What specific restrictions are placed on police officers by the Bill of Rights?

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The  Bill of Rights does not specifically address restrictions which apply to Police Officers; but it does provide certain rights to all individuals which any agent of the government, including the police, cannot violate. Among these are:

The right against self incrimination provided by the Fifth Amendment. The warnings prescribed...

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The  Bill of Rights does not specifically address restrictions which apply to Police Officers; but it does provide certain rights to all individuals which any agent of the government, including the police, cannot violate. Among these are:

The right against self incrimination provided by the Fifth Amendment. The warnings prescribed in Miranda vs. Arizona("you have the right to remain silent) are pursuant to this provision of the Fifth Amendment, as if one speaks, he may unwittingly become a witness against himself.

  • The right of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, as provided under the Fourth Amendment. The operative word, of course, is "reasonable," and has been the matter of considerable debated and judicial discourse. In sum, however, the police must act "reasonably" in searching premises, including the necessity of obtaining a warrant if practicable.
  • The right against arbitrary arrest is also protected under the Fourth Amendment. There must be probable cause that one has committed a crime. One cannot be arrested simply for "looking suspicious."
  • Although not part of the Bill of Rights, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution has been construed to extend most (but not all) of the protections of the Bill of Rights against violation by state officials. Those enumerated above are particularly protected.

 

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