About 60 percent of all sustained complaints of police misconduct in DC ended with mild punishments such as reprimands or educational programs during fiscal years 2018 and 2019, revealed a recent report.
The report was released by the DC Police Complaints Board, the governing body of the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), which investigates and resolves police misconduct complaints independently from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
“The sanctions imposed by MPD in response to sustained community complaints suggest that the Department is reluctant to impose serious sanctions based on community complaints, and often goes outside of the Table of Penalties Guide,” the report says.
“The majority of sustained complaints for the past two years have resulted in reprimands or education-based development. These minor disciplinary sanctions allow officers to believe that complaints from community members are unimportant and that MPD tolerates, or endorses, behaviors likely to produce complaints.”
The Police Complaints Board, our governing body, released a report today examining the discipline of D.C. police officers in response to misconduct complaints sustained by our agency.
— DC Office of Police Complaints (@DistrictOPC) October 14, 2020
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office issued a press statement regarding the report.
“It is important that officers are held accountable for their actions,” said Michael Tobin, OPC’s executive director was quoted as saying in the statement. “When an allegation of police misconduct is sustained by OPC, discipline should be consistent and taken seriously.”
OPC is in charge of receiving, investigating, and resolving police misconduct complaints filed by the public against MPD and DC Housing Authority Police Department officers. If OPC concludes that there is reasonable cause for police misconduct and at least one allegation is sustained, the complaint is referred to the Chief of Police for discipline.
The Chief of Police must then impose an appropriate form of discipline from the Table of Penalties Guide (General Order 120.21, Disciplinary Procedures and Processes).