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NCJ Number: 72970 Find in a Library
Title: Citizen Complaints Against the Police - The Complainant
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:8  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1980)  Pages:247-252
Author(s): A E Wagner
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study corroborates the findings of Hudson and others that the likelihood that a citizen complainant against the police would be a lower-class black male would be great.
Abstract: In 1976, closed case files of the 'Metro City' Police Department for the years 1971 and 1973 were examined to determine the identity of citzen complainants. Results showed that the complainants tended to be young (15-34 years), black (67.3 percent), male (77.5 percent) residents of the city proper. Moreover, 40 percent were unemployed or students. Only 5 percent, however, had complaints substantiated; in 26 percent of the cases, the officer involved was exonerated or the complaint was judged to be unfounded. Disparities between complainant and general city population characteristics increased for physical abuse complaints, where 71 percent were black. Moreover, only 2 percent of these complaints were substantiated, half of which were complaints against off-duty officers involved in disputes with family or friends. Factors contributing to the low rate of sustained physical abuse cases included failure by complainants to accurately relate the incident and lack of corroboration by third parties. However, police administrators and social scientists should find out why black citizens file complaints against police officers at almost twice the rate of their number in the population. Tables and footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Citizen grievances; Minorities; Police attitudes; Police community relations; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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