Eight percent of citizen complaints that police officers used too much force turned up enough evidence to justify an officer’s discipline, says a new Justice Department survey of large state and local forces, the Associated Press reports. The survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 26,556 complaints of excessive police force were filed in 2002 with state and local law enforcement agencies that have at least 100 full-time officers. Such agencies account for 59 percent of the nation’s law enforcement officers.
The data were collected in 2003, the first time the government asked about the outcome of complaints about police use of force. Using the complaints that found discipline justified, the bureau estimated there were 2,000 instances of excessive police force in large departments in 2002. That is one incident per 200 full-time officers. Almost one-fifth of large municipal police departments had a civilian complaint review board or agency within their jurisdiction.