Suppose a police officer commits a misdemeanor in the line of duty: Let's say that as an act of retaliation he seized something as "evidence," in such a way that he satisfies the criteria for committing theft and will be found guilty of that crime for that incident.
My general question is, with respect to criminal charges against law-enforcement officers, how far down "the thin blue line" can a misdemeanor reach? Assuming the worst case for the police:
In the given example, suppose the thief's partner was present and on-duty during the commission of that crime, but he said and did nothing on the scene, and his name is on none of the paperwork. Is he potentially guilty as an accessory or abettor?
Now suppose the victim called the station the next day and spoke to the evidence custodian to ask for the return of the improperly seized item. The custodian, of course, has possession of the stolen item and refuses to return it. Can he be charged with a crime – e.g., for possession of stolen property?
Now suppose the victim also called the thief's supervisor to ask for relief and is rebuffed. Is the supervisor guilty of any crime? Even without the call can the supervisor incur any criminal liability due to his failure to prevent or address the crime?
Can the police department as an entity be charged with any crime, since (as I assume the previous items suggest) the fact that the crime was carried out and not corrected (e.g., by immediate return of the property) implicates a number of its officers for criminally acting, failing to act, and – presumably – failing to properly train and supervise the original actor?
I suspect at some point down the line the offense (if any) changes color from criminal to civil. I'm interested in the theory and law on that transition.