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Police Officer Misconduct

Since 1984, the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lofton & Lofton have successfully recovered compensation for victims injured by the acts of others, including those harmed through police misconduct. We are dedicated to obtaining justice for abuses perpetrated by those who claim to defend it.

Police Officer Misconduct

Police officers have wide discretion to detain and question individuals, within certain limits. These limits are defined by the Constitution of the United States. Officers can run afoul of individual rights and liberties in many ways, resulting in civil damages for victims. Most law enforcement conduct is not subject to private rights of action, but common exceptions to this rule involve:

  • Search and seizure
  • Traffic stops, checks
  • Warrantless searches
  • Admission of evidence
  • Detention, interrogation
  • Proving chain of custody
  • Miranda rights violations
  • Unwarranted use of weapon
  • Hearsay, circumstantial proof
  • Use of excessive force, violence
  • Reasonable expectation of privacy
  • Reasonable suspicion, probable cause

Law enforcement misconduct can ruin lives. Many victims have been wrongly shot, beaten, or tortured at the hands of police. Most of these victims are not aware of their rights or any form of legal recourse against abusive officers. As a result, they are reluctant to complain. But an experienced legal professional can lay out your options and help you recover relief.

Acts Constituting Police Misconduct

Police officers have a duty to protect and serve. This oath appears on every marked vehicle in South Carolina. But when the same people you call upon for justice violate your rights, legal action is in order. Preventable and often fatal transgressions by police may involve:

  • Assault or battery
  • Breaking and entering
  • Illegal seizure of property
  • Sexual assault or battery
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Mistaken identity during arrest
  • Failure to respect Miranda rights
  • Eliciting incriminating statements
  • Unlawful detention and interrogation
  • Wrongful death of unarmed individuals
  • Beating, shooting, or “roughing up” suspect
  • Pursuing baseless charges against a defendant

Police are generally subject to the same kind of professional hierarchy that can impact abuse cases involving schools [link to Sexual Abuse by School Employees page] and the clergy [link to Sexual Abuse by Clergy page]. This means officer misconduct is often masked or denied by superiors. In fact, certain departments have been known to plant evidence, illegally obtain incriminating testimony, and even charge the injured party with assault on a peace officer or resisting arrest. Many alleged suspects have gone to prison or lost their lives based on nothing more than an intentional or accidental mistake.

Consequences of Police Misconduct

When law enforcement officers violate constitutional rights, they are liable for the resulting damage. Private claims are permitted to pierce the general shield of legal immunity that protects many government entities, allowing victims to recover compensation for their injuries. Every traffic stop, detention, and arrest must be supported by probable cause. Police cannot enter a dwelling or seize personal property without a warrant. If officers fail to inform suspects of their right to remain silent or the right to legal counsel, the resulting incriminating testimony is not admissible at trial. The failure to respect a suspect’s invocation of Miranda rights has the same effect. Whether officers mistakenly harm people through excessive force or violence, victims are entitled to personal injury and wrongful death damages from the perpetrating officers and the police department or municipality. Damages may include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other amounts.

Recovering Compensation from Police

If you were injured or deprived of your rights by police, contact the South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Lofton & Lofton today. For over 25 years, we have defended the rights of victims injured by the negligent or intentional acts of others. We are also seasoned criminal defense attorneys who have extensive knowledge of the strategies police may use to challenge incriminating evidence or get charges dismissed. Call (843) 722-6319 for a consultation or contact us online.