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Examples Of Police Harassment

12 Scary Examples Of Police Misconduct Arrest

Have you ever been approached by a police officer who acted in an inappropriate or threatening manner? If so, you’re not alone. Every day, people across the U.S. are subjected to police misconduct, which can include verbal abuse, excessive force, and racial profiling. While it is of utmost importance that citizens find alliance with, and come to trust, their law enforcement agencies, unfortunately, this type of misconduct is all too common, and victims often have little recourse.In this article, we will showcase12 scary examples of police misconduct or examples of police harassment!

George Floyd

Among the cases the most well known examples of police harassment was the death of George Floyd. The sad incident saw how Mr. Floyd was held down and pinned beneath three police officers, through video footage and eyewitness testimony, in spite of him begging for his life.

According to video footage of the incident, the police officers violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department a number of times. Officer Derek Chauvin was caught on video with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, even after Mr. Floyd lost consciousness.

In consequence, the officers were fired from their respective police departments and charged with various crimes, including second-degree murder. The end result? All officers involved were convicted of crime and sentences to prison.

George FloydPhilando Castile

In this example of police harassment, Philando Castile was driving with his girlfriend and daughter through Falcon Heights, Minnesota, when Officer Jeronimo Yanez initiated a traffic stop.

Mr. Castile informed the officer that he had a legal firearm in his vehicle but agreed not to reach for the firearm. He told the officer he would reach for his identification, but when Mr. Castile reached for his identification, Officer Yanez fired 7 shots into the car, resulting in the demise of Mr. Castile in front of his child and girlfriend.

Officer Yanez was acquitted of charges of manslaughter.

Walter Scott

Walter Scott was a black motorist in North Charleston, South Carolina, who was unarmed at the time of the incident. The police officer, Michael T. Slager, stopped Mr. Scott on account of a broken taillight. After a traffic stop, Mr. Scott was seen getting out of his car and fleeing on foot.

The two struggled over the officer’s taser, after which Mr. Scott was seen running away from Officer Slager, unarmed. Officer Slager shot at Mr. Scott’s back 8 times.

In an alleged attempt to plant evidence, Officer Slager could be seen dropping his taser beside Mr. Scott’s body. The Officer in question is presently serving 20 years in prison on charges of murder.

Rodney King

One of the most significant examples of police harassment is an incident that dates back to 1991, and the victim was named Rodney King. King was driving with friends through Los Angeles when 2 officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop for speeding. However, King refused to stop as he feared a DUI charge after drinking earlier in the night.

Following an eight-mile chase, police officers cornered Mr. King and attempted to arrest him and his friends. Mr. King resisted the arrest attempt.

The officers on the scene tasered Mr. King twice, which knocked him to the ground. When he tried to stand up, he was struck to the ground by a baton. The police officers continued to strike Mr. King until they handcuffed him. He was kicked a total of seven times and hit with a baton 33 times.

John Spencer

John Spencer was a suspect in a homicide case being investigated by the New York State Police. The officer in charge believed that the state did not have enough evidence to prosecute Mr. Spencer, so he, along with another officer, lifted Mr. Spencer’s fingerprints from items he touched during booking. They then added the fingerprints to evidence cards for prints found at the crime scene.

The charge of fabricating evidence resulted in a prison sentence for the officer in question.

Eric Garner

New York Police Department officers were attempting to arrest Mr. Eric Garner for selling illegal cigarettes. They tackled Mr. Garner to the ground before one of the officers used an illegal chokehold on Mr. Garner

Mr. Garner could be heard repeatedly stating that he could not breathe. Despite his pleas, the officer did not release him from the chokehold. As a result, Mr. Garner died.

The officer was fired from the force for his actions.

The Case Of Sexual Assault With NYPD Officers

Two former NYPD detectives, Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, have resigned amid a disturbing case in New York City. They face numerous criminal charges after allegedly raping a teenager in their custody. The incident occurred during a traffic stop when the officers arrested an 18-year-old on drug possession charges, and she was reportedly sexually assaulted while handcuffed inside a police van. This troubling episode has not only led to criminal charges but has also opened the possibility of a significant lawsuit, as the victim accuses the officers of grave misconduct.

This case serves as a stark example of police harassment, illustrating a severe abuse of power and authority by law enforcement. The officers’ alleged actions not only breached the public’s trust in the police force but also violated the teenager’s fundamental rights and dignity. The fact that these actions occurred while the victim was in custody highlights the pressing need for accountability, transparency, and comprehensive reform within law enforcement agencies.

Rachelle Jackson

When Ms. Rachelle Jackson witnessed a traffic accident, she ran to the burning car and pulled one of the two Chicago police officers to safety. She was assisting the injured officer when other officers arrived. The officers accused Ms. Jackson of stealing the injured officer’s weapon.

Ms. Jackson was arrested and held in jail for ten months. During that time, she was subjected to repeated threats and coerced into signing a statement.

A judge dismissed the case when it came to trial. Ms. Jackson sued the officers and the City of Chicago for malicious prosecution, coercive questioning, and false arrest. She was awarded $7.7 million.

The Case Of Witness Tampering And Theft

Officer Anthony Maldonado stole a large amount of cash that he noticed when he pulled over a driver in Maui, Hawaii. The officer tried to bribe the victim when the victim reported the theft to the police. Eventually, Office Maldonado was fired and sentenced to two years in prison for theft and tampering with a witness.

Daniel Shaver Execution By Mesa Police

In 2016, Daniel Leetin Shaver from Granbury, Texas, was fatally shot by police officer Philip Brailsford in a hotel in Mesa, Arizona. U.S. Shaver was unarmed at the time. Not only was Shaver on the ground with his hands behind his back when police were yelling commands at him, but he was also apologizing profusely. Crying, and begging the police officer not to shoot him, Shaver was murdered by the police officer. The worst part? The entire incident was caught on the police officer’s camera.

According to reports, the officer was responding to a report that a rifle had been pointed out of the window of Shaver’s hotel room. Said rifle was later found to be a pellet gun.

During the incident, Daniel Shaver had been subjected for a number of minutes to a long string of confusing commands from Police Sergeant Charles Langley. In the video, Shaver was then instructed to crawl to the police. During this time, Mr. Shaver tried to pull up his falling pants and was shot five times by the officer.

The Case Of Cops Stealing Over $225,000

In 2013, as part of an investigation into illegal gambling back, Fresno police brought a search warrant and raided properties owned by 2 businessmen Micah Jessop and Brittan Ashjian, who run an ATM business.

According to the police, they seized $50,000, in spite of the fact that neither businessman was charged with a crime.

However, as per Mr. Jessop and Mr. Ashjian, the officers confiscated a total of $151,000 in cash and another $125,000 in rare coins and “stole the difference” between those amounts and what was officially listed.

What is Police Misconduct?

The term ‘police misconduct is an umbrella term covering a number of actions by police officers and law enforcement agents. This inappropriate conduct violates police guidelines for performing their duties or breaks one or more laws.

Police misconduct may consist of witness tampering, police brutality, malicious prosecution, false arrest, assault, tampering with evidence, theft, coerced confessions, and many other actions. Below, we will highlight the different types of police misconduct and examples of police harassment.

False Arrest

A false arrest occurs when a person is apprehended by law enforcement without the existence of probable cause or a valid warrant. This type of police misconduct is a direct violation of a citizen’s Fourth Amendment constitutional right, which protects them from unreasonable searches and seizures.


  • Wrongful Detention. An individual being handcuffed and taken into custody without any evidence linking them to a crime.
  • Mistaken Identity. Police arresting someone based solely on a vague resemblance to a suspect’s description without concrete evidence connecting them to the crime.
  • Arrests Without a Warrant. Law enforcement taking someone into custody without having obtained a proper arrest warrant from a judge.

A false arrest is not only illegal but also has significant consequences for the person detained, including emotional distress, damage to their reputation, and potential harm to their future prospects. It can also result in legal actions against the arresting officers and the police department for violating an individual’s constitutional rights.

Falsifying Evidence

Falsifying evidence encompasses the act of intentionally presenting presently false, fabricated, or tainted evidence in a legal proceeding with the criminal intent to manipulate the outcome of that proceeding. This form of misconduct is a grave violation of the justice system, undermining the integrity of the legal process.


  • Planting Weapons or Drugs. Law enforcement officers may plant weapons or illegal substances on an individual during an arrest to incriminate them falsely.
  • Altered Testimony. Police officers altering or fabricating witness statements or their own reports to create a false narrative.
  • Withholding Exculpatory Evidence. Prosecutors failing to disclose evidence that could exonerate the defendant, a practice known as “Brady violations.”

Well-Known Case Example: The Central Park Five (1989):

One of the most notorious cases involving the falsification of evidence is the Central Park Five case. In 1989, five African American and Hispanic teenagers were wrongfully convicted of raping a white female jogger in Central Park, New York City. The convictions were based on confessions obtained under duress and later recanted. It was revealed that the confessions were coerced through psychological pressure and manipulation by the police.

DNA evidence eventually exonerated the five individuals, and a serial rapist’s confession and DNA matched the crime. The case highlighted the devastating consequences of falsifying evidence and the importance of adhering to strict ethical and legal standards in law enforcement.

Falsifying evidence not only undermines the pursuit of justice but also erodes public trust in the legal system. Those responsible for such actions can face criminal charges, and their misconduct may lead to the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of innocent individuals.

Coerced Confession

A coerced confession refers to a confession obtained by law enforcement through various tactics, such as persuasion, intimidation, or other forms of psychological coercion. This type of misconduct can occur due to procedural errors and leads to a person admitting guilt for a crime they did not commit, which is a grave miscarriage of justice.


  • False Promises. Police officers may promise leniency or better treatment in exchange for a confession, leading the suspect to falsely admit to a crime.
  • Threats and Intimidation. Law enforcement may use threats of violence, harm to loved ones, or prolonged questioning to pressure a suspect into confessing.
  • Deceptive Interrogation Techniques. Officers using manipulative tactics like false evidence or misleading statements to make the suspect believe that confessing is their only way out.

Well-Known Case Example: The Norfolk Four (1997):

The case of the Norfolk Four is a tragic example of coerced confessions. In 1997, four U.S. Navy sailors were wrongfully convicted of rape and murder in Norfolk, Virginia. Their confessions were obtained after hours of intense and coercive police interrogations. Later, DNA evidence exonerated them, and another man, Omar Ballard, who had a history of sexual violence, was linked to the crime through DNA.

False Imprisonment

Kalief Browder

False imprisonment occurs when a law enforcement officer intentionally restricts an individual’s freedom of movement within an area without legal authority, justification, or the person’s consent. This is a serious violation of an individual’s civil rights and can lead to legal consequences for the officer involved.


  • Unlawful Detention. Police detaining a person without a valid reason or legal basis for doing so.
  • Unauthorized House Arrest. Officers confining an individual to their own home without a proper legal warrant or justification.
  • Unlawful Restraint. Using excessive force to physically restrain someone, preventing them from leaving a particular location.

Well-Known Case Example: The Case of Kalief Browder (2010):

Kalief Browder’s case is a tragic example of false imprisonment. In 2010, at the age of 16, Browder was arrested in New York City for allegedly stealing a backpack. Unable to make bail, he spent three years in pretrial detention at the notorious Rikers Island jail, much of it in solitary confinement. Browder was never convicted of the alleged crime, and the charges were eventually dropped.

His story shed light on the problems of excessive bail, long pretrial detention, and the detrimental effects of false imprisonment on individuals, including severe psychological trauma. Tragically, Kalief Browder took his own life in 2015, further emphasizing the devastating consequences of false imprisonment.

Police Perjury

Police perjury occurs when a law enforcement officer provides false testimony or deliberately lies in court proceedings to strengthen a case against a defendant they believe to be guilty. This form of misconduct undermines the integrity of the justice system and erodes public trust in law enforcement.


  • Fabricated Witness Statements. An officer falsely claims to have witnessed the defendant committing a crime or having evidence incriminating the defendant.
  • Misrepresentation of Evidence. Law enforcement may lie about the chain of custody of evidence, the circumstances of an arrest, or the conduct of the defendant during the arrest.
  • Withholding Exculpatory Information. Failing to disclose information that could exonerate the defendant, such as the existence of alternative suspects or evidence pointing to innocence.

Well-Known Case Example: The Rampart Scandal (1990s):

The Rampart Scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department is a notable example of police perjury and misconduct. A group of officers from the Rampart Division was involved in corrupt practices, including falsifying evidence and perjury. They planted evidence on suspects, lied in court, and engaged in numerous other illegal activities.

The scandal led to the overturning of numerous convictions, and the exposure of rampant misconduct within the LAPD. More importantly, a significant loss of trust in the department. It serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of police perjury on the justice system and innocent individuals.

Excessive Force (Police Brutality)

This form of police violence includes the use of unjustified force, verbal assault, cause of intentional harassment, mental injury, property damage, or in extreme cases, death. Basically, excessive force is the use of more physical or deadly force than is reasonably necessary in a given situation. It is illegal because it infringes upon a person’s Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.


  • Unjustified Shooting. An officer fatally shooting an unarmed suspect who poses no immediate threat.
  • Brutal Beatings. Officers using excessive force during an arrest, even when the suspect is compliant.

Excessive use of force is illegal and can lead to criminal charges against the officers involved, as well as civil lawsuits for violations of the victim’s constitutional rights.

Illegal Surveillance

Illegal surveillance - Snowden

Photo Copyright: Yuriy Chichkov

Illegal surveillance encompasses the unauthorized use of surveillance methods or technology to monitor an individual or group of individuals without the legal authority to do so, or without obtaining a necessary warrant. This type of misconduct infringes upon an individual’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as their right to privacy.


  • Warrantless Wiretapping. Law enforcement or government agencies intercepting phone calls, text messages, or electronic communications without obtaining the required legal authorization.
  • Covert Camera Installations. Placing hidden cameras in private residences, workplaces, or public spaces without consent or legal justification.
  • Unauthorized GPS Tracking. Tracking an individual’s movements using GPS technology without their knowledge or a valid warrant.

Well-Known Case Example: The NSA Surveillance Program (2000s):

The National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program that came to light in the early 2000s is a prominent example of illegal surveillance. It was revealed that the NSA conducted warrantless wiretaps and data collection on millions of Americans’ communications and internet activities without proper legal authority or individualized warrants.

The program raised significant concerns about the balance between national security and individual privacy, sparking debates about the limits of government surveillance and the need for checks and balances.

Witness Tampering

Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old who was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke on 20 October 2014. Photograph: Courtesy of the family

Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old who was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke on 20 October 2014. Photograph: Courtesy of the family viaGuardian

Witness tampering refers to the unlawful actions taken by police or other individuals to influence or intimidate witnesses involved in legal proceedings. These actions can include the use of excessive force, coercion, threats, or manipulation with the intent of causing witnesses to testify falsely, withhold crucial information, avoid attending court proceedings, or undermine the pursuit of justice.


  • Threats and Intimidation. Law enforcement officers may threaten witnesses with harm to themselves or their loved ones if they provide testimony that contradicts the desired narrative.
  • Withholding Protection. Failing to offer protection to witnesses who fear retaliation for testifying against police officers or other individuals in positions of power.
  • False Promises. Making promises of leniency or protection to witnesses in exchange for testimony that supports the prosecution’s case.

Well-Known Case Example: The Murder of Laquan McDonald (2014):

In the case of Laquan McDonald, a Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The initial police accounts of the incident suggested that McDonald posed a threat and that Van Dyke acted in self-defense. However, video footage contradicted these accounts, showing McDonald walking away from officers when he was shot.

In the aftermath of the shooting, there were allegations of witness tampering within the Chicago Police Department. It was suggested that some officers pressured witnesses to provide false statements that aligned with the official narrative. Eventually, Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder, and several other officers faced disciplinary actions for their involvement.

Racial Profiling

This takes place when police suspect or target a person of a particular race on the basis of assumed characteristics or behaviors of a specific racial or ethnic group. These actions are illegal because they violate the principle of equal protection under the law and can result in civil rights violations.


  • Driving While Black. Police stopping a person of color for minor traffic violations more frequently than white individuals.
  • Stop-and-Frisk. Randomly stopping and searching individuals, often disproportionately targeting people of color.

Unwarranted Arrest

An unwarranted arrest occurs when a member of the police department carries out a search and arrest without a valid search warrant. This means they failed to show probable cause, or sufficient evidence to support the arrest. Why is this important? The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution explicitly limits police powers, preventing searches, property seizures, and arrests without proper legal authority. This constitutional protection is essential to prevent unwarranted intrusions by law enforcement.


  • Arrest Without Probable Cause. Police officers apprehending individuals without concrete evidence or reasonable suspicion that they have committed a crime.
  • No Arrest Warrant. Taking someone into custody without obtaining a proper arrest warrant from a judge when one is required.
  • Unlawful Searches. Conducting searches of individuals or their property without obtaining a search warrant or establishing a clear legal basis for the search.

Well-Known Case Example: The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine:

The “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” doctrine is a legal principle that demonstrates the consequences of unwarranted arrests and unlawful searches. If evidence is obtained as a result of an unlawful arrest or search, it is considered tainted or “poisoned,” and it may be excluded from legal proceedings. This doctrine was prominently applied in the case of Mapp v. Ohio (1961). In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that evidence obtained through an illegal search should be excluded from trial.

This landmark case underscores the importance of adhering to constitutional protections and the exclusionary rule to deter law enforcement from making unwarranted arrests or conducting unlawful searches.

Related Content: Are The Police Tracking Your Vehicle?

8 Tips For Dealing With Police Harassment

Examples of Police Harassment can range from verbal abuse to illegal searches and seizures. If you have been a victim of police harassment, it’s important to know your rights and seek help from harassment attorneys. Whether you have been involved in a car accident or facing criminal charges, it’s crucial to understand your legal options. Below are 8 tips for dealing with law officers who might have violated your rights.

  1. Know your rights.Familiarize yourself with the definition of police harassment and civil rights violations. Educate yourself on reasonable suspicion and illegal searches and seizures.
  2. Stay calm.Do not react aggressively or argue with the police officer. Keep your hands visible and follow their commands.
  3. Document the incident.Take note of the officer’s name, badge number, and patrol car number. Record the time and location of the incident and gather the contact information of any witnesses.
  4. Seek legal help.If you are facing criminal charges or are a victim of police misconduct, hire a criminal defense lawyer or civil rights attorney. They can assist you in filing a civil lawsuit and help you understand Title VI programs and statutes.
  5. Report the incident. File a complaint with the police department’s internal affairs division or your local government. Also, reach out to a police reporter to share your story.
  6. Stay safe.If you feel threatened or unsafe during an encounter with the police, ask for a supervisor or request to speak with an attorney before continuing the interaction.
  7. Avoid making false statements.Do not lie or give false information to the police officer, as this can result in additional criminal charges, such as obstruction of justice.
  8. Preserve evidence.If you believe the police mishandled evidence or tampered with it, document and report it to your harassment lawyer.

Examples Of Police Harassment – Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sexual Misconduct By Law Enforcement Officers A Common Form Of Police Harassment?

Yes, unfortunately, sexual misconduct is a prevalent form of police harassment. In fact, this one of examples of police harassment that can happen during traffic stops, arrests, or other interactions with law enforcement officers.

What Should You Do If You Are A Victim Of Police Harassment?

You should report the incident to the police department’s internal affairs division, hire a harassment lawyer, and file a civil lawsuit. You can also seek help from civil rights attorneys or criminal defense attorneys, depending on your situation.

Jemele Williams
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