The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

How to Sue the Philly Police Dept.

A Temple University photojournalism student and girlfriend are suing two Philadelphia police officers. He claims the two cops falsely arrested them in 2012 when he was a photographing a neighbor's arrest, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

When a person is wrongfully arrested or injured by a law enforcement officer -- including false arrest, police brutality, or another form of police misconduct -- he or she may have legal remedies available.

But how do you sue the Philadelphia Police Department?

Submit a Citizen's Complaint

Before initiating a lawsuit, you must first exhaust your administrative remedies by reporting the incident to the Philadelphia Police Department's Internal Affairs Division.

To do this, fill out and submit an online Official Complaint Form. Include as much detail as possible, including the date, time, and location of the incident, the identities of the officer(s) involved if known, and a statement of the circumstances surrounding your complaint.

You can also download and complete a paper version of the Citizen's Complaint form (a Spanish version is also available) and mail or deliver it to the following office: Internal Affairs Division, 7790 Dungan Road, Philadelphia, PA 19111

The form must be submitted within a certain time period after the injury occurs. For example, in New York City, you must submit a formal complaint within 90 days of the incident. Contact the Internal Affairs Division to find out by when you must submit your form. The Internal Affairs Division is open from 8:10 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. and may be reached by telephone at 215-685-5056, 5057 or 5058.

Wait for a Response

Once you've filed your claim, it's a waiting game. If you use the electronic form, you will receive an email from the PPD's Internal Affairs Bureau within 72 hours of submitting the form. An investigator will follow up with you directly through a phone call, if a number is provided, or first class mail, within 10 calendar days of receiving your complaint.

You must wait for a response before you can move forward. If the division ultimately rejects your claim, or fails to respond within the allotted time, then you can generally proceed with a full-fledged lawsuit.

The overall process of suing the Philadelphia Police Department is is very complicated. It's best to consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after sustaining an injury so you can jump through all of the legal hoops without missing any important deadlines.

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