Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney

  1. Home
  2.  – 
  3. Civil Rights
  4.  – What Are the Most Common Forms of Police Misconduct in California?

What Are the Most Common Forms of Police Misconduct in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Civil Rights

Police are required to keep citizens safe from harm and criminal activity. There may be times when police need to use force to stop a situation, and they’re required to do so lawfully. However, some police officers break their boundaries and perform actions that are harmful and damaging. Police misconduct is an unfortunate reality across the nation, and Californians should be aware of the most common forms.

An experienced civil rights lawyer can defend those who have been mistreated or falsely arrested by police. California can be a wonderful state to live in, and our police should ensure the safety of everyone in the state. If you believe you’ve experienced police misconduct, you may want to consider the following forms of misconduct and see if it fits your description.

Police Brutality

The most common form of police misconduct is police brutality, also known as excessive force or violence. Force may be necessary to stop a criminal, especially if they’re committing assault or battery on another person. However, police should not be excessive in their violence, especially if the perpetrator has been successfully detained.

Police brutality can result in a wide range of injuries on the victim, whether it’s from physical attacks like punches or kicks or from weapons like tasers and guns. In fact, guns should be used by police as a last resort. Unfortunately, some officers use guns when they have no justifiable reason to do so, and victims and their loved ones suffer because of it.

If you were arrested for a crime, innocent or not, and experienced police brutality, you may be able to seek compensation. If you sustained severe injuries, such as taking a bullet to your chest without taking permanent damage, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses. Police brutality is common throughout the nation, but lawyers can ensure justice is served.

Fourth and Fifth Amendment Violations

The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches of your property, while the Fifth Amendment allows you to remain silent and have the right to a lawyer if arrested. It may be difficult to know when either amendment was violated by police, but the following signs generally point to a violation.

  • You were stopped because of racial profiling or a similar discriminatory action.
  • The officer threatened you or made unreasonable promises to make you give up information.
  • The officer had no justifiable reason to stop you.
  • You were asked questions that weren’t relevant to why you were stopped.

Many California residents forget that they don’t have to answer questions and that they can speak to a lawyer instead. If you are detained and haven’t been arrested, you don’t have to consent to a search or answer questions.

Sexual Harassment

Police officers should act professionally and keep people safe. Any sexual harassment from an officer, including unwanted sexual comments or conduct, should be reported immediately. Police who sexually harass someone, whether male or female, must be held accountable, and victims of sexual harassment are protected by California law. Lawyers who regularly work with victims of sex crimes, including those committed by police officers, can help.

False Arrests

Police officers must have a valid warrant or probable cause when making an arrest. Officers cannot make arrests for an unjustifiable reason, and victims of false arrests shouldn’t have to suffer from the physical and mental damages they cause. If you are a victim of a false arrest or false imprisonment, you may be able to seek compensation.


Q: What Is Considered Police Misconduct in California?

A: Police misconduct occurs when any inappropriate or illegal action is performed by a police officer. These range from excessive use of force to sexual harassment, falsifying evidence, arresting someone without a justifiable reason, and more. Police have a set of regulations they must follow, and if they breach any of them, you could suffer distress or harm.

Q: What Is the Most Common Form of Police Misconduct?

A: In both California and the rest of the United States, police brutality and excessive force are the most common forms of misconduct. Police may need to use force to stop a situation from becoming worse, such as a fight. However, unnecessary violence such as punching, kicking, or tasing someone can be considered excessive, primarily if the person in question has been detained or arrested.

Q: What Are the Signs of Police Misconduct in California?

A: It can be difficult to know if police are acting inappropriately, but there are a few signs to consider. If police are requesting to search your property without a warrant, arresting you due to racial profiling, threatening you, or asking for information you don’t legally have to give, this is grounds for a police misconduct case. Make sure you understand your rights and speak with a lawyer immediately if you experience misconduct.

Q: Can Police Officers Be Prosecuted for Misconduct in California?

A: Yes, there are cases where police officers will be prosecuted and charged for their misconduct. However, this depends on the situation. If an officer sexually assaults someone, for example, they can be prosecuted and removed from the force. However, minor cases of misconduct may not result in prosecution. Speak with a lawyer if you have questions about misconduct and prosecution.

Exum Law Offices Can Assist You

Police officers put their lives on the line to protect our community from harm, yet some officers don’t fulfill this duty. Some officers abuse their power, believing they won’t be prosecuted or punished, which only serves to hurt victims. You may feel you have no options available if you’ve been arrested, or you believe no one will hear your claim if you’ve been treated horribly by police. Fortunately, our team is prepared to listen to your case.

At Exum Law Offices, we’ve worked with several clients who were victims of police misconduct. Whether it was an unwanted lewd comment or police brutality, we’re prepared to defend you and hold the officer and their department accountable. If police aren’t doing their job, we’re ready to make a change to keep Californians safe. If you’re a victim of police misconduct in California, contact us immediately.