Frequently Asked Questions

Definitions

Questions about the Civilian Review Board

Questions about Complaints


Definitions

What is "abusive language"?

Abusive language means harsh, violent, profane, or derogatory language which would demean the dignity of an individual. Abusive language includes profanity and racial, ethnic, or sexist slurs. Abusive language specifically includes the use of remarks to be demeaning, humiliating, mocking, insulting, or belittling, that may or may not be based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity of an individual.

What is "excessive force"?

Excessive force means the use of greater physical force than reasonably necessary to confront someone, to arrest someone, to repel an attack, or to terminate resistance. Excessive force does not include force that is reasonably necessary to effect a lawful purpose.

What is "false arrest"?

False arrest is an arrest without legal justification.

What is "false imprisonment"?

False imprisonment is the intentional restriction without legal justification of the freedom of movement of a person who is aware of the restriction and who does not consent.

What is "harassment"?

Harassment is repeated, unwarranted verbal or physical annoyances. Harassment is also unwarranted threats or unwarranted demands.  Repeated or unwarranted conduct that is intended to be overtly demeaning, humiliating, mocking, insulting, or belittling is harassment.  Any conduct that is intended to cause unnecessary physical discomfort or injury is harassment.


Questions about the Civilian Review Board

What does the Civilian Review Board do?

The Civilian Review Board investigates complaints against officers of law enforcement agencies in the City of Baltimore.  In addition, the Civilian Review Board reviews policies of law enforcement agency and offers policy recommendations to leaders of law enforcement agencies.

What law enforcement units fall under the jurisdiction of the Civilian Review Board?

The following law enforcement units fall under the jurisdiction of the Civilian Review Board:


Questions about Complaints

What do I do if I think I was treated unjustly by an officer?

If you feel that your rights have been violated or that you were treated unjustly by an officer of a law enforcement agency, you should file a complaint.  To learn more about filing a complaint, you should visit the page Complaint Procedure or, if you want to start the process for filing a complaint online, you can do so on the page File a Complaint Online.

How long do I have to file a complaint?

It is important that you file a complaint as soon as possible, so that the events are still fresh in your mind.

If you file a complaint of excessive force, you have ninety days from the date of the incident to file.

For filing a complaint on acts of abusive language, harassment, false arrest, and false imprisonment, you have one year from the date of the incident to file.

Where can I file a complaint?

You can file a complaint at a number of designated locations.  A list of locations are available on the page Where to File a Complaint.  Alternatively, you can begin the process for filing a complaint by going to the page File a Complaint Online.

How do I file a complaint?

You can read more about filing a complaint with the Civilian Review Board on the page Complaint Procedure.