Your Rights: Police Brutality

Snapshot: Video of a Police Brutality Incident at the hands of the Seattle Police Department in April 2010.

BACKGROUND

Police brutality and misconduct is as intense as ever in Seattle and throughout Washington State, and resistance now is even more important. Laws like 287(g) which empowers local law enforcement agencies to make immigration arrests and SB1070 in Arizona which lead to an increase of racial profiling arrests.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Regardless of your immigration status, you have rights! If you are treated badly by law enforcement officers write down the officer’s badge number, name or other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you can. Call a lawyer or contact your local ACLU office. You should also make a complaint to the law enforcement office responsible for the treatment.

HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT

A person can file a complaint in person, by telephone, by mail, by e-mail, or via the on-line Commendation/complaint form. Complaints can be filed anonymously or by providing name or personal information. Complaints are also accepted from outside agencies and from witnesses or other third parties reporting on behalf of others.

The complaint process is handled by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) Director, a civilian position appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. They are responsible for the management and oversight of the investigative process and seek to ensure objective standards for documentation, investigation, reporting, and resolution of complaints.

Information gathered from: www.october22.org, www.aclu-wa.org

Legal Referral Contacts: ACLU-WA 206-624-2184 or NWIRP 206-587-4009

Where to file a complaint in King County?

OPA-IS@seattle.gov or www.seattle.gov/police/opa

OPA – Investigation Section, 206-684-8797

Citizens Service Bureau, 206-684-2489

–Sandy Restrepo

About elcomitewa
El Comite is a social justice organization based in Seattle, Washington.

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