Types of Police Misconduct

Legal law concept. Silhouette of handcuffs with The Statue of Justice on backside with the flashing red and blue police lights at foggy background. Selective focus

Most police officers perform their jobs diligently and with respect for the law. But some police officers engage in police misconduct, including police brutality and violating people’s civil rights. As police misconduct has increasingly come into public awareness in recent years, it is important that people know their civil rights, understand different types of police misconduct, and are informed about what to do if they are victims of police misconduct or believe their civil rights have been violated.

If you believe you were a victim of police misconduct or that your civil rights were violated, the police brutality lawyers at Michigan Injury Attorneys can help. We are committed to helping victims of police brutality get the justice they deserve.

What Is Police Misconduct?

Police misconduct occurs when police or other law enforcement officers commit illegal or inappropriate acts. Many types of police misconduct involve violations of federal or state law. But police misconduct can also refer to violations of state or local policies and regulations.

10 Examples of Police Misconduct

There are many types of police misconduct and different ways a law enforcement officer can commit police brutality or otherwise violate a person’s civil rights. Here, we identify ten police misconduct examples.

Excessive Force

Excessive force is a form of police brutality that occurs when a law enforcement officer uses more force than is necessary to gain control or force a suspect to comply. The use of excessive force commonly occurs in situations involving arrest, search and seizure, or investigatory stops. Deciding whether a police officer’s use of force was excessive is often a question for a jury and will depend on why the police officer initiated the arrest and the suspect’s response.

Unlawful Search and Seizure

Unlawful search and seizure occurs when police officers investigate an area without probable cause or a search warrant. The Fourth Amendment protects against illegal search and seizure; however, there are exceptions, such as:

  • Search Incident to Arrest. For their safety, police are authorized to search the area surrounding a suspect when placing someone under arrest.
  • Plain View. Law enforcement officers do not need a warrant if something illegal is in plain view.
  • Consent. Law enforcement officers will often ask a suspect to consent to a search. If the suspect consents, there is no Fourth Amendment violation.
  • Lawful Traffic Stop. Police officers do not need a warrant to perform their duties during a routine traffic stop.

False Arrest

False arrest occurs when police detain someone illegally or without probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. This type of police misconduct commonly arises when a police officer exceeds the scope of their authority.

Planting or Tampering with Evidence

Police officers must follow strict rules and regulations when they investigate and arrest a suspect and collect evidence. Some officers do not faithfully follow these rules and may plant or tamper with evidence to make a conviction more likely. Planting or tampering with evidence can lead to wrongful arrests, convictions, and incarceration, and is a violation of a suspect’s constitutional rights.

Racial Profiling

Racial profiling occurs when police officers wrongfully identify people of color as suspects of a crime due solely to their race. Unfortunately, due to their preconceived notions, some police officers may tend to investigate or arrest people of color more frequently.

Sexual Assault

Law enforcement officers are tasked with protecting public safety. They wield considerable power over vulnerable people. When they exercise that power to coerce people into performing nonconsensual sexual acts, they should be held accountable.

Malicious Prosecution

Malicious prosecution occurs when a prosecutor or law enforcement officer files charges against someone without reasonable proof that they committed a crime. The charges are often filed with the intent of harassing the victim and causing them harm.

Coerced Confession

A coerced confession is an involuntary admission to having committed a crime. A confession can be coerced through psychological manipulation, the use of force, or threatening to use force against the suspect or their family.

Lying Under Oath

Lying under oath are other types of police misconduct that can lead to wrongful prosecution or wrongful conviction. As part of their duties, police officers often make sworn statements through affidavits and in-court testimony. If they knowingly lie under oath to prosecute a suspect or secure a conviction, they may have committed police misconduct.


Police officers may have the opportunity to steal from a victim or a suspect while performing their duties. They can steal money, drugs, or other property and convert it for their personal use.

Michigan Injury Attorneys Helps Victims of Police Misconduct

Victims of police misconduct may be wrongfully convicted of a crime, suffer the loss of money or property, or even be injured or killed. At Michigan Injury Attorneys, we know that victims of police misconduct can suffer physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you believe a police officer violated your constitutional rights, you may have a claim for police misconduct against an officer, a police department, or other people involved in the law enforcement system. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Michigan Injury Attorneys is based in Troy, Michigan, and proudly serves people throughout the state.

Categories: Police Brutality