There is no doubt that law enforcement officers have a tough job. Not only do they often face dangerous situations and make arrests of dangerous criminals, but they also have a public image to maintain. When police make mistakes, or abuse their position of power, it reflects badly on law enforcement as a whole. But the truth of the matter is that sometimes mistakes happen. Police might arrest the wrong person, thinking that they have caught their suspect. Police also sometimes get the facts wrong, and err on the side of caution, making an arrest that they should not actually make.
When police make these kinds of errors, whether intentionally or accidentally, innocent people are arrested and sent to jail when they haven’t actually done anything illegal. Being falsely arrested is a violation of your civil rights, and if you or a loved one is sitting in jail because of a false arrest, their civil rights under federal and state law may have been violated. If you are concerned that you or a loved one has been falsely arrested, please contact an experienced civil rights lawyer as soon as possible to help you protect your rights.
False Arrest Violates a Person’s Fourth Amendment Rights
When an individual is falsely arrested, it is an unreasonable seizure of his or her person, which is a violation of his or her Fourth Amendment Rights under the United States Constitution. The lynchpin of these rights is that a person cannot be arrested without probable cause that he or she has broken the law. Probable cause requires that the arresting officer have information that supports a reasonable belief that the individual committed a particular criminal offense.
Probable cause is often missing when a person is falsely arrested, and that means that the arrest was not legal, and an action for false arrest can move forward. Probable cause needs to be based on some sort of evidence. If a police officer had a hunch, that won’t justify making an arrest. There are plenty of instances when police officers have made an arrest without any evidence to support a reasonable belief that a crime was committed. Sometimes an officer might make an arrest:
- Just to be malicious, or to teach a suspect a lesson for behaving disrespectfully, even though nothing illegal has been done by the person arrested.
- To further some other agenda.
- And then lie about their evidence that supported their reasonable belief that the arrestee did something wrong.
- After getting the facts wrong at the scene of the arrest.
- As a mistake. The officer might think he has the correct suspect, when in fact there has been a misidentification.
Contact A Civil Rights Lawyer
When you or a loved one has been falsely arrested, their civil rights have been violated and action needs to be taken to correct the situation. No one should be placed in jail when they have not done anything in violation of the law. Contact an experienced civil rights attorney at the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. to schedule an appointment today.