How to Handle Police Intimidation

How to Handle Police Intimidation

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How to Handle Police Intimidation

It is a common scene that unfolds at least once during every episode of a police procedural drama. Whether it is Sergeant Hank Voight or Detective Andy Sipowicz sitting across from a suspect inside an interrogation room, the conversation between the two parties often turns hostile. The interrogating law enforcement officer even resorts to implementing intimidation tactics, such as threatening to add more years to an already lengthy prison sentence.

But the contrast between a dramatized crime show and reality is like night and day. Many law enforcement personnel go by the book when dealing with the public. They follow a set of guidelines that create the protocol for conducting police business. However, as they say during many police procedural dramas, it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil the entire basket.

Law enforcement personnel operate under legal standards for investigating crimes, as well as pursuing suspects. The foundation of the legal guidelines consists of four Amendments to the United States Constitution that address the rights Americans enjoy under virtually every type of circumstance. In addition to following the United States Constitution, law enforcement personnel must abide by the laws monitoring their behavior at both the state and federal levels.

If a police officer or officers violated your civil rights, you should speak with an experienced civil rights attorney to explore your legal options. Knowing how to handle police intimidation might help you diffuse a tense situation and stop any form of threats and acts of harassment.

At Morgan and Morgan, our team of experienced civil rights lawyers helps clients determine how to fight back against civil rights violations. For more than three decades, we have educated our clients about how to handle police intimidation, including filing civil lawsuits that seek monetary damages. Facing intimidating tactics can unnerve you at best and instill unbridled fear at worst.

Be proactive and stop police intimidation by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the accomplished civil rights attorneys at Morgan and Morgan.

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  • What Constitutional Rights Do I Have to Protect Me Against Police Intimidation?

    Knowing how to handle police intimidation starts by understanding your Constitutional rights. The civil rights lawyer from Morgan and Morgan that you meet with during a free case evaluation will go into much more detail describing your Constitutional rights as written in the following four Amendments.

    4th Amendment

    The Fourth Amendment is the most frequently referred to amendment mentioned during police procedural dramas. Law enforcement cannot conduct unreasonable searches and seizures, which typically means a team of police officers cannot enter your home unless they present a valid warrant issued by a judge who has jurisdiction over the area where you live. The exception to the no unreasonable searches and seizures rule is when a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause to enter a home because of the current commission of a crime. 

    5th Amendment

    “You have the right to remain silent.” As another common scene found in police procedural dramas, “You have the right to remain silent” is part of the rights given to Americans under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. You have the right not to incriminate yourself in any manner, from confessing to a crime to showing law enforcement where you hid evidence. Police officers are supposed to read every suspect their Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent.

    8th Amendment

    The founding fathers of the United States added the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution to protect American citizens against cruel and unusual punishment. When a law enforcement officer decides to take justice into his or her own hands instead of allowing due process to settle a case, the officer has violated the Eighth Amendment. For example, the judicial system ruled the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice for carrying a pellet gun constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

    14th Amendment

    The Fourteenth Amendment provides much broader Constitutional rights that ensure every American citizen receives due process. This means law enforcement personnel cannot deprive an American citizen of life, liberty, and/or property until due process runs its legal course.

  • What Types of Intimidation Tactics Do Police Use the Most?

    The key to knowing how to handle police intimidation involves detecting an act committed by a law enforcement officer that produces negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. We tend to make poor decisions when we experience fear and anxiety, which is why some law enforcement officers like to cross the line when investigating a case.

    Verbal Threats

    Verbal threats such as “Either you cooperate or go to jail” are often used during interrogations. Another popular threat is to threaten the incarceration of a loved one, even if the loved one is not considered a suspect during the investigation of a crime. Unless you wear a wire, proving a police officer issued a verbal threat is difficult to do. Working with one of the civil rights lawyers at Morgan and Morgan can help you prove the issuance of a verbal threat.

    Excessive Force

    There is no other type of intimidation tactic that has more effect on someone than the use of excessive force. Most people capitulate after just a short amount of time receiving physical blows or other types of force. Police officers that use excessive force can face criminal charges, as well as dismissal from their law enforcement positions. The footage shot from a law enforcement video camera provides physical evidence of police brutality. However, obtaining the video footage shot by a witness ensures you receive physical evidence that law enforcement has not altered.

    Wrongful Imprisonment

    Getting a suspect to talk by falsely arresting and wrongfully incarcerating the suspect represents an effective intimidating tactic. A false arrest occurs when a police officer brings a suspect into custody without an arrest warrant or probable cause the suspect committed a crime. The goal of this type of intimidation is to deprive a suspect of amenities, such as heat and nutritious meals. False arrests and wrongful incarcerations often happen at the end of an illegal search and seizure.

    Denied Medical Care

    Injured suspects typically are more likely to reveal important information in exchange for medical care. Some law enforcement officers like to leverage this fact by denying suspects much-needed medical care until they reveal the right type of information. The denial of medical care violates the life, liberty, and property clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

  • How Should I Handle Police Intimidation?

    Knowing how to handle police intimidation can help you avoid arrest, as well as hold the guilty law enforcement officer or officers accountable for breaking the law.

    Remain Calm

    One of the reasons why law enforcement officers implement intimidation tactics is to unnerve a suspect enough that the suspect reveals critical information concerning a case. To counteract intimidation, remain calm under all circumstances. When a police officer notices your calm demeanor, the acts of intimidation should stop.

    Request Witness Support

    Early on during an encounter with a police officer or officers, ask someone you know to video record the encounter. You can use your cellphone to capture video if the police officer has not yet placed you under arrest. However, enlisting the help of a bystander or someone you know is more effective at defusing a potentially volatile situation. 

    Write Down What Happened

    This is the step that can prove you received verbal threats from one or more police officers. Write down what happens in as much detail as possible to demonstrate your recollection of an event with the utmost clarity. Share your written-down account of an interaction with a police officer to the civil rights lawyer you hire from Morgan and Morgan.

    Meet With a Civil Rights Attorney

    Dealing with the aftermath of a police encounter that involves the use of intimidating tactics can trigger negative emotions that lead to the making of poor decisions. By scheduling a free case evaluation with a civil rights lawyer from Morgan and Morgan, you receive the legal support that you need to fight back against law enforcement intimidation. Your legal counselor suggests actions for you to take, without you making wrong decisions while under emotional distress. 

    File a Civil Lawsuit

    You have the right to file a civil lawsuit against a law enforcement agency that seeks monetary damages. A civil lawsuit compensates you for financial losses, as well as makes an example out of the police department that violated your rights through intimidation. Consulting with your civil rights attorney will help you decide whether you should file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.

    File Misconduct Report

    You should wait until all legal issues get resolved before you file a police misconduct report. Your lawyer determines where to file your police misconduct report, as well as ensures your report contains accurate information that is backed by both physical evidence and witness accounts. You might have to file your report using an official form provided by the court that handled your civil lawsuit.

  • What Are the Types of Monetary Damages for a Civil Rights Case?

    You have the right to ask for two types of economic damages, while the judge hearing your case can approve a third type of financial award.

    Economic damages cover the costs associated with medical bills and the wages lost because of wrongful incarceration. You should make a copy of every medical bill if you sustained injuries as a result of the use of excessive force. Economic damages include the cost of running diagnostic tests, as well as the cost of completing treatment programs and physical therapy sessions. 

    Non-economic damages refer to mental and emotional distress issues, such as the development of acute fear and anxiety because of the intimidating tactics used by a law enforcement officer. Facing intimidation can have a profound negative psychological effect on a victim. However, because non-economic damages do not come with a price tag, your civil rights attorney must rely on your testimony under oath to describe the damage done to your mental and emotional state.

    The judge hearing your case has the power to award you punitive damage, which does not compensate you for economic and non-economic losses. Instead, punitive damages penalize the defendant who implemented unlawful tactics when interacting with you during the course of a criminal investigation,

    Do not allow a law enforcement agency to intimidate you under any circumstance. Learn how to handle police intimidation by scheduling a free case evaluation with a civil rights attorney from Morgan and Morgan.

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