Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2014. It’s been updated to reflect the revised name for our new police complaints project.
I confess. I made this sign as “conversation bait” to engage attendees at last week’s National March Against Police Violence. (I’m a monster.) But in my defense, these conversations were research for a new project I’m developing that’s connected to the sign itself.
So I asked people this question: “Why do you think most instances of ordinary police abuse go unreported?” Their answers fell into two major categories.
Answer #1: People think the police will simply ignore their reports. Some had experienced the frustration of receiving no official follow-up after filing their own reports. The general sense is “Police don’t police the police. What’s the point of wasting your time?”
Answer #2: Fear. There’s no getting around it. People fear being further victimized by police intimidation and perhaps retaliation. They fear the pain of reliving a terrible experience over and over again.
It’s difficult to hold bad police accountable when people are afraid to report them. But it’s practically impossible when the brave few who do report them are ignored. We can and must do better.
That’s why Flex Your Rights is building Open Police Complaints (OPC): the most trusted and user-friendly online police misconduct reporting service in the United States. I invite you to download our PDF one-page plan by clicking the link below.
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Founder & Exec. Director