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A recent incident in the Pennsylvania suburb of Chadds Ford highlights the important role of codes of conduct for police officers throughout the state. According to a complaint, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) engaged in racial profiling when two white officers trailed and pulled over a black man who lived in the area for a minor traffic violation. The officers informed the individual that they began to trail him based on their knowledge of recent break-ins in the area. After the patrol car began using its sirens to signal for the car to pull over, the resident waited for a minute to pull over in an area he considered safe. When he pulled over to the side of the road, he was accosted by police officers who yelled, put him in handcuffs, and questioned his family members in the car. Eventually the black resident was released with a traffic ticket.
The resident’s racial bias complaint against the state police officers highlights the need for law enforcement officials to adhere to codes of conduct designed to reduce discriminatory behaviors. Records indicate that in the last three years, there have been over 30 complaints of racial bias filed against the Pennsylvania State Police. None of these complaints has been sustained by the Department and every accused officer was subsequently “cleared” of wrongdoing. This uniformity of outcome raises grave suspicions about the process by which the PSP handles complaints about the officers.
Following the Chadds Ford incident, Pennsylvania State Police confirmed the actions of the state police officers violated the department’s internal rules of conduct. The involved state troopers failed to follow established protocol, which could have deescalated the situation after first approaching the black resident. Making comments including “stop the black nonsense” in response to the man’s explanation that he was concerned about his own safety and the failure to properly record the incident were additional violations of the state police code of conduct.
An appropriate code of police conduct, when followed, can prevent incidents like the one in Chadds Ford. Unfortunately, not every officer follows even basic protocol, leading to rising tensions between the police and the public. When encounters with civilians take a turn for the worse, police use of force can escalate to deadly levels.
When an individual is a victim of police brutality or racial profiling, their civil rights under the law are being violated. Police departments can be held liable for illegal acts of police brutality or racial profiling resulting from a failure to adequately supervise or train police officers. Victims of police misconduct often are entitled to compensation for their medical costs, counseling expenses, lost wages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages. By filing a civil lawsuit against the legally responsible parties, victims can take the first step toward obtaining justice.
If you or a loved one was the victim of police misconduct, the experienced Pennsylvania police brutality lawyers at Williams Cedar are here to assist you. Our dedicated civil rights attorneys can help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey to serve racial profiling victims throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and nationwide. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 215-557-0099 or contact us online.