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791 How to make a complaint against a police officer(s) If you have a complaint against a police officer, there are several things you can do, including starting a civil lawsuit against the officer, laying a criminal charge, filing a complaint either directly with the involved police service or with the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services who will forward it to the police service on your behalf.
- LawsuitFirst, suing a police officer in a civil lawsuit generally involves preparing for a trial and going to court. If you are able to prove your complaint against the officer, the judge may order the officer to pay damages for the injuries you suffered. In most cases, it will be difficult to prove your complaint, and your chances of success will be minimal. In addition, it will be time consuming and very expensive to cover the costs of a formal trial. However, if you decide to pursue this method, make sure you start a civil action against the police officer within six months from when the event happened. For more information about starting a civil lawsuit, refer to other sections of Legal Line or consult a lawyer.
- Laying a criminal chargeSecond, if you believe a police officer has committed a criminal offence, you can lay a criminal charge against the officer. To lay a criminal charge, you need to meet with a Justice of the Peace, and swear on oath that a crime has been committed and explain the details of the event in question. Depending on the criminal offence in question, you may have a time limit for when charges can be laid. You should consult a lawyer for assistance.
- Filing a complaint with the PoliceThird, you may bring a public complaint against a police officer who is a member of either a municipal police service or the Ontario Provincial Police. The Police Services Act requires that complaints have to be in writing and signed by the complainant. This complaint can be submitted to the involved police service or to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services who will forward the complaint to the involved service. For your complaint to be investigated you need to have been directly affected by the police actions complained of, you should have submitted your complaint within six months of the complained of incident and, your complaint must be in good faith.