Criminal Prosecution

Departmental investigators and local prosecutors examine the use of serious and deadly force in light of state statutes on homicide, manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and lesser crimes having serious implications.

Federal civil rights statutes include criminal charges for violating 18 U.S.C. Section 241 (Conspiracy to violate constitutional or federal statutory rights) and 18 U.S.C. Section 242 (Deprivation of rights under color of law).

Civil liability:

42 U.S.C. Section 14141 is a federal statute that makes it unlawful for state or local law enforcement agencies to allow officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or U.S. laws.

Civil litigation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violating a person’s constitutional rights (where the inquiry will be whether the force used to seize the person was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment) and various state torts (assault, battery, negligence, recklessness, wrongful death).

Administrative Proceedings:

An officer may be subject to administrative proceedings to determine whether certain conduct and actions were in compliance with departmental policy and directives and could result in termination, suspension with or without pay, demotion, or other sanctions.



* March 2017, by Stephen Thayer on behalf of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. This document is provided as a summary overview. Contact your attorney for detailed guidance.  Also, refer to related documents on our website,