Know Your Federal Rights RE: Law Enforcement Abuses

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.


Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241
Conspiracy Against Rights
This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).
It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so secured.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be sentenced to death.
back to top

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law

This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.
This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.
Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
back to top

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245
Federally Protected Activities

1) This statute prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference, or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person or class of persons because of their activity as:

a) A voter, or person qualifying to vote...;
b) a participant in any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by the United States;
c) an applicant for federal employment or an employee by the federal government;
d) a juror or prospective juror in federal court; and
e) a participant in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
2) Prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person because of race, color, religion, or national origin and because of his/her activity as:
a) A student or applicant for admission to any public school or public college;
b) a participant in any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by a state or local government;
c) an applicant for private or state employment, private or state employee; a member or applicant for membership in any labor organization or hiring hall; or an applicant for employment through any employment agency, labor organization or hiring hall;
d) a juror or prospective juror in state court;
e) a traveler or user of any facility of interstate commerce or common carrier; or
f) a patron of any public accommodation, including hotels, motels, restaurants, lunchrooms, bars, gas stations, theaters...or any other establishment which serves the public and which is principally engaged in selling food or beverages for consumption on the premises.
3) Prohibits interference by force or threat of force against any person because he/she is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or class of persons from participating or affording others the opportunity or protection to so participate, or lawfully aiding or encouraging other persons to participate in any of the benefits or activities listed in items (1) and (2), above without discrimination as to race, color, religion, or national origin.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life or may be sentenced to death.

Popular Posts