Hayward Shootings by Police Officers Spur Civil Rights Suits (42 US Code 14141)

About a year ago, both 21-year old (names withheld for privacy) were killed in incidences involving local law enforcement officers in the Hayward area.  An attorney representing the family has taken on these two cases on the basis that they are violations of civil rights.  In one case, the police had pulled him over on suspicion of vehicular theft.  Arguing that he was reaching for a weapon, they shot him 6 times while he remained in the vehicle, which was in park.  For the other case, he was accidentally killed as local law enforcement shot at the driver, but killed the passenger instead.

There has been no response yet from city officials, but these two suits bring up possible police misconduct.  According to the “Police misconduct provision,” (42 US Code 14141) it is illegal for law enforcement officials, both state and local, to divest any person of the rights they are afforded by the Constitution and by other laws in the United States.  Included in this legal stipulation are things like “excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, unlawful stops, and searches or arrests.” 

In order to prove that there was police misconduct, however, the parties involved in the two aforementioned civil suits will have to prove that there exists a pattern to the police behavior outlined in the complaint.