Police misconduct is a topic that has been discussed a great deal in this country recently. However, police misconduct is nothing new. There have been examples of police misconduct for many years.

What Is Police Misconduct?

Police misconduct applies in many different situations involving police officers and law enforcement agents. It involves conduct that violates one or more laws or the police guidelines. 

Examples of police misconduct can include, but are not limited to:

  • Tampering with evidence
  • Witness intimidation 
  • False arrest
  • Police brutality
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Coerced confessions
  • Assault and excessive force
  • Theft
  • And many other unethical or illegal actions by police officers

Victims of police misconduct and victim advocates have been calling for police reform and accountability. Unfortunately, the topic remains volatile and politically motivated. 

If you are a victim of police misconduct, you may have several options available. If the misconduct resulted in criminal charges, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorney may be able to use the evidence as a defense to the charges against you.

When police misconduct results in a wrongful death, injuries, and other damages, victims may have a separate cause of action in civil court. They may recover compensation for the harm and damages caused by police misconduct.

Ten Examples of Police Misconduct in the United States

There are many examples of police misconduct. The ten cases below are well-known cases that many people may recall. In numerous cities, police officers have been involved in police misconduct. 

1.  Rodney King

Mr. King refused to stop for two Los Angeles police officers because he feared receiving a DUI charge. After an eight-mile chase, police officers cornered Mr. King and attempted to arrest him. He resisted arrest.

Mr. King was tasered twice by police officers, struck to the ground with a baton, and kicked and repeatedly struck with batons by police officers as they handcuffed him.

2.  Rachelle Jackson

Ms. Jackson witnessed a traffic accident involving Chicago police officers. She ran to the burning car and pulled one of the police officers to safety. When other police officers arrived, they said Ms. Jackson had stolen the police officer’s gun.

She was held in jail for 10 months. During that time, she was threatened and coerced into signing a statement. The judge dismissed Ms. Jackson’s criminal case. She sued the City of Chicago for coercive questioning, malicious prosecution, and false arrest and was awarded $7.7 million.

3.  George Floyd

George Floyd died when he was pinned down by three police officers, including one that left his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. The officers violated Minneapolis Police Department policies numerous times.

They have been fired and are charged with several crimes, including second-degree murder.

4.  Philando Castile

Mr. Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in front of his girlfriend and child. He informed the police officer that he had a legal firearm in the vehicle during a traffic stop. He was reaching for his identification after agreeing not to reach for the gun. The officer fired seven shots into the vehicle when Mr. Castile reached for his identification. 

5.  Eric Garner

Mr. Garner died after an incident with New York Police Officers. They tackled him and put him in an illegal chokehold as they arrested him for illegally selling loose cigarettes. Mr. Garner could be heard repeatedly saying that he could not breathe.

6.  Walter Scott

Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Scott had been pulled over for a broken taillight. The officer and Mr. Scott struggled over the officer’s taser before the officer shot Mr. Scott in the back eight times as Mr. Scott was running away from him. 

7.  John Spencer

New York State Police Officers, in this case, were guilty of planting evidence. They lifted Mr. Spencer’s fingerprints and planted them on evidence cards. The officers did not believe they had enough evidence for the homicide charge, so they went about fabricating evidence to strengthen the case against Mr. Spencer. 

8.  Officer Anthony Maldonado

Officer Maldonado took a large amount of cash from a driver in Maui, Hawaii, when he pulled him over. The victim reported the theft to the police. Officer Maldonado tried to bribe the victim, but was eventually fired and sentenced to prison for witness tampering and theft

9.  Ferguson, MO Racial Profiling

Officers in Ferguson, Missouri, would regularly stop men of color without a warrant or probable cause. When questioned about their interactions with the men they would stop, the officers lied. They received a short suspension for racial profiling.

10.  Rape and Sexual Assault by NYC Police Officers

Two NYC police officers arrested a woman for possession of marijuana. They forced her to perform oral sex and raped her in the police van. They told her they would charge her with a crime if she did not submit. The officers were charged with several crimes, including kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, and coercion.

Police misconduct is a serious problem in the United States. Seek legal advice if you or a loved one is a victim of police brutality or other misconduct.