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Thursday, March 30, 2017

F .B. I.Deprivation of Rights Under Color Of LAW

U.S. law enforcement officers and other officials like judges,
prosecutors, and security guards have been given tremendous power by
local, state, and federal government agencies—authority they must have
to enforce the law and ensure justice in our country. These powers
include the authority to detain and arrest suspects, to search and
seize property, to
bring criminal charges, to make rulings in court, and to use deadly
force in certain situations.

Preventing abuse of this authority, however, is equally necessary to
the health of our nation’s democracy. That’s why it’s a federal crime
for anyone acting under “color of law” willfully to deprive or
conspire to deprive a person of a right protected by the Constitution
or U.S. law. “Color of law” simply means that the person is using
authority given to him or her by a local, state, or federal government

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating color of law
abuses, which include acts carried out by government officials
operating both within and beyond the limits of their lawful authority.
Off-duty conduct may be covered if the perpetrator asserted his or her
official status in some way.

During 2009, the FBI investigated 385 color of law cases. Most of
these crimes fall into five broad areas:

• excessive force;
• sexual assaults;
• false arrest and fabrication of evidence;
• deprivation of property; and
• failure to keep from harm.

Excessive force: In making arrests, maintaining order, and defending
life, law enforcement officers are allowed to use whatever force is
"reasonably" necessary. The breadth and scope of the use of force is
vast—from just the physical presence of the officer…to the use of
deadly force. Violations of federal law occur when it can be shown
that the force used was willfully "unreasonable" or "excessive."

Sexual assaults by officials acting under color of law can happen in
jails, during traffic stops, or in other settings where officials
might use their position of authority to coerce an individual into
sexual compliance. The compliance is generally gained because of a
threat of an official action against the person if he or she doesn’t

False arrest and fabrication of evidence: The Fourth Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution guarantees the right against unreasonable searches
or seizures. A law enforcement official using authority provided under
the color of law is allowed to stop individuals and, under certain
circumstances, to search them and retain their property. It is in the
abuse of that discretionary power—such as an unlawful detention or
illegal confiscation of property—that a violation of a person's civil
rights may occur.

Fabricating evidence against or falsely arresting an individual also
violates the color of law statute, taking away the person’s rights of
due process and unreasonable seizure. In the case of deprivation of
property, the color of law statute would be violated by unlawfully
obtaining or maintaining a person’s property, which oversteps or
misapplies the official’s authority.

The Fourteenth Amendment secures the right to due process; the Eighth
Amendment prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishment. During an
arrest or detention, these rights can be violated by the use of force
amounting to punishment (summary judgment). The person accused of a
crime must be allowed the opportunity to have a trial and should not
be subjected to punishment without having been afforded the
opportunity of the legal process.

Failure to keep from harm: The public counts on its law enforcement
officials to protect local communities. If it’s shown that an official
willfully failed to keep an individual from harm, that official could
be in violation of the color of law statute.

Filing a Complaint

To file a color of law complaint, contact your local FBI office by
telephone, in writing, or in person. The following information should
be provided:

• all identifying information for the victim(s);
• as much identifying information as possible for the subject(s),
including position, rank, and
  agency employed;
• date and time of incident;
• location of incident;
• names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witness(es);
• a complete chronology of events; and
• any report numbers and charges with respect to the incident.

You may also contact the United States Attorney's Office in your
district or send a written
complaint to:

Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Criminal Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20530

FBI investigations vary in length. Once our investigation is complete,
we forward the findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office within the local
jurisdiction and to the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington,
D.C., which decide whether or not to proceed toward prosecution and
handle any prosecutions that follow.

Civil Applications

Title 42, U.S.C., Section 14141 makes it unlawful for state or local
law enforcement agencies to allow officers to engage in a pattern or
practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the
Constitution or U.S. laws. This law, commonly referred to as the
Police Misconduct Statute, gives the Department of Justice authority
to seek civil remedies in cases where law enforcement agencies have
policies or practices that foster a pattern of misconduct by
employees. This action is directed against an agency, not against
individual officers. The types of issues which may initiate a pattern
and practice investigation include:

• Lack of supervision/monitoring of officers' actions;
• Lack of justification or reporting by officers on incidents
involving the use of force;
• Lack of, or improper training of, officers; and
• Citizen complaint processes that treat complainants as adversaries.

Under Title 42, U.S.C., Section 1997, the Department of Justice has
the ability to initiate civil actions against mental hospitals,
retardation facilities, jails, prisons, nursing homes, and juvenile
detention facilities when there are allegations of systemic
derivations of the constitutional rights of institutionalized persons.