NOTE: If you have a complaint about a civil liberties violation that does not involve police misconduct, click here.
If you are charged with a crime, consult your lawyer before making any formal complaints. If you are injured, see a doctor as soon as possible to preserve medical evidence. If there are visible injuries or other damages, take color photos as soon as possible. If there are witnesses, get their names, addresses and phone numbers as soon as possible.
COMPLAINTS TO THE ACLU OF RHODE ISLAND
Police abuse is a serious violation of civil liberties. We encourage people who are the victim of police misconduct to contact us and submit a complaint using the complaint form below. Depending on the circumstances, after we receive your completed police misconduct police form, we will formally request the police authorities to investigate. Receipt of your form will also let us look for patterns of police abuse. While the ACLU is only able to take a very small number of police misconduct complaints to court, we remain very interested in staying informed about this issue.
OTHER ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
Complaints to Police Departments
If the Providence Police are involved, you can get a formal hearing by making a written complaint. The complaint will be reviewed by the Providence Police Internal Review Board. Click here for the Providence Police official civilian complaint form. A complaint form can also be picked up at the Providence Human Relations Commission (PHRC) at City Hall: 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 02903. Call (401) 421-7740 for hours. In addition to providing the complaint forms, the PHRC may also investigate your complaint and provide representation for the hearing before the Internal Review Board.
If another police department is involved, you can submit a formal complaint by calling the department.
Legal Suits Against the Police
A person who has been the victim of police misconduct can file a civil suit. This option should especially be considered when there are witnesses and clear evidence of injury or damages. (A civil suit against the police is entirely separate from having to defend against any charges brought against you.) A private attorney is suggested for a civil suit. If you do not know an attorney, you can contact the RI Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, available here.