The duties of a police officer are sometimes intense. They deal with dangerous situations and have to make difficult, split-second decisions on a regular basis. As part of their job duties, they sometimes have to use force to subdue individuals. This must be done carefully and with as little force as possible in an effort to regain control of a situation that’s placing them or someone else in danger.
Despite the complex nature of this job, police officers still must uphold the law. This includes respecting the constitutional and statutory rights of any person they deal with during the course of each shift. It is possible that an officer will overstep their given duties. This could lead to the person they’re dealing with suffering harm.
What protections do officers have to do their job duties?
Police officers are protected by the doctrine of qualified immunity, which prevents them from being held civilly liable as long as they’re acting within the confines of their job duties. The doctrine has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court, and it has been explained and expanded by that court.
Despite the protections that they face, police officers don’t have carte blanche to do whatever they feel like doing. There are limitations to the protection that the doctrine offers so it is possible for them to be held liable if they overstep their bounds.
One important distinction that’s been clearly established is that the officer must be on duty in order to be covered under the doctrine. They have to be acting in an official capacity at the time that the incident in question happens.
What kids of situations can lead to police misconduct claims?
The shortest answer to this is that police officers can’t do anything that violates your rights. They can’t circumvent your constitutional rights for any reason, including your right to avoid being the victim of police brutality or having to face cruel or unusual punishment. Any violation of your fundamental rights could trigger legal action against the officer, but they may attempt to use the doctrine of qualified immunity as a defense unless the court finds it inapplicable.
Proving that you were the victim of police misconduct can be a challenge because of the strict components of the doctrine. It is imperative that anyone who believes they’ve been the subject of police brutality or misconduct take the time to determine what legal action is available.