Receiving a complaint about your service is always awkward, people rarely like to admit when they’ve done wrong. However, it seems that for some South Florida police departments filing a complaint is next to impossible. As this series of undercover videos show, you better have a damn good reason for your complaint because entering a police station without one can be scary, risky and even downright dangerous.
Several investigators, over a period of some years, went to visit several police departments around the state with the simple task of obtaining a complaint form. Nothing more than that. They were met with intimidation, threats and even arrest by these insecure cops, who abused their positions in quite a shocking way. All this despite having a policy of not only allowing citizens to legally obtain a form, but fill it out and return it anonymously.
Suspicion among police officers was high. The right to anonymity usually went straight out of the window as they went on the defensive and wanted to know the investigator’s identity, and reason for complaint.
From anti-social behavior to threats and downright aggressiveness, you begin to wonder exactly why these cops are so self-conscious. What’s going on down there in south Florida? A polite request was often met with flat out refusal to cooperate, followed by a line of questioning that casts suspicion on the complainant. It turns out that police officers in the United States often share a “blue code of silence“, which means that they do not turn each other in for misconduct. While some officers have called this code a myth, a 2005 survey found evidence that it does indeed exist. Perhaps this goes some way to explain the hostility.
This case went even further and descended into violence, as the officer realized that he was being filmed. The complainant here asked to see the policy about filming in the police station before he was violently grabbed in an armlock and slammed against a wall.
When evasive cops wouldn’t cooperate with a request for a complaint form, some investigators were persistent in demanding that their rights be recognized. In response, this officer threatened to make up a fictional scenario so he could throw the investigator in jail.
You can find the video with all of these cases and more below
Here’s how people reacted to the shocking video
Bored Panda contacted police departments across South Florida for clarification about their complaints policy. Boynton Beach Police Department assured us that “anyone can come into our substation, call us, email us, use our app…and provide feedback on a member of our agency. They do not have to provide their contact information however we do ask for a way to get in touch with them so we can further discuss the complaint.”
South Miami Police Department explained that “forms are always available whether they walk into the station or request a form be mailed should they not wish to speak directly with a supervisor,” whilst Pembroke Pines Police Department “understand that our agency cannot be successful in the administration of justice without the support of the community, and thus we take all criticisms & complaints seriously.”
Ultimately, police are there to serve the community and risk their lives daily to keep the public safe. 99% of cops are certainly ‘good cops’ and have nothing at all to hide, and we can only hope that these departments have learned from this experience and will be more transparent in the future. Citizens have a right to make a complaint without fear of harassment! What do you think about the video and this issue? Have you ever made a complaint against a police officer? Let us know in the comments!