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Why are some police officers aggressive?

If you have had many encounters with the police, you may have realized that some officers tend to act aggressively even in situations where it isn’t warranted. 

For instance, maybe the officer came to your house and asked to come in and talk to you. Knowing your rights, you politely refused and asked them to get a warrant. Then the officer started talking to you in a way that seemed designed to intimidate you into doing what they wanted. Maybe they even seemed angry with you or frustrated by your decision. 

Encounters aren’t always simple, even when you are exercising your rights

It can feel a bit confusing. You’re just exercising your rights. The justice system in the United States is uniquely built on individual freedoms and rights. We generally celebrate those things as a society. Why would your desire to assert those rights make a police officer, who is just supposed to be upholding those rights and the law, act in this manner?

The truth is that police work is tough. It’s stressful. It’s dangerous. Many officers report being both angry and frustrated much of the time. If an officer has had a long, stressful day before arriving at your door, your refusal to cooperate — even though it’s totally legal — may just set them off. 

Officers also learn to adopt an aggressive personality in some cases, regardless of how they feel. They may deal with other aggressive individuals every day and feel like they have to act in kind to get anything done. They’re also taught to be aggressive and forceful in order to intimidate others — which comes in handy when they’re dealing with someone who is inclined to disobey the law. Unfortunately, that aggression and intimidation can become second nature and is capable of being misdirected or misused.

You still have legal options

Remember, no matter how an officer treats you, you do have rights. Be sure you know what they are. If a police officer violated your rights when you were stopped, searched, arrested or interrogated, make sure that you make your defense counsel aware of the issues. That may play an important role in the future of your case.

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