Living in a democratic society, you possess certain inalienable rights that even law enforcement officials must respect during an arrest. However, instances occur where the police might violate these civil rights. Knowing what these violations are can equip you to protect your rights and ensure fair treatment.
Police interactions can be stressful and disorienting, making it essential to recognize potential civil rights violations.
Unlawful search and seizure
Under the Fourth Amendment, you have protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. If police search you or your property without a valid search warrant, probable cause or your consent, they are violating your rights.
Excessive use of force
Police officers have the right to use necessary force to make an arrest. However, if they use excessive or unnecessary force, it infringes on your rights. This violation can take many forms, from physical harm to the use of firearms.
Denial of the right to remain silent
Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to remain silent during questioning to avoid self-incrimination. If police officers deny you this right or fail to inform you of it (Miranda rights) when interrogating you while you are in their custody, they violate your civil rights.
Denial of the right to an attorney
You also have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If the police deny you this right or question you without an attorney after you have requested one, they violate your Sixth Amendment rights.
Racial profiling, or making assumptions about a person’s potential criminal behavior based on their race or ethnicity, is a violation of your civil rights. Police cannot stop, search or arrest you solely based on your race or ethnicity.
You need to know your civil rights and understand when they are being violated. Stand up for your rights and the respect you deserve.