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Lawsuits Against the Police - Essay Example

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Law Suits Against the Police: Causes and Implications Name Class Instructor Date Law Suits Against the Police: Causes and Implications Law suits being filed against police officials has become a very common incident in the United States. The offences against which such lawsuits have been filed include, “ethical violations, administrative violations (meaning violations of agency rules), violations that lead to civil liabilities and violations that lead to criminal liabilities” (Carmen, 2009, p.444)…
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Lawsuits Against the Police
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Download file to see previous pages When one looks into the reports of police brutality coming in from different parts of the US, the numbers are simply shocking. Roberts (2007) has reported that “a Google search for “police brutality videos” had showed him, “2,210,000 entries.” Quoting a Human Rights Watch report, Roberts (2007) has also observed that in most cases, “no disciplinary action and criminal prosecution” took place. This is because of the difficulties involved in proving the unlawful act of the police officer, the reluctance of prosecutors to fight cases against the police with whom they have good “institutionalized relationships”, and also because of the general sympathetic attitude of the jurors towards the police (Barak, 2007, p.507). The Justice Department of the United States has the powers to sue police departments under the Violent Crime Control Act (1994) for such misconduct (Barak, 2007, p.506). In the last two decades, such prosecutions included cases against: New Jersey Police Department to limit its reliance on racial profiling in traffic stops; an Ohio police force to reduce its use of excessive force; the Pittsburgh police department for increased oversight and accountability; and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) over the Rampart scandal, where, in August 2000, a federal judge ruled that the government’s antiracketeering statute …could be used against the police (Barak, 2007, p.506). Individual citizens who were subjected to police brutality and abuse have also been filing law suits against police (Barak, 2007, p.506). In some of those cases, courts have awarded huge sums of compensation to the complainants. For example, the Detroit police department was found to have “paid an average of $10 million dollars per year to resolve lawsuits arising from police misconduct” (Barak, 2007, p.506). Between 1994 and 1996, the New York City had paid an amount of $70 million as compensation awarded by courts in police brutality lawsuits (Collins and Human Rights Watch, 1998, p.78). Similarly, the Los Angeles city had to pay $79.2 million during the period, 1991-96 (Collins and Human Rights Watch, 1998, p.78). When a police officer carries out some kind of ethical or criminal violation, the punishment for that will generally come up to “reprimands or dismissal from the job”, and also in some cases, “fines, probation, or incarceration in a prison or jail” (Carmen, 2009, p.444). And in case of violations leading to civil liabilities, “monetary payment for damages and attorney’s fees,” will be the sanctions imposed (Carmen, 2009, p.444). The liabilities for violations for a police officer could be either under the state or the federal law or both (Carmen, 2009, p.446). Under Federal law, the liabilities are addressed by certain provisions under Civil Action for Deprivation of Civil Right, Conspiracy to Interfere with Civil Rights, Equal Rights Under the Law, Criminal Liability for Deprivation of Civil Rights, Criminal Liability for Conspiracy to Deprive a Person of Rights, Violations of Federally Protected Activities, and other Federal agency rules and guidelines (Carmen, 446). The state tort law, “state penal code provisions”, and “regular penal code provisions” are the state laws involved (Carmen, 2009, ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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