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Office of Police Complaints Prepares to Monitor 44th Annual March for Life

Thursday, January 26, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of Police Complaints (OPC), under the authority granted to its governing body, the Police Complaints Board (PCB), will monitor the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) response to the 44th Annual March for Life rally and protest on Friday, Jan. 27 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Under the “First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004,” the District Council authorized OPC to monitor and evaluate MPD’s management of large crowds that gather for protests or demonstrations in the District of Columbia. The legislation established policy standards for emphasizing communication and voluntary compliance, ensuring that citizens can exercise their First Amendment rights to protest peacefully.

OPC staff will monitor the rally and march between 15th Street and Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Staff will clearly be identifiable with black and silver jackets that display OPC’s logo on the front and the letters “OPC” on the back and will also wear neon yellow “Assembly Observer” arm bands.  In addition, agency staff will be equipped with video/audio recorders and OPC business cards.

“Our goal is to make sure that everyone is allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest peacefully,” said Michael G. Tobin, OPC’s executive director.  “And we do that by monitoring the police presence and their interactions with the demonstrators.”

Anyone who experiences or observes police misconduct during the March for Life should file a complaint directly through OPC’s website at www.policecomplaints.dc.gov/service/file-a-complaint using your electronic device or call the agency’s 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-866-588-0569.

PCB will issue a report on MPD’s handling of the inauguration protests, the Women’s March and the March for Life in February.  The report will be issued to the Mayor, the Council of the District of Columbia, and MPD’s Chief of Police.

For additional information or questions, please contact OPC at (202) 727-3838 or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OfficeofPoliceComplaints.