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Can I sue an officer for slander? If so, should I worry about retaliation? What possible outcomes are there if I win?

Salt Lake City, UT |

An officer has been telling people that I have a drug house & they shouldn't be coming here. He actually told this to my friend, in front of his daughter who in turn told my daughter what was said. Now my daughter is asking why a cop would say this if it wasn't true & I have no explanation because it's not true! I've always taught my kids to trust cops, so now what? I haven't touched drugs since 2002. This isn't the first time this has happened with this officer either. It's to the point that some of the neighborhood kids can't play anymore because of the rumors this cop is telling. I was even investigated by DCFS recently but passed all of their drug tests on the spot. The case was dropped, but the cop is still pulling people over when they leave here & telling them lies.

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Attorney answers 1


maybe, but I am not seeing a particularly good case for slander. It sounds like there is some basis for his allegations, i.e. "2002", however, in order for him to pull people over he must have a reasonable suspicion that the person has been, is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity. If this is an ongoing harassment you might want to consider a departmental complaint, as a first step to a potential lawsuit against both the officer and the department.

The biggest problems I see in your case are both liability, and damages. That means it is likely not a great case, as those are two of the cornerstones in any case of this type. I would recommend that you keep a record of when the officer makes these stops, what is said, and how you know, in an attempt to help overcome your liability issues. As to damages you are going to have to quantify how you have been harmed in a monetary fashion. In your description it sounds like there are no quantifiable damages yet. A better case from a damages perspective is one where you feel compelled to send the children, and perhaps yourself, to counseling in attempts to deal with the officer's actions.

Good luck, I hope you are able to get the officer to leave you alone.