Filing A Police Complaint

Police Complaints – How to File a Complaint Against a Police Officer
Never … ever… walk into a police station and try to file a complaint against a police officer. Civilian testers have shown that you may be harassed or falsely arrested by the police. Police complaints are allegations of misconduct and you as an American citizen have the right to file a police complaint.
When someone files a complaint against a police officer an incident report is placed in the police officer’s record, so as to hopefully keep the officer from continuing to abuse his or her authority. It also makes the officers superiors aware that there might be a problem with that individual police officer that needs to be addressed.
Filing a police complaint and reporting police misconduct is a step towards ending this abuse of power by police.

Examples of police misconduct:


Excessive force

Soliciting or accepting bribes

Drinking on duty


Making a false report (good for alleging in the case of traffic tickets)

Use of narcotics (on or off duty)


Altering information on an official document

Careless driving (driving rapidly and/or aggressively to a minor call

Racial or ethnic intimidation

Malicious threats or assault

Sexual harassment

As soon as possible write down everything that happened. Don’t worry about sending off your complaint right away. Wait a few days and go back over your written complaint and see what you might have forgotten the first time you wrote it. There’s no need for “emotions” to be involved when you write your complaint and the most important thing is to be truthful! If the police catch you in a lie, your complaint won’t be credible, nor will any other complaints you send in the future. You could even be charged for making a false report against a police officer and in some states be sued by the police officer.

The more information in your written complaint the better. Your compliant should include:

Who is the officer you’re filing a complaint against? Name or badge number?

What the officer said or did? Was he rude, abusive or used excessive force?

When did it happen? Date and time.

Where did it occur? Location?

How or why did the incident occur?

Do you have corroborating witnesses whose story doesn’t conflict with yours? If you have witnesses you should ask each of them to write a separate account of the incident and sign it.

Do you have any type of evidence, like pictures or a video recording? If you do don’t send the “original” to the police, send only a copy.

To file a complaint against a police officer “one of a less serious nature,” you need to mail a written complaint sent “certified mail with return receipt.” Certified mail gives you some type of proof that you actually filed a complaint against a police officer. If you don’t send the complaint certified mail the letter sometimes gets lost or misplaced by someone at the police department.

The complaint will be investigated and you should receive a letter back from the police agency on the status of your complaint. Most police complaints will be in the favor of the police officer, but the good thing is the complaint will stay on the police officers record.

The police may try and contact you by phone or mail to do a “follow up” about your complaint. Don’t answer any questions and never go down to the police station for an interview. Tell them everything they need to know is in the letter you sent and then say good bye. Stick to what you said in your complaint letter and say nothing else!

The response you will get from the police department will be one of the following:

SUSTAINED – The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove some or all of the allegations made in the complaint and disciplinary action could result against the officer.(s)

NOT SUSTAINED – The investigation failed to discover sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation(s) made.

EXONERATED – The investigation reveals that the acts did occur, but the actions taken were justified, lawful and proper.

UNFOUNDED – The investigation indicated that the alleged act(s) did not occur.

EXONERATED – The investigation reveals that the acts did occur, but the actions taken were justified, lawful and proper.

There is a time limit on how long you have to file a complaint against a police officer. For minor police misconduct you may have only 30-45 days and up to 6 months for more serious allegations.

A police complaint will not get a victim compensated for police abuse and police complaints are not lawsuits. If you file a complaint against a police officer and the police clear themselves as they often do, the only recourse you may have is a civil lawsuit. In a civil lawsuit you may receive compensation if you and your attorney can prove damages or civil rights violations. Contact a competent civil rights attorney if you need more information about filing a lawsuit for civil rights violations.

If you’re interested in knowing what complaints have been filed against police officers in your community, you may request a copy of that information be sent to you from that police agency.

Request the “Internal Affairs Log.” Send your request to the City Attorney at City Hall for information on the “city police” or to the County Attorney at the Court House for information on the “Sheriffs Department.” Tell them what year or years you’re requesting. Send your request certified mail with return receipt.

While you’re at it also request a copy of the “use of force” for whatever year you’re looking for. This will tell you who the cops roughed up, pulled their Taser or gun on.

DON’T ever walk into a police station and ask for this information! Police officers either start acting real stupid on the subject or they get mad and start threatening you.

Never file a complaint directly with a police agency specially if the complaint is of a serious nature, see an attorney! If you do plan on hiring an attorney, get one who doesn’t work in your area. Don’t get a lawyer from your town, county or from the surrounding counties. Local lawyers work with same judges, prosecutors and police officers on a daily basis and may not want to win your case as bad as you do.

You may also contact your State Attorney General Office. For serious incidents call the ACLU hot line 1-877-634-5454 or contact the Department of Justice click here for the (DOJ) site.

How NOT to File a Complaint Against a Police Officer

20 thoughts on “Filing A Police Complaint

  1. I am an American, US Combat Vet from the Vietnam War and disabled since 1990 with surgical hardware in my arm. I was harrassed by Douglas County Orego Sherriffs Dept since Jan 2007. Taken into custody on protection due to a half sister in Alaska calling I was suicidal. All because she was cutting me out of my mothers will and wanted it all for her cocaine addiction. My arm was broken because of the way I was cuffed. Their reports all false, they even had my hair, eye color weight and height wrong. No recourse though. State Attorney was useless and rejected a complaint. The solution was to leave the Facist States of Amerika where police do not have taser torture devices, explosive ammunition and all those things banned by the Genevas Conventions. Plus they banned capital punishment in the 1840s.

    US cops are totally worthless. I was sexually molested by one when I was 9 years old and over a period of nearly a year. I had a sister and half sister raped by cops, both prior to their 13th birthdaYS. aND NO ONE LISTENED THEN OR SINCE. bUT THE ONE WHO MOLESTED ME HAD HIS WIFE BLOW HIS BRAINS OUT WITH HIS SERVICE REVOLVER WHEN i WAS 13. So he finally became a good cop and now rots in hell.

    With less than 5% of the world population the US has over 25% of all the prisoners in the world. Of which 92% were coerced into pleas under treats by police, prosecuting attorneys and judges. American justice is a load of crap, only a step behind that of North Korea and Iran.

  2. On Sept 25th 2015 My 12 year old daughter was beaten by 4 girls during a festival in Mitchell Indiana. However the police officer, Matt England, refused to do anything. WHile talking to witnesses of the incident the same group of girls came to where we were standing and started to attack my daughter again. Another fight broke out in which I tried to pull my daughter back. She was again beaten by one of the girls tho I stood in the way of the others from jumping in on her again. after about 2 minutes of them fighting officer Matt England ran up and grabbed my daughter slamming her into the pavement. I did tell him to cuff her as she swung ONCE more on the girl. However I had no ideal he would act in the way he did,Once she stopped and complied the officer began Twisting her wrist and bending her fingers back into her wrist and letting the other girl hit her after he had her cuffed. On tape, He accused me of ONE thing. Bringing my daughter to initiate a fight, Which is untrue. However once I filed a complaint against him, He falsely came up with two more accusations!! Claiming he SEEN me push one girl, even tho their statements don’t match and there are a lot of discrepencies in the stories, I was charged with 3 criminal acts. My daughter, tho the victim here was charged with the battery. I have plenty of evidence that this officer blatantly LIED in his statements. Tho it is LAWRENCE CO I am not expecting any actual JUSTICE to be served. Once its all said and done however I will post the videos taped and statements to prove his lies and to shed light on his character… To lie on a child because you failed to do a job you CHOSE to do, Is one of the lowest acts a police officer can do!!

  3. Jake Ayers Forest Lake Police officer worst one it could be .

    He should be fired instantly before he kill somebody ,he is mentally ill ,not normal behavior does not show ever.

    He is 300lbs and does not respect anybody .He things he is above the law.Harass people ,making a false reports.

    Discriminate almost everybody he had tons of complaints in Washington county community .

    Altering information on an official document

    Careless driving (driving rapidly and/or aggressively to a minor call

    Racial or ethnic intimidation

    Uses excessive force 24/7 on duty or not

    Ruddiness to everyone everyone for him is Al Capone and he is Peter Pan,I’m personally afraid of this guy and heard from other people story i don’t think he’s mom or wife like him ….Eric C

  4. I would like to file an abuse report to whom ever this may concetn. I am in fear daily for my life, because of police officer Daniel Wolschlanger having a set of key’s to my front door, and a wiretap on my phone. I have made several calls into the Grand Blanc Township POLICE DEPT. But no one ever calls me back. He has come into my home and urinated carpet. I have evedence of this. He has been getting away with Rape, giving me stds such as ghonnarir. Be has burned my neck, both arms, my stomach, with a ciggarette that is lit and hot. I have pictures and carry the deep scares. He has mamed m right hand and thumb. I have proof of this as well. Xrays and two doctors. He has beat me with his batton so hard that he broke it and bave that littel peice of evedence back as well. You can match my DNa to that piece of his batton and my skin will be on there. He has cut my stomach with a razor blade, where there is already an old extesiting scar from total histerectomy. Daniel.Wolschlanger is a home grown terrorest in my opionion. I feel that I am in harms way. The captain there will not take his keys away to my front door, nor does he have the respect and degtanty to call me back. I am asking you to launch a full investigation into DANIEL WOLSCHLANGER I pray that you do not let me die here at his hands. There is so much more evadence That I have saved back proving he comes into my place of residence without warning, and without an invatation. I beg of you don’t let him KILL ME.
    HE HAS BEEN MOLESTING MY SON SCINCE WAS 10 years old and beating him to.
    Please help me so he can’t hurt any more people. He targets older women with young kids. I know this because I have gone through this for seven years now. I am 62 years old and I am disabled. I would like to start a lawsuit as He has pored water into my salt puriferer and that cost approximately $2,000 he has also ruined my washing machine I found a screwdriver and a police flashlight the police flashlight does state clearly police have that back as evidence I’m sure you’ll find his DNA on that last night as well I have had to get rid of almost all my appliances because of him and his brother he is angry that his brother Leo whistle anger is in prison for check fraud he also has his sister in prison for going through my mail I don’t know if these people are really playing with a full deck or not but I think I need some help here thank you

  5. I would like to get information on a civil rights lawyer that does not have an office on Calvert County Maryland please. This is about excessive force and I was not arrested but I was assaulted and injured. Thank you.

  6. I filed a complaint a few years back on an officer who was harassing me. I had text messages to prove it and internal affairs told me their wasn’t enough proof to discipline the officer. Yet, they took copies from my cell phone with text messages from the officer asking me to send him naked photos of myself and once I refused he because hostile and began to send me harassing text messages stating that I was f’n whore and, I was fat and ugly, that my breath smelled and when I told him to leave me alone or else I would file a complaint on him at the police station he began even more harassing messages. He text me so many messages it was ridiculous, my phone kept going off with his text messages back to back saying he dared me to go and file a complaint because no one would believe me anyway and that I would regret it if I dared to file the complaint. When I got to the police station to file the complaint that same day I was at the front desk asking to speak to an officer and he was still texting! The front desk officer made a joke of it and stated, “I guess he’s just in love and got it bad for you” and proceeded to laugh. Right then and there I should have walked out because I knew they weren’t going to take me serious or discipline him. Long story short nothing was done about it and he still has his job, mind you this man was a well known drug dealer in the past in the town he is now a police man in, he was just never caught.

  7. My name is Mara Gabbay residing in Long Island.
    I would like to THANK THIS WONDERFUL SITE. I had a DUI OR DWI nit sure because it was a complete frightening experience. I do not drink! I wish I did at least then I could be punished for something I did.The 3 girls I was with were intoxicated .Mt job is always be the designated driver. To wrap it up I did not move the vechicle because I was checking seat belts on my friends in the bacl seat. Then I saw the cop car and needed assistance…..the snow was piled up on the exit side of the parking lot. I WALKED NEVER DROVE.I WAS SEXUALLY HARASSED DURING THESE TESTS FOR DRINKING THEN BLEW INTO A PLASTIC TUBE….I HAVE RESTRICTED BREATHING DUE TO A MEDICAL ISSUE. I GAVE THE INFO AND LETTER FROM MY DOCTOR EXPLAINING THAT I CAN NOT BE TESTED IN THAT MANNER.I SAID GIVE ME A BLOOD TEST OR URINE TEST . THEY REMOVED MY SHIRT/SWEATER AND I HAD TO SIT THE ENTIRE NIGHT IN MY BRA SHIRT.


  8. The New York state trooper barracks Have had my vehicle since August 2014 Due to an investigation They have not arrested me And they will not return my vehicle I don’t know what to do I can’t afford a lawyer Does anybody have any idea how I can get this back I’ve called A bunch of times and they keep telling me it’s still under investigation And they will not return my vehicle

  9. You poor bastard motherfuckers…. how long until you realize you are living in a fascist state? THE COPS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS>>>> THEY ARE FUCKING ASSHOLES ON A POWER TRIP MAKING $70,000 A YEAR!!!

    • Not all cops are bad…….alot are crooked but please know there are still good ones out there that serve and protect….

  10. I am requesting to file a complaint against the Norfolk Police Department and the individual Timothy Tyrone Allen for issuing a warrant without probable cause and dismiss the warrant against me. The warrant was issued alleging violoation of code § 18.2-152.7:1Harassment by computer; penalty.If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    On December 16, 2015, Timothy Tyrone Allen contacted my sister and my via Facebook, using an alias Alonzo Walker using intimidation and threats against me. I have included the facebook profile created along with the IP address of the profile created and messages sent. The same day in question, I contacted Norfolk Police Department to see what legal actions can I take on Mr. Allen for harassment and I was advised to contact Facebook to file a complaint and have the page removed because they were unable to assist with my complaint of harassment using social media.
    I responded to Mr. Allen AKA “Alonzo Walker” to cease and desist all communications with my family otherwise legal actions will be taken upon Mr. Allen. I also reminded Mr. Allen that he has already been reported to Richmond County Sheriff Office in Georgia of assault against me and my daughter and property damages. Mr. Allen is fully aware of the prior complaints, and is aware that I have reported his illegal drug activities as well. When Mr. Allen and I lived together in Georgia in 2013, he attempted to grow marijuana plants in our apartment in which I asked Mr. Allen to remove his belongings and vacate our apartment because I did not want anything to do with his illegal activities. Mr. Allen informed me he was attempting to grow marijuana plants at his residence in Virginia. I submitted this information online on 12/8/2015 to investigate.
    In 2013, Mr. Allen purchased an indoor marijuana grow box online and recently, other plant materials. I have also provided Norfolk Police department of proof of purchase of the materials in question.
    Mr. Allen is aware that I reported his illegal activities and in return and seeking retaliation, on December 22, 2015, Mr. Allen falsely accused me of harassment and a warrant was issued against me. His actions were malicious and intent to tarnish my reputation. Per code § 18.2-152.7:1Harassment by computer, I did not harass Mr. Allen nor did I threaten to do any harm against Mr. Allen as defined.
    Norfolk Police Department ignored my complaint and violated my 4th amendment rights and did not allow me to prosecute the accuser, Timothy Tyrone Allen for harassment and stalking using the internet/computer against me. I have also provided sufficient evidence to prove my criminal complaint against Mr. Allen and would like to know what legal actions and rights I have to prosecute Mr. Allen for filing a false police report and warrant.

    • you are relying on the police and government to handle a civil matter. Filing a civil action is a simple matter and should be done a short complaint called a CLAIM with damages. you will need to document those damages and using the above claim as you have already written in the form of an affidavit and taken under oath and NOTARIZED.

  11. Genoa Illinois police officers were warned of a drunk driver 3 hours beforehand and did absolutely nothing about it !!!!!!!!!! They called me back and said awesome, go for it when I said I would file a complaint! !! Very unprofessional. …….should be repromanded for miss conduct! !!!!! I expect a formal investigation to occur. ..please inform me of updates. Dana Clark

  12. Unable to get proper forms to file a civil suit against police department in Colorado springs. For some convenient reason those forms are not available at the court house. ?

  13. I just wanna make responsable of my daughters and my dead to my husband and the police department. I ready called them for help twice, ask them for a restriction order and they won’t give it to me . There all “machos” kind men . So I guess I just have to wait for my husband to come back to the house and kill us

  14. Filling a complaint criminal charge to two police officer who did use excess force, pointed their gun toward me and did arrest me by handcuff me with no reason.
    After mistreating me, searching me and treat to put me in jail and have me deported with no reason ignoring that I know exactly the laws and provocating me with insult as African to push me to react wrongly. After 30 minute after they saw that I was still taking self control of myself they walk away wisper to each other than come to fill a metro ticket to give me and let me go.
    All of this under public eyes, camera.
    Metro station stated that I did not give enough evidence and asking me to pay the 75 dollars ticket so I am attending to suit also metro company since they are the one who placed them in their station to give wrongly ticket to decent people.
    Noted I had my uniform. And was coming from work as a security officer.
    This. Kind of things will never happen in Africa where I lived 32 years without ever had problem with military or police officer. Surprising that it happen in America! ” best country in the world ”
    Violation number: T0299476 balance fue 75.00 that I refused to pay.
    I ll not complaint trough my consulate and request a lawsuit to both party with a repair damage for my honor to be hand cuff and humiliate in public with no reason.

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