The brutal beating recently suffered by 15 year-old, Brandon Johnson at the hands of Indianapolis Police Department (“IMPD”) officers, provides the inspiration for this article. Although there are many police officers who “serve and protect” us on a daily basis without much appreciation or attention, stories of police misconduct have become all too common over the last several years. As an attorney, I certainly have had many people visit my office and complain about being mistreated by police officers. However, I do not know anyone who has gone beyond merely complaining to filing a formal complaint against IMPD (or other law enforcement agencies). One reason could be because most people simply do not know how to file a formal complaint against a police officer. So the remainder of this article will cover the complaint process. Several things are important to know. First, if you believe that you have been the victim of police misconduct, you may begin the process of filing a formal complaint by contacting the Citizens Police Complaint Office (“CPCO”) at 317.327.3440 to schedule an interview to file a formal complaint of misconduct. Second, you may also file an informal complaint by writing: Brian Reeder, Executive Director, 200 E. Washington Street, Suite 1921, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Third, all formal complaints must be filed within sixty (60) days of the alleged misconduct. Once a formal complaint is received, it is initially forwarded to IMPD for an investigation. The complaint is then reviewed by the Citizens Police Complaint Board (“CPCB”) a twelve (12) person consisting of nine (9) voting civilian members and three (3) non-voting police officers. The CPCB will then set the matter for a public hearing and depending on the outcome, the CPCB can: 1) order the Executive Director of CPCO to conduct an independent investigation on the complaint; 2) CPCB can conduct an informal administrative hearing; or 3) Order the Executive Director to mediate the complaint informally with the Chief of Police. If you do not receive a satisfactory outcome to your complaint, you can always consult an attorney to discuss taking legal action. Frederick Douglass, said it best, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress…Power concedes nothing without a demand (or complaint). It never did and it never will."
About the Author
Corey L. Scott, was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. Upon graduation from East Chicago Central High School, Corey attended Indiana State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology. Upon graduation, Corey accepted a position with the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division where he served with distinction for the next nine years, eventually being promoted to Director of the Youth Counseling Department. Pursuing his dream of becoming an attorney, Corey attended the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. While in law school, Corey was an Indiana Council on Legal Education Opportunity (ICLEO) fellow and participated in Moot Court competitions. He also worked in the Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division as a bailiff and research assistant to the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, who serves as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Corey also served as an internship law clerk to the Honorable Judge, Margret G. Robb, at the Indiana Court of Appeals. Finally, upon graduation from law school, Corey had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Justice, Robert D. Rucker, who sits on the Indiana Supreme Court. Corey then became an associate with Mike Norris Law Office, where he specialized in bankruptcy law with a main concentration on working to assist families obtain a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Still a young attorney, Corey then served as a public defender at the Marion County Public Defender Agency. In this position, Corey gained invaluable trial experience by defending clients in a wide range of matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies on a daily basis. It was also during this time that Corey discovered his passion for representing and serving "everyday people." An entrepreneur at heart, Corey established the Law Office of Corey L. Scott, P.C. Since then, he and his staff have served the greater Indianapolis community and surrounding counties in several legal disciplines including: Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense and Family Law. In keeping with his vision, Corey L. Scott, P.C., is a client focused, results oriented general law practice that endeavors to provide legal solutions for "everyday people" charged with a crime, dealing with financial crisis or going through a difficult divorce. Corey has also been active serving the greater Indianapolis community by participating in pro bono programs such as "Ask a Lawyer," the "Modest Means" panel program which allows individuals to afford legal counsel at a fraction of normal rates, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and the Heartland Pro Bono Council program. Corey is a proud member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.