Policing issues have taken front and center stage in the United States in recent years. The roles and accountability of police officers and the civil rights of an accused individual have been hotly debated and controversial topics.
If you have had an excessive force encounter with the police, researching police conduct guidelines and detained persons’ options can help you to determine your course of action. Both state and federal laws address police misconduct.
Pennsylvania regulations for police conduct
Excessive force by officers is conduct that exceeds the necessary force to achieve compliance. Pennsylvania State Police directives do not allow excessive force, including:
- Vascular restraint maneuvers or “chokeholds”
- Failure to provide aid during the use of any level of force
- Lack of intervention if another officer uses excessive force
Federal enforcement of police misconduct
Federal law prohibits conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of their rights under the Constitution of the United States. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches or seizures. The Fifth Amendment guarantees your right to remain silent. The Eighth Amendment forbids cruel and unusual punishment. The Fourteenth Amendment ensures your right to due process.
The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating law enforcement violations of constitutional rights such as:
- Excessive force
- Sexual coercion
- Fabrication of evidence
- False arrest
- Denial of medical care
The police preserve the laws of our communities within specific parameters. You can protect yourself against unlawful police action by learning the facts about your civil rights.