Police Corruption and Misconduct (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The violation of state and federal laws or the violation of individuals' constitutional rights by police officers; also when police commit crimes for personal gain.
Police misconduct and corruption are abuses of police authority. Sometimes used interchangeably, the terms refer to a wide range of procedural, criminal, and civil violations. Misconduct is the broadest category. Misconduct is "procedural" when it refers to police who violate police department rules and regulations; "criminal" when it refers to police who violate state and federal laws; "unconstitutional" when it refers to police who violate a citizen's CIVIL RIGHTS; or any combination thereof. Common forms of misconduct are excessive use of physical or DEADLY FORCE, discriminatory arrest, physical or verbal harassment, and selective enforcement of the law.
Police corruption is the abuse of police authority for personal gain. Corruption may involve profit or another type of material benefit gained illegally as a consequence of the officer's authority. Typical forms of corruption include BRIBERY, EXTORTION, receiving or fencing stolen goods, and selling drugs. The term also refers to patterns of misconduct within a given police department or special unit, particularly where offenses are repeated with the acquiescence of superiors or through other ongoing failure to correct them.
(The entire section is 2612 words.)
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