WASHINGTON — THREE times as many excessive-force complaints are filed against city police as against state police, according to a federal study.
The report released last Wednesday by the United States Justice Department shows that municipal police departments get an average of 47.5 such complaints per 1,000 officers, compared with 15.7 complaints for state law-enforcement agencies.
The report was prepared for the government by the Police Foundation, which surveyed 1,100 law-enforcement agencies about their 1991 figures.
The study found that more complaints were filed against younger officers than against older ones and that fewer than 13 percent of them turned out to be valid. It also found that most complainants were black men.
The report cautioned that the number of complaints filed does not necessarily reflect the actual extent of use of excessive force.
For example, a high number of complaints could have a direct correlation with a large number of arrests. The degree of confidence that citizens have in the complaint review process also could have a bearing on the number of complaints that are filed.
Most officers guilty of excessive force are punished with reprimands or suspensions, the report says.