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NCJ Number: 161377 Find in a Library
Title: Police Civil Liability and the First Amendment: Retaliation Against Citizens Who Criticize and Challenge the Police
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:42  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1996)  Pages:50-75
Author(s): M S Vaughn
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 26
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the civil liability of police officers who retaliate against citizens exercising their first amendment rights.
Abstract: The right to free expression and law enforcement's desire to control dissent and challenges to authority pose vexing problems for police officials. By combining police sanction concepts, citizen demeanor literature, and case law on civil liability, the author shows how police officers increase liability risks by arresting or otherwise retaliating against vocal critics, uncooperative suspects, and citizens with an attitude problem. After identifying the retaliation standard articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Education v. Doyle (1977), the author examines lower cases pursuant to Mt. Healthy's three-pronged test: (1) whether plaintiff conduct is protected by the first amendment; (2) whether plaintiff's protected first amendment activity is a substantial or motivating factor in police officer conduct; and (3) whether a police officer would respond the same in the absence of the protected first amendment activity. He concludes that police officers need more training in anger management and interpersonal communication to avoid liability for violating the first amendment right of citizens to verbally confront and challenge the police. 120 references and 18 notes
Main Term(s): Police legal limitations
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Complaints against police; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Courts; Freedom of speech; Police policies and procedures; Public Opinion of the Police; US Supreme Court decisions
Note: Earlier version of article presented at an Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences meeting, 1995, Boston
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