Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. Police Complaints Board; Office of Police Complaints.


§ 5–1101. Findings.

The Council of the District of Columbia finds that:

(1) The District of Columbia delegated to the Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) the vital task of protecting the safety of persons and property in the District of Columbia. This task is difficult, dangerous, and sensitive.

(2) Most members of the MPD perform their duties with diligence, devotion, and sensitivity. From time to time, however, some members of the MPD do not act in accordance with the high standards of conduct that the people of the District of Columbia have a right to expect. On other occasions, honest misunderstandings arise between police officers and members of the public with whom they interact.

(3) Because police officers have been given extraordinary powers, it is essential that there be an effective and efficient system for reviewing their exercise of police powers. Further, it is essential that both police officers and members of the public have confidence that this system of review is fair and unbiased. Members of the public must be aware of this system and have easy access to its processes.

(4) The need for independent review of police activities is recognized across the nation. Effective independent review enhances communication and mutual understanding between the police and the community, reduces community tensions, deters police misconduct, and increases the public’s confidence in their police force.

(5) Some complaints against police officers involve serious charges requiring formal disciplinary proceedings. Many, though, can be resolved through conciliation, mediation, or other dispute resolution techniques. An effective and efficient review mechanism should encompass a variety of procedures for dealing with different complaints in an appropriate manner.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 2, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-911.


§ 5–1102. Purpose.

The purpose of this subchapter is to establish an effective, efficient, and fair system of independent review of citizen complaints against police officers in the District of Columbia, which will:

(1) Be visible to and easily accessible to the public;

(2) Investigate promptly and thoroughly claims of police misconduct;

(3) Encourage the mutually agreeable resolution of complaints through conciliation and mediation where appropriate;

(4) Provide adequate due process protection to officers accused of misconduct;

(5) Provide fair and speedy determination of cases that cannot be resolved through conciliation or mediation;

(6) Render just determinations;

(7) Foster increased communication and understanding and reduce tension between the police and the public; and

(8) Improve the public safety and welfare of all persons in the District of Columbia.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 3, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-912.


§ 5–1103. Definitions.

For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Board” means the Police Complaints Board.

(2) “Complaint examiner” means the person designated by the Executive Director to determine the merits of a complaint.

(3) “Executive Director” means the head of the Office of Police Complaints.

(3A) “Gender identity or expression” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 2-1401.02(12A).

(4) “Office” means the Office of Police Complaints.


(Mar 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 4, 45 DCR 8107; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 902(a), 51 DCR 9406; June 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-177, § 8(a), 55 DCR 3696.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-913.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-194, in pars. (1), (3), and (4), substituted “Police Complaints” for “Citizen Complaint Review”.

D.C. Law 17-177 added par. (3A).


§ 5–1104. Police Complaints Board.

(a) There is established a Police Complaints Board (“Board”). The Board shall be composed of 5 members, one of whom shall be a member of the MPD, and 4 of whom shall have no current affiliation with any law enforcement agency. All members of the Board shall be residents of the District of Columbia. The members of the Board shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by the Council. The Mayor shall submit a nomination to the Council for a 90-day period of review, excluding days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve the nomination by resolution within this 90-day review period, the nomination shall be deemed disapproved.

(b) Board members first appointed after March 26, 1999 shall serve as follows: 2 shall serve for a 3-year term; 2 shall serve for a 2-year term; and one shall serve for a 1-year term. Thereafter, Board members shall serve for a term of 3 years or until a successor has been appointed. All board members shall serve without compensation. A Board member may be reappointed. The Mayor shall designate the chairperson of the Board, and may remove a member of the Board from office for cause. A person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board occurring prior to the expiration of a term shall serve for the remainder of the term or until a successor has been appointed.

(c) A quorum for the transaction of business shall be 3 members of the Board.

(d) The Board shall conduct periodic reviews of the citizen complaint review process, and shall make recommendations, where appropriate, to the Mayor, the Council, the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department ("Police Chief"), and the Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority ("DCHA Director") concerning the status and the improvement of the citizen complaint process. The Board shall, where appropriate, make recommendations to the above-named entities concerning those elements of management of the MPD affecting the incidence of police misconduct, such as the recruitment, training, evaluation, discipline, and supervision of police officers.

(d-1) The Board may, where appropriate, monitor and evaluate MPD’s handling of, and response to, First Amendment assemblies, as defined in § 5-333.02, held on District streets, sidewalks, or other public ways, or in District parks.

(d-2)(1) The Board shall review, with respect to the MPD:

(A) The number, type, and disposition of citizen complaints received, investigated, sustained, or otherwise resolved;

(B) The race, national origin, gender, and age of the complainant and the subject officer or officers;

(C) The proposed discipline and the actual discipline imposed on a police officer as a result of any sustained citizen complaint;

(D) All use of force incidents, serious use of force incidents, and serious physical injury incidents as defined in MPD General Order 907.07; and

(E) Any in-custody death.

(2) The Executive Director, acting on behalf of the Board, shall have timely and complete access to information and supporting documentation specifically related to the Board’s duties under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) The Executive Director shall keep confidential the identity of all persons named in any documents transferred from the MPD to the Office pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(4) The disclosure or transfer of any public record, document, or information from the MPD to the Office pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not constitute a waiver of any privilege or exemption that otherwise could be asserted by the MPD to prevent disclosure to the general public or in a judicial or administrative proceeding.

(5) A Freedom of Information Act request for public records collected pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection may only be submitted to the MPD.

(6) Beginning on December 31, 2017, and by December 31 of each year thereafter, the Board shall deliver a report to the Mayor and the Council that analyzes the information evaluated by the Board under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(e) Within 60 days of the end of each fiscal year, the Board shall transmit to the entities named in subsection (d) of this section an annual report of the operations of the Board and the Office of Police Complaints.

(f) The Board is authorized to apply for and receive grants to fund its program activities in accordance with laws and regulations relating to grant management.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 5, 45 DCR 8107; June 12, 1999, D.C. Law 12-285, § 4(e), 46 DCR 1355; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 902(b), 51 DCR 9406; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-352, § 141, 52 DCR 2296; June 30, 2016, D.C. Law 21-125, § 208(a), 63 DCR 4659.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-914.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-523.01.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-194, in the section heading and subsec. (a), substituted “Police Complaints Board” for “Citizen Complaint Review Board”; in subsec. (d), deleted “the Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority,” following “the Council”; and in subsec. (e), substituted “Police Complaints” for “Citizen Complaint Review”.

D.C. Law 15-352 added subsec. (d-1).

Cross References

Mayoral nomination of agency heads, Police Complaints Board, see § 1-523.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4(e) of the Confirmation Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-25, March 15, 1999, 46 DCR 2971).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 4(e) of the Confirmation Act Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-92, June 4, 1999, 46 DCR 5330).


§ 5–1105. Office of Police Complaints establishment; appointment of Executive Director.

(a) There is established an Office of Police Complaints (“Office”).

(b) The Office shall be headed by an Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be an attorney who is an active member in good standing of the District of Columbia Bar. The Board shall appoint the Executive Director to serve for a term of 3 years, or until a successor is appointed. An Executive Director may be reappointed. The Board may remove the Executive Director from office for cause. The Executive Director shall receive such compensation as is established by the Board.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 6, 45 DCR 8107; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-194, § 902(c), 51 DCR 9406.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-915.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-194, in the section heading and in subsec. (a), substituted “Police Complaints” for “Citizen Complaint Review”.


§ 5–1106. Duties of the Executive Director.

(a) The Executive Director shall employ qualified persons or utilize the services of qualified volunteers, as necessary, to perform the work of the Office, including the investigation of complaints. The Executive Director may employ persons on a full-time or part-time basis, or retain the services of contractors for the purpose of resolving a particular case or cases, as may be determined by the Executive Director, except that complaint investigators may not be persons currently or formerly employed by the MPD. Chapter 6 of Title 1 shall apply to the Executive Director and other employees of the Office.

(b) The Executive Director shall supervise all employees and volunteers of the Office, and shall ensure that all rules, regulations, and orders are carried out properly, and that all records of the Office are maintained properly.

(c) Subject to approval of the Board, the Executive Director shall establish a pool of qualified persons who shall be assigned by the Executive Director to carry out the mediation and complaint determination functions set forth in this chapter. In selecting a person to be a member of this pool, the Executive Director shall take into consideration each person’s education, work experience, competence to perform the functions required of a dispute mediator or complaint hearing examiner, and general reputation for competence, impartiality, and integrity in the discharge of his responsibilities. No member of the pool shall be a current or former employee of the MPD. For their services, the members of this pool shall be entitled to such compensation as the Executive Director, with the approval of the Board, shall determine, provided that the compensation shall be on a per-case basis, not a per-hour, basis.

(d) The Board shall have the authority to promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this subchapter. Such rules shall be promulgated in accordance with subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, and shall be subject to review and approval by the Board before becoming effective.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 7, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-916.


§ 5–1107. Authority of the Office and processing of complaint.

(a) The MPD and the Office shall have the authority to receive a citizen complaint against a member or members of the MPD, and any other agency pursuant to subsection (j) of this section that alleges abuse or misuse of police powers by such member or members, including:

(1) Harassment;

(2) Use of unnecessary or excessive force;

(3) Use of language or conduct that is insulting, demeaning, or humiliating;

(4) Discriminatory treatment based upon a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, physical disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, or place of residence or business;

(5) Retaliation against a person for filing a complaint pursuant to this chapter; or

(6) Failure to wear or display required identification or to identify oneself by name and badge number when requested to do so by a member of the public.

(a-1) If the MPD receives a citizen complaint under subsection (a) of this section, the MPD shall transmit the citizen complaint to the Office within 3 business days after receipt.

(b) If a complaint alleges misconduct that is not within the authority of the Office to review, the Executive Director shall refer the allegation to the Police Chief for further processing by the MPD or the District of Columbia Housing Authority Police Department ("HAPD"), as appropriate.

(b-1) The Office shall have the sole authority to dismiss, conciliate, mediate, adjudicate, or refer for further action to the MPD or the HAPD a citizen complaint received under subsection (a) or (b) of this section.

(c) Any individual having personal knowledge of alleged police misconduct may file a complaint with the Office on behalf of a victim.

(d) To be timely, a complaint must be received by the Office within 90 days from the date of the incident that is the subject of the complaint. The Executive Director may extend the deadline for good cause.

(e) Each complaint shall be reduced to writing and signed by the complainant.

(f) Complaint forms shall conclude with the following words: “I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge, and under penalty of perjury, the statements made herein are true.”.

(g) The Executive Director shall screen each complaint and may request additional information from the complainant. Within 7 working days of the receipt of the complaint, or within 7 working days of the receipt of additional information requested from the complainant, the Executive Director shall take one of the following actions:

(1) Dismiss the complaint, with the concurrence of one member of the Board;

(2) Refer the complaint to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for possible criminal prosecution;

(3) Attempt to conciliate the complaint;

(4) Refer the complaint to mediation;

(5) Refer the complaint for investigation; or

(6) Refer the subject police officer or officers to complete appropriate policy training by the MPD or the HAPD.

(h) The Executive Director shall notify in writing the complainant and the subject police officer or officers of the action taken under subsection (g) of this section. If the complaint is dismissed, the notice shall be accompanied by a brief statement of the reasons for the dismissal, and the Executive Director shall notify the complainant that the complaint may be brought to the attention of the Police Chief who may direct that the complaint be investigated and that appropriate action be taken.

(h-1) The MPD and the HAPD shall notify the Executive Director when a subject police officer or officers completes policy training pursuant to subsection (g)(6) of this section.

(h-2)(1) The Office shall have the authority to audit citizen complaints referred to the MPD or the HAPD for further action.

(2) The Executive Director, acting on behalf of the Board, shall have timely and complete access to information and supporting documentation specifically related to the Board’s auditing duties under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) The Executive Director shall keep confidential the identity of all persons named in any documents transferred from the MPD or the HAPD to the Office pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(4) A Freedom of Information Act request for public records collected under paragraph (1) of this subsection may only be submitted to the MPD or the HAPD.

(5) Beginning on December 31, 2017, and by December 31 of each year thereafter, the Board shall deliver a report to the Mayor and the Council that analyzes the information evaluated by the Board under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(i) For purposes of § 1-616.01 [repealed], the receipt by the Office of an oral or written complaint shall not constitute knowledge or cause to know of acts, occurrences, or allegations contained in such complaint. For purposes of § 1-616.01, the MPD shall be deemed to know or have cause to know of the acts, occurrences, or allegations in a complaint received by the Office at the time the MPD receives written notice from the Office that an allegation in a complaint processed by the Office has been sustained.

(j) This subchapter shall also apply to the [HAPD] and to any federal law enforcement agency that, pursuant to Chapter 3 of this title, has a cooperative agreement with the MPD that requires coverage by the Office; provided, that the Chief of the respective law enforcement department or agency shall perform the duties of the MPD Chief of Police for the members of their respective departments.

(k) By February 1 of each year, the Office of Police Complaints shall provide a report to the Council on the effectiveness of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Body-Worn Camera Program, including an analysis of use of force incidents.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 8, 45 DCR 8107; May 9, 2000, D.C. Law 13-100, § 5, 46 DCR 794; Apr. 13, 2005, D.C. Law 15-352, § 331, 52 DCR 2296; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 18, 53 DCR 6198; June 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-177, § 8(b), 55 DCR 3696; Oct. 22, 2015, D.C. Law 21-36, § 3005, 62 DCR 10905; June 30, 2016, D.C. Law 21-125, § 208(b), 63 DCR 4659.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-917.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-1109, § 5-1110, § 5-1111, and § 5-1114.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-100, in subsec. (a), substituted “MPD, and any other agency pursuant to subsection (j) of this section” for the acronym “MPD”, and added subsec. (j), relating to additional applicability of the chapter.

D.C. Law 15-352, in subsec. (a), deleted “or” from the end of par. (4), substituted “; or” for a period at the end of par. (5), and added par. (6).

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (a)(4), substituted “disability” for “handicap”.

D.C. Law 17-177, in subsec. (a)(4), substituted “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” for “sexual orientation”.

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-36 added (k).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3005 of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-127, July 27, 2015, 62 DCR 10201).


§ 5–1108. Dismissal of complaint.

A complaint may be dismissed on the following grounds:

(1) The complaint is deemed to lack merit;

(2) The complainant refuses to cooperate with the investigation; or

(3) If, after the Executive Director refers a complaint for mediation, the complainant willfully fails to participate in good faith in the mediation process.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 9, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-918.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-1109, § 5-1110, and § 5-1111.


§ 5–1109. Referral of complaint to the United States Attorney.

(a) When, in the determination of the Executive Director, there is reason to believe that the misconduct alleged in a complaint or disclosed by an investigation of the complaint may be criminal in nature, the Executive Director shall refer the matter to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia for possible criminal prosecution. The referral shall be accompanied by a copy of all of the Office’s files relevant to the matter being referred.

(b) The Executive Director shall give written notification of such referral to the Police Chief, the complainant, and the subject officer or officers. The receipt of notification by the Police Chief that a matter has been referred to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia shall not constitute knowledge or cause to know of acts, occurrences, or allegations contained in such referral for purposes of § 1-616.01 [repealed].

(c) The Executive Director shall maintain a record of each referral, and ascertain and record the disposition of each matter referred to the United States Attorney.

(d) If the United States Attorney declines in writing to prosecute, the Office shall resume its processing of the complaint, and thereafter the Executive Director may dismiss the complaint in accordance with §§ 5-1107 and 5-1108, conciliate the complaint, refer the complaint to mediation, or refer the complaint for investigation, as appropriate.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 10, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-919.


§ 5–1110. Conciliation and mediation.

(a) If deemed appropriate by the Executive Director, and if the parties agree to participate in a conciliation process, the Executive Director may attempt to resolve a complaint by conciliation.

(b)(1) The conciliation of a complaint shall be evidenced by a written agreement signed by the Executive Director and the parties which may provide for oral apologies or assurances, written undertakings, or any other terms satisfactory to the parties. No oral or written statements made in conciliation proceedings may be used as a basis for any discipline or recommended discipline against a subject police officer or officers or in any civil or criminal litigation.

(2) The parties may agree in writing that a written conciliation agreement shall not be a public document and shall not be available to the public, as would normally be required pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(c) If conciliation efforts are unsuccessful, the Executive Director may dismiss the complaint in accordance with §§ 5-1107 and 5-1108, refer the complaint to mediation, or refer the complaint for investigation.

(d) If the Executive Director refers the complaint to mediation, the Executive Director shall assign the matter to a member of the pool who is experienced in mediation, shall schedule an initial mediation session for the earliest convenient time, and shall notify the complainant and subject police officer or officers in writing of the date, time, and location of the initial mediation session.

(e) The complainant, the subject police officer or officers, and the mediator shall be present at mediation sessions. Alternatively, the mediator may meet individually with the complainant and the subject police officer or officers. Except as provided in this subsection, no other person may be present or participate in mediation sessions, except as determined by the mediator to be required for a fair and expeditious mediation of the complaint. An interpreter shall be present when necessary for effective communication and shall be provided by the Office when timely requested by a party. When the complainant is under 18 years of age or is an adult who, because of mental, physical, or emotional condition or disability, cannot participate competently in mediation, a parent, guardian, conservator, or other responsible adult must be present at mediation sessions.

(f) The mediation process shall continue as long as the mediator believes it may result in the resolution of the complaint, except that it may not extend beyond 30 days from the date of the initial mediation session without the approval of the Executive Director. No oral or written statement made during the mediation process may be used by the Office or the MPD as a basis for any discipline or recommended discipline of the subject police officer or officers, nor in any civil or criminal litigation, except as otherwise provided by the rules of court or the rules of evidence.

(g) If mediation is successful, the mediator and the parties shall sign a mediation agreement resolving the complaint. The Executive Director shall place a copy of the mediation agreement in the complaint file and shall forward a copy of the mediation agreement to the Police Chief. The Police Chief shall monitor the conduct of the police officer or officers to determine that the police officer complies with the terms of an agreement reached after mediation.

(h) The parties may agree in writing that a mediation agreement shall not be a public document and shall not be available to the public, as would normally be required pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(i) If mediation efforts are unsuccessful, the Executive Director may dismiss the complaint in accordance with §§ 5-1107 and 5-1108, may refer the complaint for investigation, or may refer the complaint for adjudication if the Executive Director determines that further investigation is unnecessary.

(j) If, after the Executive Director refers a complaint to mediation, the complainant willfully fails to participate in good faith in the mediation process, the Executive Director may dismiss the complaint in accordance with §§ 5-1107 and 5-1108, may refer the complaint for investigation, or may refer the complaint to a complaint examiner for adjudication of the merits of the complaint if the Executive Director determines that further investigation is unnecessary.

(k) If, after the Executive Director refers a complaint to mediation, any police officer subject to the complaint refuses to participate in the mediation process in good faith, such refusal or failure shall constitute cause for discipline by the Police Chief. The Police Chief shall cause appropriate disciplinary action to be instituted against the police officer for such a violation and shall notify the Executive Director of the outcome of such action. In the event that the subject police officer refuses to participate in the mediation process or fails to participate in the mediation process in good faith, the Executive Director shall refer the complaint for investigation, or may refer the complaint for adjudication if further investigation is deemed unnecessary.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 11, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-920.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-1111.


§ 5–1111. Complaint investigation, findings, and determination.

(a) If the Executive Director refers a complaint for investigation, the Executive Director shall assign an investigator to investigate the complaint.

(b) If the complainant refuses to cooperate in the investigation, the Executive Director may dismiss the complaint in accordance with §§ 5-1107 and 5-1108.

(c) The Executive Director is authorized to cause the issuance of subpoenas under the seal of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia compelling the complainant, the subject officer or officers, witnesses, and other persons to respond to written or oral questions, or to produce relevant documents or other evidence as may be necessary for the proper investigation and determination of a complaint. The service of any such subpoena on a subject police officer or any other employee of the MPD may be effected by service on the Police Chief or on his designee, who shall deliver the subpoena to the subject police officer or employee. The Police Chief or his designee shall transmit the return of service to the Office. Statements made pursuant to a subpoena shall be given under oath or affirmation.

(d) Employees of the MPD shall cooperate fully with the Office in the investigation and adjudication of a complaint. Upon notification by the Executive Director that an MPD employee has not cooperated as requested, the Police Chief shall cause appropriate disciplinary action to be instituted against the employee, and shall notify the Executive Director of the outcome of such action. An employee of the MPD shall not retaliate, directly or indirectly, against a person who files a complaint under this chapter. If a complaint of retaliation is sustained under this chapter, the subject police officer or employee shall be subject to appropriate penalty, including dismissal. Such disciplinary action shall not be taken with respect to an employee’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

(e) When the investigator completes the investigation, the investigator shall summarize the results of the investigation in an investigative report which, along with the investigative file, shall be transmitted to the Executive Director. After reviewing the investigative report and the investigative file, the Executive Director may dismiss the complaint in accordance with §§ 5-1107 and 5-1108, may direct the investigator to undertake additional investigation, or may refer the complaint to a complaint examiner designated by the Executive Director to determine the merits of the complaint.

(f) Upon receiving a complaint, a complaint examiner may request that the Executive Director order additional investigation, may proceed to determine the merits of the complaint in a fair and expeditious manner based on the investigative report and the investigative file, or may hold an evidentiary hearing. If the complaint examiner determines that an evidentiary hearing is necessary to determine fairly the merits of a complaint, the testimony at such hearing shall be under oath or affirmation, and the parties may be represented by counsel. A complaint examiner shall have the authority to administer an oath or affirmation to a witness.

(g) If, after the Executive Director assigns a complaint to a complaint examiner, the parties indicate to the complaint examiner that they are willing to resolve the complaint through conciliation or mediation, the complaint examiner may act as a conciliator or mediator. If a party already is represented by counsel, that party may continue to be represented by counsel during this conciliation or mediation process. If one party is represented by counsel and the other party is not so represented, the complaint examiner shall, upon request, give the unrepresented party a reasonable time to obtain counsel before commencing the mediation or conciliation process. Any resulting written conciliation or mediation agreement may be confidential as provided in § 5-1110(h), and neither any such agreement nor any oral nor written statement made by a party during the course of the conciliation or mediation process may be used as a basis for any discipline or recommended discipline of the subject police officer or officers or in any civil or criminal litigation, except as otherwise provided by the rules of court or the rules of evidence.

(h) Upon review of the investigative file and the evidence adduced at any evidentiary hearing, and in the absence of the resolution of the complaint by conciliation or mediation, the complaint examiner shall make written findings of fact regarding all material issues of fact, and shall determine whether the facts found sustain or do not sustain each allegation of misconduct. In making that determination, the complaint examiner may consider any MPD regulation, policy, or order that prescribes standards of conduct for police officers. For purposes of this chapter, these written findings of fact and determinations by the complaint examiner (collectively, the “merits determination”) may not be rejected unless they clearly misapprehend the record before the complaint examiner and are not supported by substantial, reliable, and probative evidence in that record.

(i) If the complaint examiner determines that one or more allegations in the complaint is sustained, the Executive Director shall transmit the entire complaint file, including the merits determination of the complaint examiner, to the Police Chief for appropriate action. If the complaint examiner determines that no allegation in the complaint is sustained, the Executive Director shall dismiss the complaint and notify the parties and the Police Chief in writing of such dismissal with a copy of the merits determination.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 12, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-921.


§ 5–1112. Action by the Metropolitan Police Department.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint file in which one or more allegations in a complaint has been sustained, the Police Chief shall cause the file to be reviewed within 5 working days after receiving the complaint file. This review shall not be conducted by persons from the same organizational unit as the subject police officer or officers. All persons conducting the review shall be senior in grade or rank to the subject police officer or officers.

(b) The review of the complaint file shall include a review of the personnel file of the subject officer or officers, including any record of prior misconduct by the subject police officer or officers. Within 15 working days after receiving the complaint file from the Police Chief, the reviewing officers shall make a written recommendation, with supporting reasons, to the Police Chief regarding an appropriate penalty from the Table of Penalties Guide in General Order 1202.1 (Disciplinary Procedures and Processes). This recommendation may include a proposal for any additional action by the Police Chief not inconsistent with the intent and purpose of the citizen complaint review process.

(c) The review may include a proposal that the Police Chief return the merits determination to the Executive Director for review by a final review panel as set forth in subsection (g) of this section, if those charged with the review conclude, with supporting reasons, that, insofar as it sustains one or more allegations in the complaint, the merits determination clearly misapprehends the record before the complaint examiner and is not supported by substantial, reliable, and probative evidence in that record. The staff recommendation may not propose the supplementation of the evidentiary record before the complaint examiner.

(d) Within 5 working days after receiving the staff recommendation, the Police Chief shall notify the complainant and the subject police officer or officers in writing of the staff recommendation, and shall afford the complainant and the subject police officer or officers an opportunity to file with the Police Chief, within a reasonable time period set by the Police Chief, a written response to the staff recommendation. The Police Chief shall give full consideration to the written responses received from the complainant and the subject police officer or officers before taking final action with regard to the complaint.

(e) Within 15 working days after receiving the written responses of the complainant and the subject officer or officers, or within 15 working days of the deadline set for receipt of such responses, whichever is earlier, the Police Chief shall issue a decision as to the imposition of discipline upon the subject police officer or officers. The decision of the Police Chief shall be in writing and shall set forth a concise statement of the reasons therefor. The Police Chief may not reject the merits determination, in whole or in part, unless the Police Chief concludes, with supporting reasons, that the merits determination clearly misapprehends the record before the complaint examiner and is not supported by substantial, reliable, and probative evidence in the record before the complaint examiner. The Police Chief may not supplement the evidentiary record.

(f) The Police Chief shall notify the Executive Director, the complainant, and the subject police officer or officers in writing of the action taken by the Police Chief within 10 business days after the action is taken, and shall include in such notice a copy of the decision.

(g) The decision of the Police Chief shall be a final decision with no further right of administrative review, other than as provided in § 5-1114(f), except in the following circumstances:

(1) The Police Chief may reopen any closed matter in the interests of fairness and justice; or

(2) If the Police Chief concludes on the basis of a staff recommendation under subsection (c) of this section, or otherwise, that insofar as it sustains one or more allegations of the complaint, the merits determination clearly misapprehends the record before the complaint examiner, and is not supported by substantial, reliable, and probative evidence in the record, the Police Chief shall return the merits determination to the Executive Director for review by a final review panel comprised of 3 complaint examiners (not including the complaint examiner who prepared the merits determination) selected by the Executive Director. Upon review of the record, and without taking any additional evidence, the final review panel shall issue a written decision, with supporting reasons, regarding the correctness of the merits determination to the extent that the Police Chief has concluded that it erroneously sustained one or more allegations of the complaint. The final review panel shall uphold the merits determination as to any allegation of the complaint that the determination was sustained, unless the panel concludes that the determination regarding the allegation clearly misapprehends the record before the original complaint examiner and is not supported by substantial, reliable, and probative evidence in that record. A copy of the decision of the final review panel shall be transmitted to the Executive Director, the complainant, the subject police officer or officers, and the Police Chief.

(h) If the final review panel concludes that the merits determination sustaining one or more allegations of the complaint should be reversed in its entirety, the Executive Director shall dismiss the complaint, and notify the parties and the Police Chief in writing of such dismissal. If the final review panel concludes that the merits determination should be upheld as to any allegation of the complaint that the determination has sustained, the Police Chief, within 15 working days of receipt of the panel’s decision, shall issue a supplemental decision as to the imposition of discipline upon the subject officer or officers that is fully consistent with the panel’s decision. The supplemental decision of the Police Chief shall be in writing and shall set forth a concise statement of the reasons therefor. The Police Chief shall notify the Executive Director, the complainant, and the subject police officer or officers in writing of the action taken by the Police Chief, and shall include in such notice a copy of the supplemental decision. The supplemental decision of the Police Chief shall be a final decision with no further right of administrative review, other than as provided in subsection (g) of this section and § 5-1114(f).


(Mar 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 13, 45 DCR 8107; Apr. 12, 2000, D.C. Law 13-91, § 137, 47 DCR 520; June 30, 2016, D.C. Law 21-125, § 208(c), 63 DCR 4659.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-922.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-91, in the last sentence of subsec. (h), substituted “subsection (g) of this section” for “section 13(g)”.


§ 5–1113. Effect of order dismissing complaint.

(a) An order of the Executive Director dismissing a complaint shall be a final resolution of the complaint by the Office. Such order shall be neither appealable to nor reviewable by any other entity, administrative or judicial.

(b) An order of the Executive Director dismissing a complaint for any reason, including a dismissal based upon an adjudication of the merits of a complaint by a complaint examiner and a decision of a final review panel that reverses a merits determination of a complaint examiner, shall not bar the complainant from seeking any judicial relief that may be available pursuant to the statutory and common law of the District of Columbia.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 14, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-923.


§ 5–1114. Metropolitan Police Department disciplinary authority.

(a) The MPD shall have full authority, under the procedures established pursuant to § 5-133.06, to initiate disciplinary proceedings against an officer of the MPD with respect to a charge of misconduct within the scope of § 5-1107 prior to the timely filing of a complaint with the Office.

(b) If the MPD has initiated disciplinary proceedings against an officer of the MPD for alleged misconduct, the subsequent timely filing with the Office of a complaint against the same officer or officers, alleging the same misconduct, shall not preclude the MPD from proceeding with its own disciplinary process. Nor shall the fact that the MPD has initiated disciplinary proceedings against a police officer for alleged misconduct preclude the Office from processing a complaint that was timely filed against the same officer and alleging the same misconduct, except that the Police Chief may not punish the same officer more than once for the same act or omission that constitutes misconduct.

(c) When the MPD has not initiated a disciplinary proceeding against a police officer prior to the timely filing of a complaint with the Office, the MPD shall not initiate a disciplinary proceeding against the subject police officer or officers with regard to misconduct alleged in such complaint until the Office disposes of the complaint.

(d) A merits determination by a complaint examiner, on the basis of an evidentiary hearing, that no allegation of misconduct in the complaint is sustained, as well as a decision of a final review panel that reverses in its entirety a merits determination that sustained one or more allegations of the complaint, precludes the MPD from imposing discipline on the subject police officer or officers with respect to any allegation of misconduct contained in the complaint.

(e) A merits determination by a complaint examiner, on the basis of an evidentiary hearing, or a later decision of a final review panel, if any, shall be binding on the subject police officer or officers and on the Police Chief in all subsequent proceedings as to all essential facts determined and all violations found.

(f) If the complaint examiner has not held an evidentiary hearing and the Police Chief imposes termination as a disciplinary action, the affected police officer shall be entitled to a post-termination administrative proceeding as provided by law. A police officer disciplined by the Police Chief, whether by termination or otherwise, shall be entitled to whatever administrative disciplinary proceeding is afforded under any applicable collective bargaining agreement.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 15, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-924.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-1112.


§ 5–1115. Funding and compensation.

(a) There are authorized such funds as may be necessary to support the Board and the Office.

(b) The establishment of the Board and the Office are dependent upon the availability of appropriated funds.

(c) Any entitlement to compensation under this chapter for services rendered shall be dependent upon the availability of appropriated funds to pay such compensation.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-208, § 16, 45 DCR 8107.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-925.