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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99250 Find in a Library
Title: Section 1983 and the Changing Face of Police Management (From Police Leadership in America, P 226-236, 1985, William A Geller, ed. - See NCJ-98325)
Author(s): W W Schmidt
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The recent increase in police misconduct litigation under section 1983 of the Federal 'Ku Klux Klan' Act of 1871 has had both positive and negative impacts on police policies and procedures.
Abstract: The plaintiff's bar largely ignored what is now 42 U.S. Code section 1983 until the seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision in Monroe v. Pape (1961). In this case, the Court ruled that section 1983 'should be read against the background of tort liability that makes man responsible for the natural consequences of his actions.' Police misconduct torts that constitute a Federal civil rights violation include such issues as false arrest or imprisonment, battery (brutality), and trespass (illegal entry and searches). Studies of the incidence of police misconduct cases from 1967 through 1976 show a 400-percent increase in such litigation in State courts and a twelvefold increase in Federal courts. This threat of litigation has had the positive effects of producing more thorough police personnel selection procedures, greater readiness to discharge unfit officers, better training for both recruits and supervisors, and clearer policies for police conduct. Negative impacts have been a reluctance to use force when it is required to protect lives and enforce the law, the increased cost for risk reduction measures, and a reluctance to acknowledge mistakes.
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Civil rights; Police legal limitations; Professional misconduct
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