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How to File a Police Brutality Complaint Against the Philadelphia Police (PPD)

Posted August 12, 2015 | Uncategorized

Cops are supposed to protect us from harm, not put us in danger.  If you were beaten or injured by a Philadelphia police officer, or if you think your Constitutional rights were violated, don’t let it get swept under the rug.  You deserve a full investigation into your incident – not only because officers should be held accountable for misconduct, but also because you may be entitled to compensation.  In this article, we’ll will explain how to file a formal complaint against the Philadelphia Police Department if you were a victim of police brutality or your rights were violated by law enforcement.  

Steps to Submit an Online Complaint Against a Philadelphia Police Officer

Here are the steps to file a complaint against the Philadelphia Police Department online:

  1. Go to the Philadelphia Police Department’s official website (phillypolice.com).
  2. Click the “Forms and Reports” button located in the grey banner across the top of the site.
  3. Scroll past the first row of options, until you’re about halfway down the page.  You should see a section titled “File an Official Complaint” on the left-hand side of the page.
  4. Click the blue button labeled “Official Complaint Form.”
  5. Make sure to read the instructions above the actual complaint form before you get started.
  6. When you scroll down, you’ll see a long web form comprised of multiple sections.  Make sure you go all the way through the complaint, filling in as much information as possible.  
  7. When you’re done, double-check to make sure you didn’t accidentally miss a section or leave any fields blank.
  8. Once you’re satisfied with the complaint, type your name and address into the very last fields.  This will serve as your digital signature.
  9. Click the green button that says “Submit Official Complaint Form,” and you’re all set.

You might notice a “complaint process” link in the instructions above the digital complaint form.  If you try to click this link, you’ll simply get a “Page Not Found” error.  However, you can still submit a paper complaint against the PPD – you just have to know where to look.

police brutality on the street

How to File a Paper Complaint via Mail: PPD Forms and Addresses

There are two ways to file a formal complaint against the PPD in the mail:

  • Method 1
    1. To get started, call the Philadelphia Police Department, Internal Affairs Division, by dialing (215) 685-5056.  (If that number doesn’t work for you, you can also call the same number ending in -5057 or -5058 instead.)  The Internal Affairs Division is open for calls from 8:10 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.  You can also visit in person.  The Philadelphia Internal Affairs Division office is located at the following address: 7790 Dungan Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19111.  
  • Method 2
    1. Navigate to the PPD Official Complaint Process page.  
    2. Scroll down until you see the “Filing a Paper Complaint” header at the bottom of the page.
    3. Click the link to “download the complaint form” at the top of the third paragraph.  This will open up a new window with a .pdf that you can print and fill out.
      • There’s also a Spanish version available.  The link is right next to the English-language link.
    4. Once you’re finished, mail the completed complaint to the following address:

7790 Dungan Rd.
Philadelphia, PA 19111

Get Legal Help if You Were a Victim of Police Brutality

Regardless of whether you choose to file your complaint online or by post, here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Do not file a frivolous complaint under any circumstances.  Far from “getting revenge” on the police, you will simply invite criminal charges – and criminal penalties.  18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4906 makes it a misdemeanor to submit a false police complaint, subject to fines and jail time.
  • You should receive an email from the PPD within 72 hours of submitting your complaint online.  (If you send a mail complaint, you should be notified upon receipt.)  An investigator will also call you within 10 days of your complaint’s receipt.
  • Be prepared to give a statement explaining “why you believe the officer’s conduct is inappropriate.” 
  • There are four possible outcomes to an investigation:
    • Exonerated – Your complaint was truthful, but the investigation found that the officer was actually acting within the scope of his or her authority/department policies.
    • Sustained – The investigation confirms your complaint.
    • Not Sustained – The investigation doesn’t find enough evidence to confirm your complaint.
    • Unfounded – The investigation disproves your complaint.

If you were a victim of excessive force or unlawful imprisonment by the Philadelphia Police Department, you need help from an experienced attorney.  No one should ever be subject to civil rights violations, and you may be able to get compensation for your injuries, property damage, and emotional distress.

To talk about your experience with the Philadelphia Police Department in a free, completely confidential legal consultation, call personal injury lawyer Brent Wieand at (877) 654-3887.  Brent serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.