How Do I Prove Police Harassment?

Christopher John

To prove police harassment, research the law, analyze your facts, and prepare a complaint. Police harassment is conduct that has no legitimate law enforcement purpose and which may cause a victim to suffer fear or emotional distress. Examples of a police officer harassing a victim include unreasonable questioning, verbal or physical abuse, or illegal searches. It is usually best to hire a lawyer because a layperson is likely to make a mistake, laws are complicated, and you have limited time to file a complaint.

Police that mishandle evidence in order to get a conviction might constitute harassment.
Police that mishandle evidence in order to get a conviction might constitute harassment.

If you decide not to hire a lawyer, begin by conducting legal research on law enforcement harassment and legal procedures. For instance, you must learn how your jurisdiction defines police harassment, who to name as defendants, and how to overcome potential legal defenses. The police officer concerned, the police department, and other agencies are potentially liable for paying damages. If you fail to name the appropriate parties, you may not recover all the damages you are entitled to receive.

A person may feel harassed by police if they are questioned about a crime with no evidence of a connection.
A person may feel harassed by police if they are questioned about a crime with no evidence of a connection.

You must research of the rules of the police department's complaint process, civil court procedure, and local court rules. Understanding these areas will allow you design a civil complaint, conduct discovery, and file motions to prove police harassment. Motions are requests for the court to make an interim ruling such as to allow or disallow the admission of certain evidence. Failing to comply with court rules could result in the judge imposing a fine or some other sanction including throwing out the case entirely. Discovery gives each side in a lawsuit an opportunity to obtain information from the other side.

You need evidence to win a claim of police harassment such as testimony, documents, photographs, videos, or anything else that you may want to present in court. Also, as noted above, an opposing party may object to your evidence to prevent you from presenting it to a jury. A judge decides whether to allow evidence into court. In the U.S., rules of evidence control what type of evidence a party may use. Your legal research should include the rules of evidence to help you argue against objections to your evidence.

After completing your legal research, you must prepare a complaint for police harassment. The complaint contains your allegations against the defendants. Allegations are statements explaining your version of an incident and how it violated the law. You must prove the allegations in court to win your case.

Proving police harassment is not a simple task even for a lawyer. For one thing, the defendants are likely to have several experienced lawyers defending them. Defendants are also likely to raise immunity defenses, which shield the government and its employees — such as police officers — from legal liability. In other words, an immunity defense might prevent you from getting your day in court. Without proper legal representation or legal research, it will be difficult for a layperson to win a case on police harassment.

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Discussion Comments


I am elderly and in bad health. This harassment makes me ill. I was threatened by a detective with criminal charges for reporting to child protective services the abuse of my granddaughter. The child protective service worker is a friend of the abusive mother. She made the case go away, even though there was forensic evidence.

Recently I was dropping off my grandchild per the parenting plan. The mother lives in the county but a city police officer followed me into the subdivision then followed me out. I have been sick with worry that the cop took photos and will alter the date and time.

I believe the mother's attorney has the city in her pocket. I fear I must move away to protect myself.


Go to the chief of police first, then go to the mayor's office and then go to the newspaper. Put it in the paper. Set a trap. Buy some binoculars with a camera included. Bushnell makes some for $60. Set up across from the park and take pictures of son showing police being bad. Also tell the son to stay home and no going out after 7 p.m. Do this for six months. The cops will forget about him. A smart kid stays home at dark and stays out of parks. He doesn't party and guess what? The police don't know who he is.


My son has been searched six times in five months by the Polk County, Florida sheriff's department.

First, they told him it because he was walking on the "wrong" side of the street. Then because he was riding a skateboard on the street. These are a bunch of bogus reasons for a stop and search. Today they stopped him and told him it was because he fits the description of a crime of some houses getting broken into on our street. But they can't produce reports for these alleged break ins.

While doing my investigation, I found nobody on my street has been broken into and one of my neighbors, a 40 year old man, was stopped walking and searched too, a mile from where my son was stopped because he "fit" the description of houses broken into across from where he was stopped. This is bull. They are lying and harassing my son, who is 17.


I have a friend who lives in Owen County and is being harassed by the cops here. My friend has been accused of stealing and selling drugs. I've known this friend for a really long time and that's not him.

He was questioned and his place searched three times and they found nothing. In the county where he lives, the cops there will find something to put you in jail for. They also do a lot of illegal searches. The cops here also threaten people with taking people's kids and their jobs, and there are not many in this county. The police in Kentucky are bullies.


Can the same policeman keep arresting you and putting words on paper you didn't say? It's getting bad in Pensacola, with the same investigating officer keeps arresting my son and piles a bunch of bogus charges on him and I've had enough. How do I stop this? It's spread to other close towns. Now I have a female officer who turned his words he told her in a briefing around on him and he's being charged with bogus mess in another city also. How can I stop all this mess?


I was wondering if the police can show evidence that they are going to use against you in a crime to people other than your attorney, and the states attorney. Would this be a violation of rights if they do? It is not a murder charge or anything where a life was taken. Is evidence public record, meaning anyone can see it? I live in Illinois.

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