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False Accusations

#1
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? NY state law?

Are proven false accusations in a police report a suit for Libel?

I should add some detail.

Tenants often phone officers, inspectors, etc. in retaliation. If a Incident Report reads, NO Offense committed, NO evidence of what such and such claims and there is not a report filed in the precinct, what would it mean for the person claiming the false accusations? Both of the person/s falsely accused went to their local precinct and asked for a copy of a report, when the two persons were falsely accused. A pink carbon copy only from one of the claimants was provided to the Courtman. One of the two accused asked him for a copy. On the bottom of the copy it says, False accusations are considered misdemeanor, etc. I can't remember the rest they showed me.
 
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quincy

Senior Member
#2
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? NY state law?

Are proven false accusations in a police report a suit for Libel?
It could be possible to defeat the qualified privilege that attaches to reports made to the police if it can be shown the police report was made with actual malice (knowledge of falsity and reported with the intent to harm).

That said, what is reported to the police rarely makes a good basis for a defamation claim.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
#3
To clarify what Quincy is saying. If a police officer made it without justification and malice, you might have a slight chance.

If someone made a false statement to police and it ended up in a police report, you're out of luck.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#4
To clarify what Quincy is saying. If a police officer made it without justification and malice, you might have a slight chance.

If someone made a false statement to police and it ended up in a police report, you're out of luck.
Actually, that is not what I said or meant - so apparently a clarification is necessary. :)

If I call the police to report that someone committed a crime, the report I make to the police is immune from suit under most circumstances, even if what I reported turns out to be false. There is a qualified privilege that attaches to reports made to the police.

The qualified immunity is there so that people will not be afraid to report to the police what they see, hear or suspect. They do not have to worry about being sued if what they report turns out to be false.

Defamatory statements are false statements of fact. Police reports are considered neither true nor false statements of fact. An investigation will generally determine if a report has merit. That said, if someone lies to the police and falsely accuses a person of a crime - with the intent to cause the named person harm - the immunity from suit that covers reports to the police can be lost.

The difficulty with a police report supporting a defamation claim is that proving actual malice is not always easy and injury to reputation is generally not great enough to warrant the costs of a suit.

Filing a knowingly false police report is a crime so a criminal action would be more likely to result from a false report than a civil action.
 
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