All about filing an excessive force complaint against Denver police

Denver, CO – The use of excessive force is one of the most common types of police misconduct in Denver. Following the massive George Floyd protests in 2020, there have been dozens of complaints of police brutality, but there are many, many other low-profile cases where law enforcement agents use excessive force in their interactions with ordinary Denver residents. When they get over the shock, many victims wonder what they should do. Put it all behind and let it slide? Obviously not. That only encourages police officers to act the same way next time. 

If you are in this type of situation and you’re currently weighing your options, the best thing you could do is contact an experienced police misconduct lawyer in Denver. A legal expert can tell you if you have a case, what types of proof you could use, and how to proceed. 

How to file a police misconduct complaint?

Your first step should be filing a complaint with the police department where the officers involved work. Denver PD has a website allowing you to file an online complaint, but you can also print out the form and mail your complaint to the Office of Independent Monitor. Your lawyers will probably advise you to ask for a confirmation of receipt so you can prove that you followed the legal steps.

Technically, all complaints go to the Internal Affairs Bureau (IA), whose job is to police the police. However, IA doesn’t actually handle all complaints. According to the official guidelines issued by the US Department of Justice, IA should deal with more serious allegations, such as:

  • Police shootings
  • In-custody deaths
  • Constitutional rights violations
  • Racial profiling incidents
  • Discriminatory policing
  • Dishonesty
  • Drug use
  • Sexual misconduct,

The same guidelines advise IA units to relegate the investigation of less serious offenses, such as:

  • Discourtesy or rudeness (not involving any type of discrimination against a particular person or group)
  • Traffic citations
  • Alleged excessive or unreasonable minor uses of force not involving death, serious injury, hospital admittance, or willful, intentional, reckless misconduct. 

Such complaints should be investigated by the police unit, according to the DoJ.

This distinction could directly impact your complaint. If you’re not seriously injured during the interaction with law enforcement, IA might consider you don’t have much of a case and they’ll leave it to the police department to handle the matter and it’s easy to guess how that will work out.

If you’re not sure your case meets the requirements to be considered by IA, you’d better talk to a seasoned police misconduct lawyer. If you present your case as a violation of your constitutional rights the IA will have to investigate your complaint.

How long do I have to file an excessive force complaint?

Technically, you have 2 years to file a complaint. However, Denver PD highly recommends filing a complaint within 60 days of the alleged incident. Legal experts advise filing within 1 year, as older incidents are less likely to get much attention.

How long does it take IA to investigate a complaint?

There is no time limit for this type of investigation. Certain investigations can be more complex than others and IA agents are advised to take as much time as they need. Still, the DoJ recommends concluding an investigation within 180 days, if possible.

If you’re not happy with the result of the investigation, your lawyers may advise you to file a lawsuit and seek damages for what you’ve suffered. 

If you were recently a victim of any type of police misconduct in Denver, you should contact an experienced civil rights lawyer at the Bryan&Terrill law firm to see how to proceed with your case.

Contact info:

Bryan & Terrill

333 W. Hampden Ave., #420B

Englewood, CO 80110

(720) 923-2333

Source: Department of Justice – Standards and guidelines for Internal Affairs

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