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.
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.
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.