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How to File a Police Complaint

by Kevin Bliss

The “resist tyranny” website Rons Spot (ronsspot.org) published a detailed report, complete with possible scenarios and advice, on how to file a complaint against a police officer.

The article states that a complaint is not a lawsuit; it is a report of a less serious nature against the police for a particular action of misconduct. The report is then placed in the police officer’s record to hopefully keep him or her from continuing to abuse his or her authority. It also makes the police superiors aware of the conduct that may need to be addressed.

The article advises filing complaints to assist in ending the “abuse of power by police.”

First, do not go into a police station alone to file a complaint. Take a couple of days to commit your complaint coherently on paper. Keep your emotions out of it, but make a clear and detailed account of the incident. Do not lie or exaggerate. Doing so only discredits your account in this situation and any future encounters and may even lead to charges or lawsuits against you. If there’s corroborating testimony from other witnesses, have them write it out. Evidence should be photocopied; the original should never be handed over to the police when filing a complaint.

All of this, the article goes on to suggest, should be mailed to the Internal Affairs department of the station where the officer in question works. Send it certified mail with return receipt requested and never send it directly to the police department where it might get “lost.” It states that there is typically a time limit for filing a complaint—60 days for minor incidents and six months for more serious allegations.

It suggests that if the police contact you for any follow-up questions, tell them everything they need to know is in the complaint. Do not answer any more questions and do not go to the station for an interview.

If the complaint is of a serious nature and you plan to have the assistance of counsel, hire a lawyer not from the local community or even the surrounding counties, especially if you live in a small community. Get one who has not dealt with the same judges, prosecutors, and police in your area.

Lastly, the article deals with your rights in confrontations with police. Decline to grant permission for any searches. Do not voluntarily hang around and talk to police; ask if you are free to go. Tell them you are going to remain silent and want to speak with your lawyer; then say absolutely nothing else. Above all, stay safe. Speak calmly and coherently. Keep your hands stationary and in plain sight and stay in well-lit areas with your pertinent information close at hand. 

See: ronsspot.org

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