Unconstitutional Police Searches

1228 Words 5 Pages
Throughout time we have had agents of socially justified force upholding citizen’s constitutional rights. Although it has been seen that the war against crime has created mistrust between the community and law officials due to poor policing procedures. Police misconduct is more prevalent than we think. This occurs when police officers engage in improper actions in relation with their official duties. These actions often result in the miscarriage of justice and discrimination. It is not uncommon to see unconstitutional police searches, stop and frisks, and unreasonable suspect searches; all under the discretion of the police.
Poor policing procedures has caused the Civil Rights Division to open an Investigation into The Ferguson Police Department,
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Bernard Harcourt wrote an essay titled, “Unconstitutional Police Searches and Collective Responsibility,” and it was found that a state appellate judge, a former federal prosecutor, and a government attorney all violated Fourth Amendment prohibitions on searches and seizures (Harcourt). “The vast majority of the unconstitutional searches—31 out of 34—were invisible to the courts, having resulted in no arrest, charge, or citation. In fact, the rate of unconstitutional searches was highest for suspects who were released—44 percent versus 7 percent of arrested or cited suspects. Focusing exclusively on stop-and-frisk searches, an even higher proportion—46 percent—were unconstitutional” (Harcourt). The amount of searches that were invisible to the court shows how prevalent officers go around their boundaries of the law and violate a civilian’s Fourth Amendment right. This can lead to a dirty hands dilemma and or “The Dirty Harry” problem. Using unconstitutional means in order to make an …show more content…
Gould and Mastrofski concluded that the police who are sworn to uphold the law regularly are putting the legitimacy of police work at risk by disobeying constitutional boundaries. The way citizens feel about the lawfulness and legitimacy of the police are important in our society because they need to feel that police comply with constitutional, statutory, and professional norms. If the public believes law enforcement uphold these values, then there are more willing to recognize their authority. In the Mapp v. Ohio case, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark stated “Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.” (Fyfe). Our society needs to have both law abiding citizens and law abiding officers in order for mutual

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