What rights do I have against police harassment? 34 Answers as of July 09, 2013

My 18 year old son has never been arrested, but lately we have had some shootings around our area. Now it is like every time he walk town the street they stop him and search him never finding anything! We are so sick of this. Do we have rights?

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Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
The police have the right to stop and inquire and there is nothing that you can do legally. You can complain to the captain of the department or a lieutenant, but they are not likely to care and you make make thinks worse. The police are not allowed to search him without probable cause, but they do it all the time. The only punishment that the courts impose on the police is to suppress any evidence that is the product of an illegal stop, search, or arrest.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/5/2011
Ramsell & Associates LLC
Ramsell & Associates LLC | Donald Ramsell
You may seek an injunction against these tactics in court. You will likely have to hire a lawyer to help. You may also wish to complain to the local mayor.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/1/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
Thank you for your inquiry You should have the case reviewed by an attorney who files suit against police for civil rights violations. A video of one of the stops would be helpful. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/1/2011
Michael J. Gardiner, Attorney at Law | Michael Gardiner
You know you do, but the police also have to take care of the community. Keep a log of each encounter. Always ask why you arebeingdetained and record it in your log. this information can be provided to State or Federal lawenforcementor watchdog groups or used by your attorney.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 9/1/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
Police harassment is a difficult thing to prove. If the police have reasonable cause to believe a person is a suspect in an investigation, they may stop him and check. If you feel they are performing this check without the required reasonable suspicion, then the first place you should go is to the chain of command in the department. Usually the chief, or other supervisor will make inquiries into the actions of the officers involved to see if they are justified in their actions. If the results show the officers are acting appropriately, you do not have much to gain by pursuing it.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/31/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    Yes, you have rights. The police are only supposed to conduct a search or pat-down under certain circumstances, i.e, if they have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. If you believe your son may be targeted by the police because of his race, you may have grounds for a potential civil complaint or may be able to file a complaint against the particular officer through their administrative process. I'd recommend you contact a civil rights attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Yes. Begin with filing a complaint. Hire a civil rights attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes. Hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    You do have civil rights to be free from unlawful searches and seizures under both the federal and state constitutions. You should contact an attorney who practices both criminal defense and civil rights law to discuss your case in confidence, as you may be able to bring an action to prevent this kind of harassment.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    He has the fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches. Unless he is on parole or probation the police need reasonable cause for the search. An attorney can help you with this problem.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Technically, you have rights. However, you may have to engage a lawyer to put the department on notice that if they continue the same way, you may sue them.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    If I were you I would make a complaint to the police chief or precinct commanding officer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Your son should not be harassed for no reason. You may wish to speak with a commanding officer or the chief about the problem. If that does not help, then you should speak with a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    I suggest that you make a complaint with the Internal Affairs Division of the law enforcement agency involved.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Contact an attorney that deals in civil rights and maybe the police can be sued to stop the harrasment.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    The Grundy Law Firm, PLLC
    The Grundy Law Firm, PLLC | Elvin Grundy
    Contact the City of Phoenix Professional Standards Bureau with complaints and commendations as to local law enforcement activities. You can call them on nights and weekends. Contacting the PSB with your law enforcement experiences only enhances our community policing efforts, and works to protect the integrity and dignity of our neighborhoods.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law
    Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law | Tim Paynter
    You have the right to live your lives without unreasonable searches and seizures. Your son should not be constantly stopped and searched. If he is then you should contact an attorney to consider options. Ask your son to take badge numbers and names and start documenting the harassment.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/2/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Law enforcement does not have the legal right to stop and search anyone without probable cause that a crime has been committed. If this is happening you need to document the events and complain to the head of your local law enforcement in writing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    File a complaint with I/A -That is the Internal Affairs Department section of the police department. Youwant to do this for TWO reasons: it MIGHT get a superior to tell them to lay off; Also, if someone else gets charged for a crime and files what is called a "Pitchess Motion" (discovering the cop's history of lying, brutality, etc) your complaint will have to be revealed to this defendant and his attorney might use it in his case. ALWAYS report police abuse and tell all your friends to do the same. In some jurisdictions ifa cop gets enough complaints against him which the I/A finds are legitimate he can be sanctioned and even fired.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Yeah, you have rights. You could complain to the offending police agency, but I am not certain that it would resolve your problems and may make it worse. If you are capable, I would suggest that you relocate from the enighborhood where you live to somewhere where no one knows you. You and your son may not be safe in the neighborhood where you live and it might be best just to leave.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    If the police are stopping him without probable cause they are harassing him. Contact the Internal Affairs Department to file a complaint.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Fabian & Associates, Inc.
    Fabian & Associates, Inc. | Stephen G. Fabian, Jr.
    You have the right to sue them.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 7/9/2013
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Absolutely. Your son has a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Next time he is asked to be searched, he simply needs to tell the officers no. This cannot be used against him in any manner and once the police realize they'll either need a warrant or probable cause to search your son, the searches should stop.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    The police are allowed to stop a pedestrian and ask for identification and search the individual if they have any suspicion of wrongdoing. This is for their safety. The complete rules about a "stop and frisk" are actually complex. But, is it worth the inconvenience if it helps them get the guns off the street and keeps your Son from being the next victim? Aren't you glad that the police are cracking down? I would be very fearful for my two boys if I were in your shoes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You can file a complaint with the police department. If they are stopping and searching him without legal justification, you can pursue a civil rights claim and a lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    That's not a criminal law question. It is a civil rights question.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    The short answer is yes. From a practical standpoint is it not always possible to do anything about police harassment. I would suggest getting an attorney to send a letter on your son's behalf to the police department to put them on notice that further ab use of your son's civil rights will not be tolerated. If you document the harassment well, at some point you may have enough for a lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    I don't know the facts of your son's situation. He may be a "person of interest". Your best bet is to retain the services of an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes. Everyone has the 4th Amendment right to be free from search and seizure. Unless the cops have a warrant or probable cause, they cannot search your son without his consent. Makes sure your son knows to say, "I do not consent," or else it will just be treated as implied consent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    Get tort or civil rights attorney and sue in state or federal court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It sounds to me like you possibly live in a high crime area, or that your son may have had some prior criminal activity, or gang affiliations that you may not be aware of. The police generally do not pick on normal citizens, but I do not know all the facts or circumstances surrounding this, or any other incident that your son may have been involved in. Under the law, the police have a right to stop a person, in order to question him. If indeed your son is just minding his own business and behaving the law, and the police do pick on him unreasonably, you could go to the chief of the department, or the mayor of your town, and discuss your concerns. If nobody is willing to help you, perhaps you could talk to the town attorney or county prosecutor about the problem. Of course, you could file a harassment lawsuit against the police, but this gets very expensive, as you will need an attorney who practices this type of law, which is civil in nature, not criminal. Discuss this with your son, tell him to level with you about his past contacts with the police, before accusing the police of harassment.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    It depends on the reasons as to why they are stopping and searching him. Since no facts are given, it is impossible to determine. The police are justified in certain instances to do a brief detention and search, but only under limited circumstances that are permitted by the Fourth Amendment. If you believe you are being harassed, then file a complaint with the police department and document every incident that occurs. If it keep persisting, then you should consider having a consultation with an attorney experienced in doing civil rights suits.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Nelson Law Offices
    Nelson Law Offices | Greg Nelson
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/9/2013
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