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Filing Police Complaint Against An Officer

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Police Complaints - Filing a Complaint On 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.

 What is Police Misconduct?

  Civil Police Misconduct It is unlawful for an officer to engage in a pattern of conduct that deprives a person of their constitutional rights You must be able to show that it is a pattern- one isolated incident is not sufficient to prove a civil violation The court can grant you an injunction that requires the officer to stop the misconduct against you. A police officer is prohibited from engaging in practices of discriminatory misconduct.

Examples of Police Misconduct:

 Rudeness

 Excessive force

 Soliciting or accepting bribes

 Drinking on duty

 Harassment

 Cannot deprive any person of his/her constitutional rights

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

 Use of narcotics (on or off duty)

 Discrimination

 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 

Unjustified arrests

Discriminatory traffic stops

Coercive sexual conduct

Criminal police misconduct

How to File a Complaint Against A Police Officer

 Complaints against police officers are allegations of misconduct and you as an American citizen have the right to file a police complaint against a Police officer. 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.

 1) As soon as possible after the encounter with the police write down everything that happened. Don't worry about sending off your complaint right away. Wait a few days, take your time and go back over your written complaint and see what you might have forgotten the first time you wrote it. Tell only the truth and don't over exaggerate what happen.

 2) There's no need for "emotions" to be involved when you write your complaint.

 3) 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.

 Supreme Court allows police officers to lie to the public, but We the Americans will always tell the truth and never believe the police.

 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, audio or a video recording? If you do don't send the "original" to the police, send only a copy. If it's of a more serious nature see an attorney.

  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 return receipt 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 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 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 file.

 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 30-90 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 about filing a lawsuit for civil rights violations.

 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.

Updated: 03.13.2017

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