- FIRM PROFILE
- ATTORNEY PROFILES
- LAW PRACTICE AREAS
The United States Constitution protects individuals from wrongful searches and seizures. Wrongful searches of vehicles, homes and businesses happen far more than you might think. Wrongful seizures entail more than just false arrests, but also include improper stops for what police refer to as a “Terry” Stop, or a stop and frisk. Although such stops are generally less intrusive than an arrest, the use of Terry Stops is a widely used and abused form of seizure which falls within the protection of the Fourth Amendment. The United States Constitution also protects individuals from excessive police force, or police brutality.
While most police officers follow the rules, plenty feel free to violate constitutional rights without a second thought. Data on Police misconduct is gathered by a number of sources, public and private. Policemisconduct.net, for example, screens reports for bona fide occurrences of misconduct (including use of excessive force, sexual misconduct, and theft, among others) and reports between 4,000 and 6,000 officers per year are engaged in such misconduct. Closer to home, the Tulsa Police Department has been involved in several scandals involving both unlawful discrimination and corruption in recent history. Beginning in 2009, United States Department of Justice investigations of the Tulsa Police Department resulted in a series of convictions and guilty pleas of police officers and an ATF agent who were involved in an astonishing scheme to falsify evidence, engage in widespread theft, and to sell drugs, among other criminal misconduct. Thus, while many (probably most) law enforcement officers follow the rules, it is beyond doubt that plenty of them are accomplished criminals who deprive individuals of their most cherished rights while, simultaneously, wearing a uniform and drawing upon the reputation and respect of those who follow the rules. What is worse is that police decorum, or the “thin blue line”, generally allows those officers who engage in misconduct to take full advantage of their “brothers in blue” status, and to rally other police to their support.
Police misconduct cases require specific knowledge of the latest case law, and the operation of the qualified immunity defense that protects police officers from suit. This qualified immunity works to prevent all but the most heinous offenses from going to the jury. To have any case in which serious constitutional rights are at issue evaluated, one must seek a lawyer with experience in the field to successfully litigate.