City The OPA Alternative
posted by January 8 at 21:39 PMon
According to a report from the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), the OPA sustained a surprising number of complaints against police officers last month.
Complaints against officers who were busted for driving drunk and an officer who used a police vehicle for personal use were sustained, as was a complaint against a cop who was cited for obstruction, and dinged for being discourteous to another officer. Two other officers were also reprimanded for keeping a man in custody after they had determined he was not the suspect in an assault. In addition to the sustained complaints, other officers were given “supervisory intervention,” or additional training, for using profanity during a traffic stop and unlawfully asking for identification.
While the OPA only sustains about 9% of the complaints they get, five of the 23 complaints in the OPA’s most recent report were sustained, and another two were given supervisory intervention, which, anecdotally, seems like more than you’d generally see in one OPA report. However, all of the officers accused of excessive force were either exonerated or administratively exonerated, which means they were given a pass by the SPD brass.
Two men who were involved in a scuffle with officers in the University District—which I wrote about last November—have had lawyers beating down their doors looking to represent them in a case against the city. Neither man has gone to trial yet, but civil cases against the city are already being discussed.
While it appears the OPA is taking a closer look at certain types of officer misconduct, it seems that lawyering up is quickly becoming the most viable means of police accountability.