2020 2nd Qtr

Citizen Complaints against Officers
2020 2nd Quarter

All citizen complaints against officers are documented and investigated by the department’s supervisors. Once the investigation is complete, it is reviewed by the Section Commander, Division Commander and then forwarded to the Office of the Chief where the decision is made as to the finding of the complaint. Complaints questioning the basis for a citation or arrest are not documented and those complainants are advised to go through the court system.

There are four different categories of complaint findings:

  • Sustained - The investigation produced a preponderance of evidence to prove the allegation did in fact occur and the action of the officer was improper.
  • Not Sustained - The investigation failed to produce a preponderance of evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation.
  • Exonerated - The allegation in fact did occur but the actions of the officer were legal, justified, proper, and in accordance with the law and the department’s policies and procedures.
  • Unfounded - The allegation in fact did not occur, based on the evidence.

During this quarter, there were fifteen citizen’s complaints against officers. The findings for these complaints are as follows:

  1. On 4/26/2020, a citizen complained about abusive language used by an officer of the Sioux Falls Police Department stemming from an incident that occurred in February of 2020.An investigation was conducted and found that the officer used abusive language in the incident.The complaint was sustained.
  2. On 5/2/2020, a citizen complained that an officer of our department used excessive force against him causing an injury.An investigation into the complaint was conducted. The investigation revealed that the complainant ran from police and upon being caught was uncooperative.He was handcuffed but continued to be uncooperative and struggle against his handcuffs. The officer’s video and audio recordings, along with two independent citizen witnesses, confirmed that there was no excessive force used in this incident. This complaint is unfounded.
  3. On 5/7/2020, a citizen filed a complaint against an Animal Control Officer for a lack of performance in their duties. The complaint detailed incidents going back to April of this year. An investigation into the multiple complaints was conducted and found that the Animal Control Officer was acting under his authority and was responding to calls in the appropriate manner. The complaint was unfounded.
  4. On 5/11/2020, a citizen complained that she was improperly handcuffed by officers causing injury. A Sergeant responded to investigate the complaint. The complainant was observed to have multiple old scabs on her arms and very dry skin. The handcuffs had rubbed some scab off in spots. A review of the video showed the complainant struggling against the handcuffs trying to get them off. The minor injuries were caused by the actions of the complainant and the complaint was unfounded.
  5. On 5/21/20202, a filed a complaint of an excessive use of force. An investigation into the complaint was conducted. The investigation showed that officers took the complainant into custody with legal authority and that when they tried to handcuff the complainant, she began to resist them violently. The officers were able to eventually take the complainant into custody but she continued to be uncooperative. During the struggle, the complainant suffered minor scrapes and abrasions from her resistive actions. The officers acted within the law and used the least amount of force necessary and were exonerated of this complaint.
  6.  On 5/22/2020, a citizen filed a complaint against an officer accusing him of calling and threatening her five years ago. The complaint was investigated and due to its age, video evidence of the incident was no longer available. Due to a lack of evidence the complaint was not sustained.
  7. On 5/26/2020, a Sergeant responded to an officer notifying him of an arrestee sustaining an injury from a fall. The Sergeant responded to document the injury and asked what happened. The arrestee told the Sergeant that he had hit him, indicating the Sergeant who wasn’t at the call. A review of the in-car video showed that the arrestee, who was extremely intoxicated, fell down during the arrest procedure causing the abrasion to his face. The officers notified the Sergeant immediately. There was no assault and the complaint was unfounded.
  8. On 6/4/2020 a citizen filed a complaint of excessive use of force against an officer that allegedly occurred in 2017.  This complaint had been investigated in 2017 as a use of force incident in which the complainant had violently resisted officer’s attempts to arrest him.  The investigation revealed that officers had been justified in their uses of force at that time.  This complaint is unfounded.
  9. On 6/5/2020 a citizen filed a complaint against an officer for discriminatory actions against her son. An investigation was opened into this incident. This revealed that the actions of the officer were proper and conducted as parts of multiple investigations into the offender based on their actions and not based on anything else. The complaint against this officer was unfounded.
  10. On 6/8/2020 a citizen filed a complaint of abusive language by police. An investigation was conducted of the complaint to include a video review from the officer’s car. The video showed that the allegations against the officer did not occur. The complaint was unfounded.
  11. On 6/14/2020, a citizen filed a complaint that he was stopped because of racial profiling. An investigation was conducted into the incident and this revealed the complainant was called in for a noise disturbance coming from his vehicle and that officer had a valid reason to stop the vehicle. The stop was not based on racial profiling. This complaint was not sustained.
  12. On 6/15/2020, a citizen called to file a complaint about an officer being rude and discourteous. An investigation was conducted into the incident. The investigation revealed that the officer was not rude nor discourteous to the citizen. This incident is unfounded.
  13. On 6/15/2020, a citizen filed a complaint which stemmed from an incident occurring in December of 2019.The citizen alleged that they had been falsely arrested by police. An investigation was conducted into this complaint. In this incident officers responded to a call for service for a person refusing to leave. This person was the complainant who was refusing to leave a store. Officers tried multiple times to convince the person to leave but they demanded they be arrested. Eventually officers did arrest the person for a failure to vacate charge. The complaint was unfounded.
  14. On 6/17/2020, a citizen filed a complaint against an officer for threatening him. An investigation was opened into this complaint. A Sergeant contacted the complainant to hear their complaint and the complainant made numerous statements about police activity. The investigation showed that none of these had occurred and in fact the complainant was being untruthful in some of the information he presented in the complaint. The complaint was unfounded.
  15. On 6/22/2020 a person called to complain that they were not being kept abreast of an investigation they were related to. The incident they were calling about occurred the day before and hadn’t been followed up yet. The detective followed up shortly after the complaint. This complaint of a lack of service is unfounded.