Policeman talking on radio

Have Your Rights Been Violated?

Police officers do sometimes step over the line and violate the rights of citizens when attempting to make an arrest. Citizens often feel powerless in these situations. The reality is that something can be done. It is important to know what to do if there is a suspicion that personal rights were violated by the police.

Be Compliant With the Officer

The first thing to do is be compliant with the officer even if something wrong appears to be happening. This is important because it is not permissible to dispute personal rights during an arrest or police intervention. The issue has to be taken up later in a different venue. Comply with the requests of the officer within reason even if it means going to jail.

Record Everything That Happened As Soon As Possible

Take the first opportunity possible to record everything that happened during the incident. This could be done by writing down an account of the events or making a voice recording on a cell phone. The idea is to capture all the details and information possible before they are forgotten. Remember to document who the officers were. This could mean names, badge number, license plates and police districts.

Be Prepared To Post Bail

The incident could end with a trip to the local jail. This is why it is important to be prepared to post bail. A dollar amount will likely be set by a judge that can be paid in order to get out of jail. If there is no way to pay the amount in cash up front, then it will be necessary to call a bail bond agency. These agencies get 10 percent of the total bond amount. They will then put up the rest of the money. This will lead to a release from jail. The only stipulation is that it is mandatory to make all scheduled court appearances on time in order to avoid going back to jail or owing the full bail amount. Getting out of jail fast is critical when pursing a case about violation of personal rights.

Try To Get Witness Information

Try to get as much witness information as possible. Look around for people who witnessed what the officers did. Write down names, address and phone numbers. Witnesses are an important part of proving any case that involves police violation of a citizen’s right. Do everything reasonable to locate key witnesses that were on the street or inside nearby buildings watching.

Forward the Information to the Internal Affairs Division

After collecting witnesses and writing out a full description of what happened, the next step should be to forward the information to the internal affairs division of the local police district. This is going to start an investigation into the officers involved and could result in disciplinary action. If no internal affairs division exists, then try the civilian complaint review board.

Talk To the ACLU

A final step is to talk to the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU. The ACLU will look into the incident and might even file legal charges against the officers or the department. The ACLU can be a very powerful ally if personal rights have been violated by the police although it will take time to see any results.

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