Report: Most validated complaints of misconduct by DC police don’t result in much discipline

Most validated misconduct complaints made against D.C. police officers in the last two years did not result in serious punishment, according to a new report.

The report was released Wednesday by the city’s Police Complaints Board, or PCB, which operates independently from the police department.

When a citizen makes a complaint against a D.C. police officer, the PCB investigates. If it finds the complaint is valid, it’s forwarded to police Chief Peter Newsham to decide the appropriate discipline for the officer.

But the report found that in the last two years, most such complaints resulted in low-level reprimands or extra training.

The PCB said such minor sanctions could lead officers to believe that complaints from the public aren’t important and that any behavior that leads to complaints is acceptable.

The report recommends that the D.C. Council consider changes to the disciplinary process.

The PCB suggests allowing validated complaints to be forwarded to the police chief with a discipline recommendation. If the police chief doesn’t agree with the recommendation, the case could be forwarded to a three-member panel made up of members of the PCB.

WTOP has contacted D.C. police for a response to the report.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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