Federal prosecutors declined to bring charges against law enforcement officers in the United States facing allegations of civil rights violations in 96 percent of such cases between 1995 and 2015, according to an investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper.
The newspaper examined nearly 3 million U.S. Justice Department records related to how the department’s 94 U.S. attorney’s offices across the country, and in U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, handled civil rights cases against officers.
The data included cases referred to the Justice Department by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, as well as investigations that prosecutors opened on their own.
Overall, prosecutors turned down 12,703 potential civil rights violations out of 13,233 total complaints. By contrast, prosecutors rejected only about 23 percent of referrals in all other types of criminal cases, the newspaper said.