Delman Heights

File USCrimnlCmplnt about Police

Posted in: Delman Heights
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Criminal Section, PHB
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 514-3204
Fax: (202) 514-8336

Trial attorneys in the Criminal Section frequently prosecute cases of national significance implicating violations of basic constitutional rights. These are invariably matters of intense public interest involving acts of racial and ethnic violence, violence intended to interfere with religion, abuse of power by local and federal law enforcement officials, violations of human trafficking and involuntary servitude statutes that protect migrant workers and others held in bondage, and criminal acts in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which prohibit conduct intended to injure, intimidate or interfere with persons seeking to obtain or to provide reproductive health services or to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of worship.

The federal criminal civil rights statutes also provide for prosecutions of conspiracies to interfere with federally protected rights, deprivation of rights under color of law, the use or threat of force to injure or intimidate persons in their enjoyment of specific rights (such as voting, employment, education, public facilities and accommodations) and criminal housing interference.

The Section receives approximately twelve thousand criminal civil rights complaints annually in the form of citizen correspondence, phone calls, or personal visits to the Department of Justice, to local U.S. Attorney's offices or, most commonly, to the FBI. Complaints setting forth possible violations of the law for which the Section has jurisdiction are forwarded to the FBI for investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the FBI forwards a report to the responsible attorney within the Division as well as to the appropriate U.S. Attorney's office. A prosecutive recommendation is then made by Section attorneys in consultation with their counterparts from the U.S. Attorney's Office based on the facts contained in the FBI report.

Of the approximate 2,500 investigations conducted each year, about 80 are authorized for grand jury presentation. During the past several years, nearly 100 cases were filed each year charging an average of 150 defendants each year. Because almost any matter which presents a violation of federal law is also a matter involving a local or state law violation, deference is given to local prosecutions. But where there is no local action or where the results of the state or local proceedings are insufficient to vindicate federal interests, a federal prosecution may be brought. The Section has been prosecuting bias-motivated crimes in addition to those related to the events of September 11 (discussed elsewhere) and prosecuting criminal deprivations of civil rights.

Allegations of official misconduct constitute the majority of all complaints reviewed by the Criminal Section. The ''officials'' who have been defendants include state and local police officers, prison superintendents and correctional officers, federal law enforcement officers and state and county judges. These officials have been charged with using their positions to deprive individuals of constitutional rights, such as the right to be free from unwarranted assaults, including sexual assaults, illegal arrests and searches, and the right to be free from deprivation of property without due process of law.

(202) 514-3204
Fax: (202) 514-8336

By USDOJ/Criminal Section
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