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Difficulties Reported in Filing Complaints Against Philadelphia Police Officers

Filed under News on March 1, 2011

Documented complaints against Philadelphia police departments complaints have risen in number over the past years, but the actual number could be even higher.?Ǭ Many districts make it difficult or even almost impossible to file complaints against police, either by refusing to provide forms, intimidating citizens attempting to make a complaint, or deterring complaints by not allowing them to be made anonymously.

The Daily News sent undercover reporters to spot checked police districts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.?Ǭ At five of the districts, police supervisors refused to allow a complaint against the department or an officer be made anonymously – a practice which was in direct violation of department policy.?Ǭ Supervisors also would not even give complaint forms the the undercover reporters.

The Daily News reported, that, “An additional 11 of the city’s 21 police districts did not follow department policies for filing complaints. Problems included creating a hostile environment for complainants, and neglecting to inform them of the procedure and locations to file a complaint.”

After promises were made by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey that he would address the problems found during the checks, Daily News reports followed up with additional spot checks.?Ǭ?Ǭ “…reporters visited every police district and politely requested a form to file a complaint against a police officer. All the reporters requested anonymity and said they would rather not discuss the nature of the complaint.?Ǭ But a handful of officers and supervisors on duty didn’t abide the request.”?Ǭ Another encounter at the 19th District in West Philly, a supervisor was hostile and demanded ID before she would provide a complaint form.?Ǭ And, at the 12th District in Southwest Philly, “a lieutenant on duty grilled a reporter about the nature of the complaint even after she said she didn’t want to speak about it. He then told the reporter to complain at the Internal Affairs Bureau in the Northeast.”

According to statistics provided by the office of Mayor Michael Nutter and the Philadelphia Police Department:

  • In 2008 there were 697 complaints filed against police officers, and
  • 744 complaints were made in 2009.

Related Articles: How to File a Complaint Against the Pennsylvania State Police

Source:?Ǭ Jan Ransom, Daily News, January 31, 2011. In Philly, filing complaint against a cop isn’t easy


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