Lawsuits brought against police officers are a well-established feature of the regulatory environment. While law enforcement officers typically have sweeping powers to conduct their work, the U.S constitution, state constitutions, and other statutes impose limitations on what police officers can do during policing activities. This week’s activity is based on a case study of alleged crimes during a law enforcement exercise. The essay will identify these crimes and highlight the one likely to end in a lawsuit.
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In the scenario, Officer Jones is approached by a distressed woman. The woman informs Jones that she was robbed and beaten by an individual wearing a red shirt and white pants. This report turns out to be false since the alleged crime did not happen. In other words, the first crime is a false crime report. The victim lied about the identity of the person who assaulted her. Officer Jones committed the second crime when he opted to leave the injured woman before competent treatment and reinforcement came. Officer Jones left the victim alone in the dark and went to confront and question an individual who resembled the victim that the woman had described.
The third crime was the shooting of the suspect by Officer Jones on the shoulder, which resulted in bodily harm. Many law enforcement officers have found themselves in the same situation before and have taken similar actions. Officer Jones was unsure what the suspect intended to do when he moved his right hand towards his right pocket, which had an apparent bulge. In short, Officer Jones shot the suspect because he was in fear for his life, which is understandable since the suspect was reluctant to follow his commands.
Lastly, the domestic situation involving the abused woman may constitute a case of intimate partner violence. The woman approached Officer Jones covered in blood with visible bodily injury, including cuts and bruises to her head and lip. Since it merged that her husband was the alleged attacker, he can be sued for domestic violence. It appears that the woman did not want to say her husband assaulted her because she feared retaliation or that he would get into legal trouble.
Officer Jones pursued the subject solely on the basis of information given by the victim. The individual wore white pants and a dark shirt, whereas the woman described the suspect as wearing white pants and a red shirt. Red and black may be difficult to distinguish in the dark. As a result, he ended up using unnecessary force that caused the suspect to sustain a severe bodily injury. Officer Jones might face a legal suit for shooting an unarmed person while in the line of duty. In particular, this action violated the suspect’s Fourth and Eighth Amendments. The former protects citizens from excessive force, often described as reasonable search and seizure (Donohue, 2016). The latter prohibits cruel and unusual punishment against civilians in the hands of government officials such as police officers (Smith & Robinson, 2016). In this case, the individual was injured before he was tried, which occurred during the arrest’s execution.
If the shooting victim decides to seek legal redress, several factors stand against the police officer. Following a tragedy, police conduct and judgments will be carefully scrutinized and analyzed. As a result, officers frequently attempt to make sound judgments that they can adequately clarify and justify later in case of disasters occur during executions of their duties. Among those choices is whether to seek assistance during a challenging situation. In the case scenario, the officer will be required to respond to several questions in the event of a civil action. He will be required to explain if he shot the victim because self-defense. In this case, Jones might argue that the subject refused to keep his hands where he see them.
Moreover, the decision not to wait for backup and first responders even after requesting their assistance put three lives in danger. First, he left an injured and bleeding woman alone in the dark to pursue a suspect who he did not know whether was armed or not. Second, he neglected his duty of care which started when the woman approached him for help. Duty of care is found in the Tenth Amendment, although mandated varies by state (Whitehouse, 2018). Overall, Officer Jones abandoned his duty of care and risked an injured person’s life, his life, and ultimately shot an innocent civilian.
as little as 3 hours
Likewise, the police responded to a serious incident in a crime-prone area with deprived lighting. Due to the poor lighting, Officer Jones could not tell whether the suspect wore a red or black shirt. This shows some carelessness because he was not adequately prepared and equipped to be on duty that night. Carelessness is also demonstrated by the slowness of the medical team when the law enforcement official summons them. It is also possible that the police department will be charged for negligence on the part of law enforcement officers. Worth noting that Officer Jones was alone in a high-crime neighborhood with no other officers to assist him. As for the family, if something occurred to Officer Jones that resulted in harm, there is little doubt that they would be protesting against the inadequate use of police officers.
Officer could argue that his actions were based on a falsified statement. Every state prohibits individuals from making false reports of a crime to the police. In some states like California, the penalty for making false police reports includes imprisonment of up to six months (California Legislative Information, 2011). In general, the woman would have been prosecuted in any state where the false crime report occurred. Therefore, both Officer Jones and the woman are guilty of committing a crime that led to an innocent person being shot.
At the same time, the woman’s husband is also guilty of domestic violence for attacking and injuring his wife. However, nobody knows the husband’s state because the reader is only presented with one side of the story. It is possible that the woman was fighting with the husband and could have caused him bodily harm before breaking free. All of the offenses that were committed might have been prosecuted and punished under government statutes. Then, to achieve an unequivocal and unambiguous conviction of mistreatment, a background investigation into the entire incident would be conducted.
When a police officer is accused of misconduct, the criminal justice system is a lot different. Defendants in police misconduct trials might include not just the policemen themselves, but also their superiors, departments, and municipalities. When it comes to legal matters, it can take years to get to the bottom of things. Settlements and verdicts can have a negative impact on officers’ personal and professional reputations. This explains why police officers must be careful when making or attempting to make arrests.
California Legislative Information. (2011). Law section. Web.
Donohue, L. K. (2016). The original Fourth Amendment. The University of Chicago Law Review, 1181-1328.
Smith, R. J., & Robinson, Z. (2016). Constitutional liberty and the progression of punishment. Cornell Law Review, 102, 413.
Whitehouse, A. (2018). The people amendments. Bilquees Press.