"The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." - S. Biko
- Document all incidents as they happen.
- Request the officer's name and badge number.
- Make a records request and obtain all documents from every police agency that has cited or arrested you.
- Write your complaint and mail it as a certified letter.
By law, every police department must have a process for accepting complaints. This process cannot be adversarial, meaning they may not create barriers or treat you as an enemy when you wish to file a complaint. Your name and personal information is NOT required to make a public records request from the police. Your written complaint MUST allege some type of misconduct.
TYPES OF POLICE MISCONDUCT:
- Careless driving (breaking traffic laws and speeding outside of an emergency)
- Using "reasonable suspicion" as a means to target you without any evidence of a probable crime
- Turning off their cameras or failing to record an incident if they have them
- Excessive force or assault
- Accepting bribes
- Taking personal property without your permission or warrant
- Deceptively lying or making a false report
- Helping another officer to violate a policy or law
- Destruction of reports or records
- Rudeness (ridicule, humiliation, verbal or mental abuse)
- Provoking or inciting hostility
- Altering information on a statement or official document
- Using narcotics (both on & off duty)
- Racial intimidation or malicious threats (both on & off duty)
- Sexual harassment
- Retaliation (targeting you because of prior complaints you've made)
- Abuse of the Color of Law
ANY one of these qualifies as misconduct and should be reported to the FBI, Attorney General and your local civil rights commission IMMEDIATELY. Though, never purposely file a false police complaint. It could prove to be quite problematic.
TAKE TIME TO WRITE YOUR COMPLAINT, BUT MAIL THEM SOON. MOST ETHICAL COMPLAINTS MUST BE FILED WITHIN 30 DAYS, AND SERIOUS COMPLAINTS WITHIN 6 MONTHS. DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE.
For serious complaints, it's best to consult with an attorney. However, RECONSIDER retaining an attorney from your city or state. Contact a lawyer from another state, because most lawyers, judges and police officers work with each other frequently (and are usually friends). It's a big unspoken conflict of interest for a lawyer in your local community to work a case against a local officer.
This form can be used to report Police, Judges, Clerks, Prosecutors or any public officials who have committed misconduct. The form can be sent to both the FBI and local departments.