Police Misconduct Claims in Michigan
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed May 20, 2019
The failure to comply with an order from the police can result in resisting arrest charges and generally isn't a good idea. Police officers, by law, can restrain and subdue a person resisting arrest. However, there are situations where police act beyond the scope of their authority, such using excessive force or harassing civilians without cause. Although it's not always easy to define, police misconduct is illegal under federal civil rights law and may result in civil charges as well.
Police misconduct can include the use of excessive force, making an unlawful arrest, wrongfully imprisoning an individual, racial profiling, or performing an unlawful search and seizure (which violates the Fourth Amendment). Police have a certain amount of "qualified immunity," as long as their actions don't violate specific individual rights, which raises the bar for plaintiffs wishing to file police misconduct claims.
The following sections will help you understand what constitutes police misconduct in Michigan and how claims are filed.
Michigan Police Misconduct Claims at a Glance
It's important to know what your rights are in the event the police exceed their authority, but it's not always easy understanding statutory language. That's why we've provided the following "legalese-free" summary of how police misconduct claims are handled in Michigan.
Michigan Compiled Laws:
When a Law-Enforcement Officer May Make an Arrest
A peace officer, without a warrant, may arrest a person in any of the following situations (see the statute for a complete list):
When a Law-Enforcement Officer May Use Force
An officer may use deadly force when they reasonably perceive there is an imminent threat of likely death to the officer or another citizen.
Other than Deadly Force:
Any use of force by peace officers must be “objectively reasonable” in context of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.
Interference with Civil Rights
Federal code states that "Whoever, under color of any law, …willfully subjects any person…to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States [shall be guilty of a crime]."
Such deprivation of rights may include (but isn't limited to):
The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) investigates police misconduct claims and must prove the following elements in order to get a conviction:
To file a complaint alleging criminal violations by a peace officer, contact your local FBI office and send a written complaint to:
Civil Claims for Police Misconduct
To file a complaint alleging police misconduct, you may contact the corresponding law enforcement agency or the county prosecuting attorney with jurisdiction over the agency.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- Michigan Law - Information about Michigan statutes, including those pertaining to criminal, family, employment, and injury law.
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Police Misconduct Claims in Michigan: Related Resources
- Police Misconduct and Civil Rights
- Have Your Civil Rights Been Violated?
- Excessive Force and Police Brutality
- Michigan Resisting Arrest Laws
Need to File a Police Misconduct Claim in Michigan? Get Legal Help Now
If your civil rights have been violated by a police officer exceeding their authority, then you may want to file a police misconduct claim. These are complicated, though, and you'll likely need professional legal help. Get started today by contacting an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney near you.
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