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Recognizing the signs of an officer’s abuse of power

In a time when law enforcement faces more intense scrutiny than ever before, citizens need to understand their rights. While the majority of law enforcement officers carry out their duties appropriately, there are risk factors for abuse of power during arrests and interactions.

When you know some common signs of abuse of power, you can more easily advocate for your rights.

Excessive force

One of the most glaring signs of potential abuse of power is the unjustified use of force during an arrest. While force may be necessary in certain situations, it’s crucial to assess whether the level of force used was proportionate to the circumstances. A 2021 report by the FBI states that more than 50% of reported cases involving police use of force resulted in bodily injuries.

Racial profiling

Racial and ethnic minorities are often disproportionately affected by arrests and law enforcement actions. If you believe that your race or ethnicity influenced your arrest instead of relevant evidence, it could be an abuse of power.

Denial of representation

Every individual has a right to legal representation during their arrest and proceedings. If you ask for representation and law enforcement denies you this opportunity or tries to intimidate you into waiving your right, that may qualify as an abuse of power as well as a violation of your civil rights.

These are common indications of an officer overstepping their authority or abusing the power of their position. Recognizing the signs of an abuse of power will allow you to call attention to the violations of your rights and ensure fair, equitable treatment.



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