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Different types of police misconduct in federal cases

If you or a loved one has been the victim of police misconduct in relation to a federally prosecuted case, there are options. Federal cases differ from state cases in that they are prosecuted at the federal level and not the state level. This means federal law applies to the federal charges of these cases instead of Washington state law. However, civil rights still need to be respected and adhered to by police officers and similar officials.

Police misconduct is defined as any abuse of a citizen's civil or personal rights. This is a broad definition, but the potential abuse could manifest as false arrest, malicious prosecution, excessive force and failure to intervene. Excessive force and failure to intervene is self-explanatory; it means that a police officer used excessive physical force on a citizen or another officer witnessed civil violations and did not intervene. False arrest is not as easily defined, but it explains how a citizen's rights may have been violated by an inappropriate search and seizure which is a violation of 4th Amendment rights.

Malicious prosecution is a response to prosecution that violates 14th Amendment rights. This is the most complicated of police misconduct claims and will require another descriptive post. However, if any of the other somewhat easily described police misconduct situations sound familiar to you or your family, there are courses of action for those that have been wronged. Police officers and similar officials are obligated to uphold the civil rights of the people they serve and any disrespect of this fact is prosecutable.

Keep in mind that misconduct can happen anywhere at any level of government. However, it is most often seen from police officers who are interacting with citizens on a day-to-day basis. For people who are expected to offer a standard of respect, it is hard to imagine that a police officer could commit such an atrocity. However, many Spokane residents know that police misconduct is not only a possibility, it's a reality.

Source: FindLaw, "Police Misconduct and Civil Rights," Accessed October 10, 2015

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