If Nashville’s police union has its way, anyone who makes a formal complaint against a police officer could face felony charges if internal investigators clear the officer of wrongdoing, The Tennessean reports. Fraternal Order of Police President Ed Mason made the proposal to Police Chief Ronal Serpas, who has told the FOP that he has concerns about the request. The union cites on two cases in which Metro officers were targets of “blatant lies” during the police formal complaint process. When asked about the cases, Mason said he and other FOP officials could not recall the officers’ names or the situations.
In 2004, 528 complaints were investigated. Through May of this year, there have been 242 complaints. The union wants the criminal charge to be like filing a false police report, which is a class D felony and carries a sentence of up to 8-12 years in prison. Serpas replied that, “Charging every complainant whose complaint was not sustained has been viewed by some courts as an unconstitutional effort to intimidate citizens and keep them from making legitimate complaints.” Serpas believes formal complaints made by residents often are based on a misunderstanding of police procedures and that “charging complainants should be considered in only the most extreme cases.”