Code of the District of Columbia

§ 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.