What can be done if a police officer is spreading false rumors against my child?

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What can be done if a police officer is spreading false rumors against my child?

A local police officer is telling other local officers that my 16 year old daughter got kicked out of school and her soccer team for smoking weed. Which never happened. Can he be held responsible for what he says?

Asked on June 3, 2011 under Personal Injury, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the statements by the police officer are part of some case against your daughter, then you would not be able to prevail in a lawsuit against the police for defamation.

However, if the statements are not part of some case against your daughter and are false statements the police officer is making, you could file a lawsuit against the police officer for defamation.  Slander is spoken defamation.  

Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third party injurious to one's reputation.  The statement you described would clearly constitute defamation. It is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third party (another police officer/other police officers) damaging to your daughter's reputation.  Each repetition of the false statement is a separate incident of defamation. You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your daughter since she is a minor.  Your lawsuit for defamation should name the police officer, police department where he is employed and the city where the police department is located as defendants.  Prior to filing your lawsuit against the police, you will need to file a claim with the city.  Once the city denies your claim which is standard operating procedure, you can then proceed with your lawsuit.  Don't miss any filing deadlines with regard to filing your claim against the city or your daughter may lose her rights for you to proceed with her lawsuit.  The lawsuit for defamation must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your daughter will lose her rights in the matter forever.


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