in the US Constitution, you have the right to hold that police officer accountable in a court of law.
Proving such violations will depend on several things. According to Arizona Revised Statutes 39-121, police officers are required to keep record of interactions with suspects and the performance of their duties. Every citizen has the right to review these records because they are public.
Additional information materials that citizens are allowed to request copies of include dispatch calls, photographs from the scene and 911 calls. Based on this information, it could be possible to prove beyond doubt that a police officer exceeded their authority.
Protecting Your Rights and Seeking Justice for Police Brutality
While you do have the right to request official records, the things that you do during an interaction with a law enforcement professional will also be important as far as establishing police brutality goes.
Individuals who are subjected to police brutality will often be shocked and incapable of maintaining their composure. The first thing to remember is that you have to remain silent. Take a look at your watch to note the exact time of the occurrence. Write notes about everything that happened immediately after the episode is over. The more detailed you are in the account, the more you’ll be giving your attorney to work with.
If there were witnesses on the spot, your lawyer will also need to get in contact with these individuals. They could corroborate your story and provide additional evidence.
Whenever a lawyer manages to prove Arizona police misconduct or brutality, they will also get to file a motion to suppress evidence collected after the episode. Thus, criminal charges could eventually be dismissed. Keep in mind, however, that proving a police officer violated a defendant’s civil rights could be difficult. When a victim can’t recount what happened and the law enforcement professional is denying the allegations, things can easily turn a long term. This is the main reason why remaining calm and being observant of details is going to be so important down the line.