Police misconduct is becoming more and more common, it seems. When it occurs, it is important to report it, but many people do not even know where to start. It does not help that after experiencing police misconduct, people often lose trust in law enforcement and do not believe they are there to help them. Fortunately, that is not always the case, and even when it is, there are still people dedicated to protecting the rights of others. Below, our Ohio police misconduct lawyer outlines how to report an incident and why it is important.
Reporting police misconduct, such as wrongful imprisonment, is extremely important. First and foremost, filing a report can help prevent others from experiencing it. Although most police officers are law-abiding people who truly want to serve and protect their community, some officers habitually engage in misconduct. If it has happened to you, there is always the chance that it will happen to someone else. Reporting protects others and helps ensure no one else will suffer harm.
If a police officer has violated your constitutional rights, you may also be able to file a lawsuit to claim damages. You can pursue damages for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. However, proving a police misconduct lawsuit is never easy. You will need strong evidence, and showing that you have filed a report about the incident is an important part of that. By filing a report, you strengthen any future claim you may file.
To report police misconduct, you should first contact the law enforcement agency that was involved. You should submit the complaint in writing to the head of the law enforcement agency, or to the chief of police. You should then also send a copy of the complaint to the Internal Affairs Division of the law enforcement agency.
It is important to note that every city has its own procedure for reporting police misconduct. For example, in Columbus, you must report police misconduct to the Columbus Division of Police. There are many ways to do this, including by phone, mail, or in person. In Toledo, though, complaints are filed with the Internal Affairs Bureau, and they can only be made in person.
Although it is important to report police misconduct, state law makes it illegal to file a report. Anyone who makes false allegations of police misconduct can face charges of a misdemeanor of the first degree, which could result in serious penalties. A conviction can result in up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
At Marshall Forman & Schlein, our Ohio police misconduct lawyer understands the losses you will face when your rights are violated. This is why we are so dedicated to helping you make things right. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about the legal options available to you.
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