Law enforcement is meant to serve and protect the people, but all too often they do not. If you are the victim of police misconduct or violence, it’s important to stand up for yourself and others. Here are some steps that you can take after facing police misconduct:
Evidence is one of the most important things you can have when reporting police misconduct. In Georgia, officers have qualified immunity, which means that victims must prove any misconduct, breaking of the law or rights violation or the case may not be successful.
- Get video on your phone if possible
- Look for surrounding security footage
- Look for witnesses
Write everything down in your own words. Do this as soon as you can after the incident to get the most accurate picture of what happened. Be sure to include any and all details that you can, including time, location, description of the officer and the events, what was said, and if possible, the badge or car number.
Talk to an attorney
Whether you are under arrest or not, the smartest move is to always get legal assistance. Police misconduct cases are difficult to work through and prove, so you need people who know what they are doing on your side. Remember that if you are under arrest, you have the right to consult with an attorney before answering questions.
Report the incident
Once you resolve any charges, you will be able to file a police misconduct report. There are multiple ways that you can report the issue:
- File a complaint with your local law enforcement and Police Chief
- File a complaint with the Internal Affairs office connected to the applicable police department
- File a complaint with the Civilian Review Board
- Voice concerns at meetings for City Council, County Commissioner and Public Safety
Get background on the officers
Request to see the public background histories of the police officers involved. Then, ask to see the incident report from your encounter with the officer
Contact your representatives
Talk to your representatives about the misconduct that you have experienced. Encourage them to address the issue of those officers and wider problems in the department that you see.
Your attorney will be able to help you through the process of reporting misconduct and advocating for your rights. You deserve to live somewhere that you feel safe and protected.