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Process and Suggestions for Filing a Complaint
When you are violated, harassed, beaten, or mistreated in any way by the police, remember,
you have options. Also remember that the police department will not be helpful to you in any way.
Time and time again they have shown an outright denial of police abuse and a desire to protect
their own. Expect resistance to your complaint. But you are not alone, if you choose. CAPA,
upon request, will be with you, advise you, and be present with you throughout the entire process.
Filing a complaint is important. Only by more people like you making complaints will the voices
of those abused by the police be heard. Most violations by the police are never reported.
Before you file a complaint
- When the incident occurs, try and remember every detail: the badge # and name of the officer
who violated you, what time it was, etc. If you are unable to, then try and remember the car
number of the officers as they drive off. As soon as possible, write down every detail of the
incident, anyone who might have seen this happen (not necessarily to give to the police, but
to get evidence that might help out your complaint).
- If arrested, you can find out the police officers names by requesting a copy of your arrest
report at the LPD Station at 7th and Jefferson, or the District Station where this incident occurred.
- Contact CAPA at 778-8130 or via the contact form on this web site. Tell us what happened and
schedule a time when you can come in and fill out a CAPA complaint form, or we can come and
visit you. CAPA can suggest an attorney to go to. We will also go through the process with you,
and give helpful advice, encourage, and support you.
Filing a complaint
- Go to Office of Professional Standards (OOPS, Yeah right!) if the Louisville cops did this,
or the Professional Standards Unit if the county cops did. If you request, a CAPA member will
accompany you throughout this process.
- Tell clerk you want to fill out complaint form against a police officer.
- Fill out form. The clerk will sign the form. If a clerk fills out the form, go over it after
it is filled out. They have been known to accidentally mix up what you told them to write down.
- Then ask for a copy of the signed form and keep it. Many complaints end up "missing."
- OOPS, or PSU should respond within 30 days, but try and get a commitment on how long
it will take for them to respond to you.
- Follow the same procedure at the District station where the incident occurred. Call
574-2121 JCPD, or 574-3333 LPD to find out the district where the incident occurred and
district station to go and file a complaint.
- If the incident occurred in one of the 93 cities within the Greater Louisville area,
contact CAPA to find out how to make a complaint.
What happens if the cops arrest me?
- If you are arrested, you will have to go to court, regardless of being violated or not.
CAPA can suggest an attorney.
- You can request a member of CAPA to be present with you in court. The bailiff may be
somewhat resistant to a CAPA member standing with you, but we have a right to be there
with you. If the judge asks why we are with you, we tell them who we are, and that
we are monitoring the case.
You will come up against a lot of resistance for taking a stand for your rights. Try and remember,
you are not alone, and you have people who will support you. Pushing forward with a complaint, and
following through with it does put pressure on the police department to make changes, and going
through the process will allow you to come into contact with people who are struggling to make change,
and end police abuse.
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