Tucson Cops Rarely Disciplined for Excessive-Force Complaints

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Just seven of the 186 excessive-force complaints filed against Tucson police officers in the past five years were ruled valid, putting the department within the national average, reports the Arizona Daily Star. In those seven cases, five officers were suspended and two others were referred for counseling or other corrective action. The remaining 179 complaints were found to have been unsubstantiated, meaning the department’s Office of Professional Standards ruled that the officers didn’t violate police policy.

The number of complaints filed each year from January 2010 to last July varied greatly, ranging from 19 to 42, according to the records. The complaints were for uses of force including striking, use of firearms, use of a baton, Taser, pepper spray and handcuffing. While only a small amount of the complaints were substantiated, one expert says that’s typical. “This is pretty normal for the country,” said Robert Taylor, a University of Texas at Dallas criminologist. He said “a remarkably small amount of excessive-force complaints are sustained.” During the requested time period, the Tucson Police Department sustained 3.8 percent of complaints, which is on average with the 2 percent to 5 percent seen across the country, Taylor said.

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