Regardless of the reason for your interaction with the police, you have rights. An officer may suspect you of a crime, but he or she cannot treat you differently or strip you of your rights for any reason.
According to the FBI, when an officer deprives a person of his or her rights, the statute Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law goes into effect.
Who is a person acting under the color of law?
Those who act under the color of the law are those who should uphold the law. For instance, law enforcement officials, such as police, security guards and judges, must obey the law when it comes to honoring a person’s rights.
What constitutes a deprivation of rights?
When you face arrest or allegations of a crime, you have the same rights as everyone else. There are specific penalties that accompany breaking laws, ordinances and statutes. You also have particular rights awarded to you by the U.S. government. If the police treat you differently due to a protected status, you may be the victim of discrimination. For instance, an officer using forceful arrest because of your color or race constitutes a deprivation of rights. Additionally, when a cop uses his or her power to assault, kidnap or otherwise harm a person, it violates rights.
When an officer abuses his or her power, he or she becomes subject to punishment. Officers may face fines or imprisonment for up to a year. If you suffer bodily injury or if the officer threatened you with a weapon or explosives, he or she could face prison for up to 10 years.