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Thread: Can we press charges against police officers when they break the law?

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    In the case that a police officer says something along the lines of:
    "If it did go to court, yeah, it would probably wind up in your favor, but you really don't want it to have to go that far, do you?"
    This is acknowledging that OC is legal, but threatening to arrest you and book you anyway. This is a violation of several laws, but here are the main ones that interest me:

    RCW 9A.36.070
    Coercion.
    (1) A person is guilty of coercion if by use of a threat he compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from, or to abstain from conduct which he has a legal right to engage in.

    (2) "Threat" as used in this section means:

    (a) To communicate, directly or indirectly, the intent immediately to use force against any person who is present at the time; or

    (b) Threats as defined in *RCW 9A.04.110(25) (a), (b), or (c).

    (3) Coercion is a gross misdemeanor.
    [/quote][/b]And

    [/b]RCW 9.62.010
    Malicious prosecution.
    Every person who shall, maliciously and without probable cause therefor, cause or attempt to cause another to be arrested or proceeded against for any crime of which he or she is innocent:
    (1) If such crime be a felony, is guilty of a class C felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not more than five years; and
    (2) If such crime be a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    So here it is in black and white. It is a crime to threaten to arrest you when the cop knows that you haven't broken the law. It's not just unethical, or against procedures. It's a crime.

    How do we go about prosecuting these thugs that think they can subject us toa lengthy processwith the legal system for doing something they don't approve of?

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    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Although I read the original (now deleted post) I don't remember it all. Was there mention of a possiblearrest?
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    There was an implied threat of arrest.

    I'm no expert, but I suspect there is a difference between exceeding authority and committing a crime.

    An assault by a police officer would be actionable by pressing charges, I would think. For example, having clearly no reason for a non-consensual stop, a police officerpunches a stoppee. Or the stop Unrequited experienced in Barnes and Noble where the cop reportedly told him to come outside or something very bad was going to happen. (Personally, I would have gone straight to a magistrate from Barnes and Noble and pressed charges on that one, but that's just me.)

    Whereas, in the middle of anarrest, the same punch may become "excessive force."Against which there may not be a criminal or official oppression statute, leaving only lawsuits as an option.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Thanks Citizen, regarding the statement made by the Officer, it appears that a hypothetical situation is being imposed (IF it went to court), and the second half is a question for the subject.

    I don't see how Expvideo deduces aTHREAT of arrest from apurely hypothetical statement.

    Also to help clarify, Officers do not press charges, nor do citizens. The prosecuting attorney is the only person who FILES charges. An Officer recommends charges by articulating facts in the form of a report.

    One of the big problems with real threats is that usually one person is alleging that they were threatened, and the other is denying threatening. Usually there are two different stories as to what was actually said, anda prosecutor WILL NOT file charges based on hearsay.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    Thanks Citizen, regarding the statement made by the Officer, it appears that a hypothetical situation is being imposed (IF it went to court), and the second half is a question for the subject.

    I don't see how Expvideo deduces aTHREAT of arrest from apurely hypothetical statement.

    Also to help clarify, Officers do not press charges, nor do citizens. The prosecuting attorney is the only person who FILES charges. An Officer recommends charges by articulating facts in the form of a report.

    One of the big problems with real threats is that usually one person is alleging that they were threatened, and the other is denying threatening. Usually there are two different stories as to what was actually said, anda prosecutor WILL NOT file charges based on hearsay.
    I guess I don't understand what you mean by that. It sounds very much like a threat to me, even if it is mearly implied. If I were to say the same thing, I would mean it as a threat, and I can't see how that direct quote would be taken as anything else.

    "If it did go to court, yeah, it would probably wind up in your favor, but you really don't want it to have to go that far, do you?"

    That suggests to me, and I would think that it would suggest to any normal person, that the officer is acknowledging that the act is not illegal, but suggesting that he will attempt to prosecute the citizen anyway, if he continues to do what is bothering the officer.

    Let's look at it in a different light. If I were to be OCing and I told someone that asked me why I was carrying a gun like that "A guy could get himself killed asking questions like that. not saying whether I would, but you don't want to find out,do you?" No I haven't directly threatened him, but I think it's pretty clear that it was meant that way.



    So Let's get to the real issue. Let's get past this particular incident and be more direct. Let's say an officer says "It doesn't matter if it is legal, I'm still arresting you, and we'll see if you can convince a judge". How can we go about prosecuting the hypothetical officer?

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    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    I would hope to God I never hear those words from an Officer. But if that were to happen, and the incident went to court, you would have your opportunity to convince the jury of what had happened. If it was found that there were no legal grounds for the arrest, you would be exonerated. If you could prove that the Officer had said these words, The Prosecutor COULD charge him. Keep in mind that taped conversations are not admissible, and recording a conversation without all the parties consents is illegal.

    Any Officer that would take such actions should not be in Law Enforcement, and probably would not last long, let alone be hired in the first place.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    I would hope to God I never hear those words from an Officer. But if that were to happen, and the incident went to court, you would have your opportunity to convince the jury of what had happened. If it was found that there were no legal grounds for the arrest, you would be exonerated. If you could prove that the Officer had said these words, The Prosecutor COULD charge him. Keep in mind that taped conversations are not admissible, and recording a conversation without all the parties consents is illegal.

    Any Officer that would take such actions should not be in Law Enforcement, and probably would not last long, let alone be hired in the first place.
    Actually that is a common mistake. State v. Flora says that police officers are considered public officers perfoming public duties, therefor their conversations are not considered private. It is legal to record a police officer, because the law only requires that you inform all parties in "private" conversation. Look up State v. Flora, and you'll see what I mean. It very clearly says that a civilian can record a conversation with a police officer without letting the officer know. I'm not trying to be confrontational, I've heard the same thing you're saying from high ranking police officers, but they were wrong, and I think it's in your best interest as an LEO to be aware of this case ruling.

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    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Even if so, if the courts won't accept the recording, how can it help your cause.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    Even if so, if the courts won't accept the recording, how can it help your cause.
    CNN will accept it.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    Even if so, if the courts won't accept the recording, how can it help your cause.
    CNN will accept it.

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    expvideo wrote:
    Johnny Law wrote:
    Even if so, if the courts won't accept the recording, how can it help your cause.
    CNN will accept it.
    If that's what it takes then so be it. I have a personal policy of: act as if wherever you go, you are being voice and video recorded. If you follow this even if someone is actually filming, you have nothing to worry about.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    Johnny Law wrote:
    Even if so, if the courts won't accept the recording, how can it help your cause.
    I don't understand how you think that the recording is inadmissible. Can you cite the court case that states this?

    I do you one better:

    RCW 9.73.050:
    Any information obtained in violation of RCW 9.73.030 or pursuant to any order issued under the provisions of RCW 9.73.040 shall be inadmissible in any civil or criminal case in all courts of general or limited jurisdiction in this state, except with the permission of the person whose rights have been violated in an action brought for damages under the provisions of RCW 9.73.030 through 9.73.080, or in a criminal action in which the defendant is charged with a crime, the commission of which would jeopardize national security.

    Since State v. Flora makes recording law enforcement in their duties legal, this can be used in civil court and criminally.

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    I'm glad Lonnie is on our side.

    He's pretty handy with the legal stuff.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Lonnie

    One day I need to take a trip to your beautiful state, so I can shake your hand.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    Johnny Law wrote:
    If that's what it takes then so be it. I have a personal policy of: act as if wherever you go, you are being voice and video recorded. If you follow this even if someone is actually filming, you have nothing to worry about.
    Unfortunately from what I've seen of the bad open carry encounters, these officers do NOT make that assumption.

    This is much to their detriment, because their reaction to being told that they're being recorded, in most cases, is "stop recording or I will arrest you for violating RCW 9.73.030".

    Despite the fact that there's been clear case law (in the form of the Flora case) stating that one may overtly or covertly record them as they are public officers, these cops assume two things: That all recording of conversations must have consent (this is not true, only private conversations are) and that it's a consent law, not a notification law, and that one being recorded may "refuse consent" to the recording and therefor threaten to arrest private civilians.

    This is not true, as the law states that notification is all that is required. Your only choice, at that point, if you don't like being recorded, is to keep your mouth shut, and walk away from the situation.

    Seattle Photographer Unlawfully Detained awarded $8000

    Unfortunately, some will not tolerate having to shut up and walk away, they will be embarassed that their words can be used against them since they are public servants.

    What every officer in this state, or hell, this entire country, needs to understand that when they wear that uniform, they are held to a higher standard of behavior than me as a citizen. By all definitions, you are a peace officer, and you are there to keep the peace.

    When certain officers unlawfully detain, unlawfully arrest, and threaten people for doing lawful activity (photography, open carry, peaceful protest, etc etc) because they don't personally like it, it damages the standing of all officers in the eyes of the larger community.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    I would hope to God I never hear those words from an Officer. But if that were to happen, and the incident went to court, you would have your opportunity to convince the jury of what had happened. If it was found that there were no legal grounds for the arrest, you would be exonerated. If you could prove that the Officer had said these words, The Prosecutor COULD charge him. Keep in mind that taped conversations are not admissible, and recording a conversation without all the parties consents is illegal.

    Any Officer that would take such actions should not be in Law Enforcement, and probably would not last long, let alone be hired in the first place.
    You are very naive if you think cops never threaten citizens. Hell,cops lie all the time. Cops claim to hate being lied to and then turn around and lie to get the citizen to respond likethey want, thencops are two faced andare lower than any criminal out there lying to them.

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    expvideo wrote:
    CNN will accept it.
    ... or you can be a YouTube star and get fired.

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    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Johnny Law wrote:
    I would hope to God I never hear those words from an Officer. But if that were to happen, and the incident went to court, you would have your opportunity to convince the jury of what had happened. If it was found that there were no legal grounds for the arrest, you would be exonerated. If you could prove that the Officer had said these words, The Prosecutor COULD charge him. Keep in mind that taped conversations are not admissible, and recording a conversation without all the parties consents is illegal.

    Any Officer that would take such actions should not be in Law Enforcement, and probably would not last long, let alone be hired in the first place.
    You are very naive if you think cops never threaten citizens. Hell,cops lie all the time. Cops claim to hate being lied to and then turn around and lie to get the citizen to respond likethey want, thencops are two faced andare lower than any criminal out there lying to them.
    Bear,

    I am sorry that your attitude is such toward Police. I personally have not been offended by your comments and names, as they don't apply to me. I can tell you that the vast majority of Officers are far above your negative generalizations.

    I would urge you and anyone else interested to go through any Dept's Citizen's Academy. You would meet a great bunch of guys, and might even make a good friend. Most people who have done this gain a new perspective on Police, and have a far better understanding of how and why we do the things we do.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    I would urge you and anyone else interested to go through any Dept's Citizen's Academy. You would meet a great bunch of guys, and might even make a good friend. Most people who have done this gain a new perspective on Police, and have a far better understanding of how and why we do the things we do.
    Will it help me to understand why police officers lie on police reports? Will it help me to understand why they falsely prosecute people? Will it help me to understand why I am threatened with force when I'm not even breaking any laws? Will it help me to understand why that kid was tased when he wasn't being violent or threatening in any way and was just speaking?

    Perhaps it will help me to understand why I get ridiculed and threatened by police officers about half the time when I'm pulled over and they find out that I'm carrying a CONCEALED firearm.

    Or maybe it will help me to understand why the police thought it was ok to stop and search my friends' car while we were driving down the street carefully obeying the speed limit, because we knew the cops were behind us. They pulled us over, claiming that we were going 35 in a 25. When they first saw us we were stopped at a light, just after leaving mcdonalds, and we saw them too. We carefully watched our speed, but they pulled us over and lied to us about it anyway. We were friendly and didn't do anything to upset the officers. We were dressed normally and not acting or looking like criminals or "pot-heads". They said they were going to search the car, and when we asked if they had a warrant or probable cause the one officer said "You know what; I don't have probable cause, but I think you have pot in the car, so I'm going to search it." He searched the car and found nothing, because we had nothing (I don't smoke pot, or do any other drugs for that matter). He then searched us. This was before I had a CCW permit, so I was unarmed. They didn't find anything and told us to drive carefully and left.

    Will citizens academy help me to understand this?

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    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Expvideo,

    If you were to actually sign up and do it, yes it would help.They areset up to build better relationships with the public, and to form ties with citizens who are wanting to further their understanding of police work. It's a chance to go inside of a world that you have only seen from the outside. You would be free to ask q's and not be ridiculed for your comments (unlike this forum). Sound like something you would like to do?.

    The other option is continue to collect all the negative stories, and draw broad uninformed conclusions as to how ALL Officers act.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    Expvideo,

    If you were to actually sign up and do it, yes it would help.They areset up to build better relationships with the public, and to form ties with citizens who are wanting to further their understanding of police work. It's a chance to go inside of a world that you have only seen from the outside. You would be free to ask q's and not be ridiculed for your comments (unlike this forum). Sound like something you would like to do?.

    The other option is continue to collect all the negative stories, and draw broad uninformed conclusions as to how ALL Officers act.

    Maybe ALL cops don't act like that, but ENOUGH of them do to make it so that I have an overall bad taste in mymouth about police officers. I still treat them with respect, but I don't trust them, and I am affraid of them. As a law abiding citizen, I am affraid of the police. No citizen's academy is going to take away the fact that I have been repeatedly mistreated by police officers, without provocation, and while being polite and not acting like a know-it-all. I've seen enough mistreatment personally, and read enough complete lies in police reports, AND been assaulted by a police officer when I didn't do anything to provoke him... that I don't want to give them another chance. I'm done with the police, and I don't plan on calling them in the future, because I don't desire to be assualted and threatened again for doing absolutely nothing. No academy is going to clear up some misunderstanding, because thinking that it's wrong for the police to abuse me and lie about it in their reports is NOT a misunderstanding.

    I'm sick and tired of cops. I'm done with them. I'll take care of myself. There's a saying in police circles "If you don't like cops, next time call a crackhead". How about I don't "call" anybody. I'll take care of myself. I trust me not to abuse citizens without provocation. Cops have proven time and time again to me that they will, so it can't just be bad luck.


    So I beg of you, help me to understand how a citizen's academy will explain to me why what happened in my last post was ok. I'd love to hear an explaination about why I don't deserve my constitutional rights. It must be my lack of understanding, so please enlighten me.

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    Regular Member Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Expvideo,

    I do not condone any illegal or unjustified actions, and I'm not going to make any excuses for why these things may have happened.

    Police take abuse from "citizens" as well. I've had all those same things happen to me all the way up to people trying to kill me. Don't interpret this as whining, as I am most certainly not seeking any sympathy. If I didn't like my job, I'd go do something else.

    The only thing I would ask of you is to not assume that I am like theOfficers in your stories. You don't even know me, so how in the world can you judge my character.

    I came on this board to learn, and to share knowledge and I have no malice toward you or anyone else here. I also do not assume that all people are bad simply because I've dealt with so many a-holes. I meet plenty of great people as well, and have formed many friendships.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Johnny Law wrote:
    I would hope to God I never hear those words from an Officer. But if that were to happen, and the incident went to court, you would have your opportunity to convince the jury of what had happened. If it was found that there were no legal grounds for the arrest, you would be exonerated. If you could prove that the Officer had said these words, The Prosecutor COULD charge him. Keep in mind that taped conversations are not admissible, and recording a conversation without all the parties consents is illegal.

    Any Officer that would take such actions should not be in Law Enforcement, and probably would not last long, let alone be hired in the first place.
    You are very naive if you think cops never threaten citizens. Hell,cops lie all the time. Cops claim to hate being lied to and then turn around and lie to get the citizen to respond likethey want, thencops are two faced andare lower than any criminal out there lying to them.
    Bear,

    I am sorry that your attitude is such toward Police. I personally have not been offended by your comments and names, as they don't apply to me. I can tell you that the vast majority of Officers are far above your negative generalizations.

    I would urge you and anyone else interested to go through any Dept's Citizen's Academy. You would meet a great bunch of guys, and might even make a good friend. Most people who have done this gain a new perspective on Police, and have a far better understanding of how and why we do the things we do.
    I personally know a dozen or more officers, whom I ride, hunt,fish and just basically recreate with. My wife knows almost all the local deputies, troopersand officers, being a para-medic that sort of thing happens. Her message to gals dating cops is "they're fun to play with but for God's sake don't marry on."So any class is not gonna change my perspective which has take 60 years to form. Most cops, well at least above average cops are 49% bad guy and 51% good guy or they wouldn't be able to think like that bad guys and catch them. But that just reinforces the "cops lie" thing. Hell, all you have to do is watch Cops on TV and what I say is apparent.

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    Johnny Law wrote:
    Expvideo,

    If you were to actually sign up and do it, yes it would help.They areset up to build better relationships with the public, and to form ties with citizens who are wanting to further their understanding of police work. It's a chance to go inside of a world that you have only seen from the outside. You would be free to ask q's and not be ridiculed for your comments (unlike this forum). Sound like something you would like to do?.

    The other option is continue to collect all the negative stories, and draw broad uninformed conclusions as to how ALL Officers act.
    What are you, 12 years old? You need to grow up and see the light. Reality sucks compared to the fantasy you are living.

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    Johnny Law,

    The other option is continue to collect all the negative stories
    Dude, he's not "collecting" "negative stories", he's having actual negative experiences happen to him, courtesy of your fellow-leo's.


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