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How Do I Report Police Misconduct?

Unfortunately, police misconduct does happen—and it can result in serious consequences, not least of all wrongful arrests, for those who are victimized. However, victims aren’t sentenced to silence; reports can be submitted and used to protect civilians and their communities from further aggression. Learn how you can file a report in the event you experience or witness misconduct.


Two NYPD cars parked on the street

One of your greatest aids in filing a report will be recording the details of the event as accurately and as soon after the misconduct as possible. Be exact, and know how to contact other witnesses if you need them. It pays to be calm and collected when chronicling this information, so also take care to sort the facts from your feelings as well as you can. Prepare to make copies of your account and the actual complaint later.

Legal Assistance

Once you have the facts detailed, it is then ideal to consult with an attorney. Not only will they provide their expertise and developed knowledge, but they’ll also serve as a representative and support in your pursuit of justice. While victims of police misconduct are not required to hire legal assistance if they were not arrested, having one on your side is nonetheless highly recommended.

Choose a Route

There are three paths to filing a complaint: internal report, criminal complaints, and civil suits. The first is submitting your report to the Internal Affairs part of the police department in question. The second is to formally accuse police officials of committing a crime. The third is similar to the second but carries a specific connotation: either someone’s legal rights were violated, or they were harmed in the process, for which courts can impose liability. Each route has its advantages and disadvantages, but since you can pursue legal action before filing an internal report, you’ll want to weigh your options.

Have you or someone you witnessed had to deal with unfair treatment or excessive force from law enforcement? Navigating the legal process can be confusing and scary, but you don’t have to do it alone. The team at Leav & Steinberg LLP has over 17 years of experience fighting and winning for their clients. Their knowledge of the law is matched only by their commitment to excellent customer service. If you want serious, results-driven professionals on your side, request your free consultation today.