NEWS Page 3A - May 20, 1992

Brutality reports tallied

By Richard Willing, Detroit News

WASHINGTON - Big-city police in the South and West account for most police brutality complaints, a Justice Department study released Tuesday shows.

The formula for ranking the departments considers jurisdiction size and complaint and arrest totals.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who requested the study in March 1991 after the videotaped Rodney King beating, called it a "major disappointment" because it doesn't break down the race of complainants and police.

The study inventories 15,000 complaints lodged with the Justice Department and investigated by the FBI.

The department warns the ranking isn't accurate because the report covered misconduct allegations in only 4,400 of the nation's 16,000 police departments and included federal agencies, jails and prisons.

Most of the complaints involved brutality. Some had civil rights violations.

The report tallied only federal complaints, omitting misconduct at the local level. Whether charges were proved was not known.

Complaints Police and sheriff departments with the highest average number of brutality complaints annually between October 1984 and September

1990. Area Complaints

New Orleans 35

Los Angeles County 34

Jefferson Parish, La. 23

San Antonio 21

El Paso 18

Houston 18

Chicago 17

St. Louis 15

San Diego 15

New York 14

Los Angeles 14

Puerto Rico 14

Source: Justice Department

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