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What does police misconduct look like?

As unfortunate as it may be, the term "police misconduct" comes to light entirely too often in today's times. It's hard to even turn on the news without seeing a story about someone accusing the police of treating her or him in an inappropriate manner.

Generally speaking, police misconduct encompasses any unethical action or violation of a person's constitutional rights by an officer of the law.

There are many forms of police misconduct, including but not limited to coercion, fraud, dishonesty, brutality, abuse of authority, torture to generate a confession and sexual assault.

According to data collected by the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, approximately one percent of all police officers commit some form of misconduct in a given year.

Adding to this, a study by the Wisconsin Innocence Project shows that police misconduct was a determining factor in up to 50 percent of wrongful conviction cases involving some form of DNA evidence.

There are times when police misconduct is a one-off event, such as when an officer makes a mistake for one reason or another. There are also times when this is systematic, such as when the problem is spread throughout an entire department.

If you have any reason to believe you or a loved one has been the victim of police misconduct, you shouldn't wait to bring the problem to light and learn more about your legal rights. If you sit back and do nothing, you can't expect anything to change. You need to take action to ensure that the misconduct doesn't have a negative impact on your life in the future.

Source: California Innocence Project, "Police Misconduct," accessed Dec. 07, 2017

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