Protect Yourself From Colorado Police Misconduct
In high-stress situations, sometimes an officer of the law steps over the line. It’s important to know what your rights are and what steps you should take if you are a victim of police misconduct. The best way to keep your community, your law enforcement officers, and yourself safe is to quickly and accurately report police misconduct to the proper authorities. Make sure you are familiar with the below steps.
Write everything down. This step is vital. Make sure you do this as soon as possible following the incident. It’s easy to forget small details over time, and there’s no way to know which facts will make a difference later on. Describe everything that took place from the very beginning of the police encounter to the end. Try to quote other witnesses, the officer, or yourself word for word, if possible. Be specific about details such as the location and the time of day. Replay the events slowly in your head to help remember as many details as you can.
Also include witness’s names and contact information and the officers’ names, physical descriptions, and badge numbers. If necessary, be prepared to return to the scene of the incident in search of possible witnesses. Doing so may also help jog your memory about other important details.Make sure that you include only the facts that you’re sure about; inaccuracies can strip away the credibility of your report.
Contact an attorney. This step is essential if you were arrested following the incident. Even if you were not arrested, it is highly recommended that you speak with a Boulder lawyer to make sure that you are protected.
Victims of police misconduct are often vigorously prosecuted in order to gain leverage in case the victim files a lawsuit. If you’re charged with a crime in Colorado in this manner, you need a good Boulder criminal defense attorney immediately. Demonstrate you are a competent defendant by having the materials mentioned earlier on hand and making a point of being calm and well-organized.
Whether you were charged with a crime following the incident or not, you may still want to pursue a civil suit against the police department. An attorney can help you determine whether you have strong enough evidence to proceed.
File a police misconduct report. This step cannot begin until all criminal charges and civil actions have been resolved. If you file a police misconduct report too early, it will hurt your chances in court by revealing too much information to the police. However, if you weren’t charged with a crime and you’re not suing, file the complaint right away.
The materials you prepared right after the incident will form the body of your complaint. You’ll be glad you wrote it down back then, because you might be filing your complaint weeks or months later. Before sending your complaint, be sure to make copies and place them in a secure location. Send your complaint by certified mail so the police cannot deny having received it. You should also send copies to your local ACLU and NAACP chapters.
Keep in mind that your complaint may not receive a response, but it provides important documentation that can be used to illustrate a pattern of misconduct. For more information on what a Boulder, Colorado attorney can do for you in this situation, call the law offices of Phil Clark. Phil Clark’s experience and knowledge means he can provide you with the protection you need. Read more information on Boulder law firms or contact an attorney now for a free consultation.