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What should you know about police coercion?

Unfortunately, the justice system is far from perfect. This sometimes means that innocent people end up convicted of crimes they did not actually commit. Unethical and unlawful behaviors and practices of police may result in this.

It is thus important for people facing charges to understand the processes that police go through. This can help unveil potential illegal practices the police may have engaged in.

Voluntary confessions

The Innocence Project takes a look at the problem of false confessions. This is just one of many different forms of police coercion, falling under the category of unlawful and unethical behaviors.

A false confession could either fall under the category of coercion, or it could happen voluntarily but due to manipulation. For example, someone with limited mental capacities may “voluntarily” sign a confession without actually understanding the repercussions of doing so.

Forced coercion tactics

On the other hand, forced coercion involves using various tactics to force a suspect into confessing. This often involves the use of illegal tactics during interrogations, which can include but are not limited to:

  • Use of intimidation by officers in the interrogation room
  • Excessive psychological force or any form of physical force
  • Telling a suspect that they have evidence tying them to a crime when no such evidence exists
  • Informing a suspect that their penalty will worsen if they do not confess

Use of substances, sunlight, and deprivation of food or sleep may also end up used as tools for officers to get a quick confession.

It is important for people to know that they can leave an interrogation at any time. It is also important to have legal backing when dealing with officers resorting to such tactics.

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