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Office of Police Complaints

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Mediation: Unannounced Visits and Harassment

A restaurant owner filed a complaint against two officers alleging that their routine, unannounced visits to his establishment were evidence of their intention to harass him by finding violations of the law and reporting his restaurant to the authorities.

During the mediation session, the officers explained that their visits were part of an overall effort to keep the peace in local bars and restaurants, not an attempt to cause him any harm.  The complainant listened to the officers and, while initially skeptical, better understood by the end of the session their challenges in working to keep the neighborhood safe with inadequate resources.  The officers assured the complainant that they had no intentions of reporting violations to cause him harm.  They also indicated that the few times violations had been reported as a result of activity in or near the restaurant premises, the officers were required by law to report them.

The complainant and the officers then shifted their attention to the future, using the session to discuss their mutual concerns about managing the large crowds that descend on the area just outside the complainant’s restaurant.  The officers shared information about securing extra police coverage by private contract and the possibility of pooling resources with other establishments in the neighborhood to obtain such services.  They also clarified their expectations about how they would communicate in the future so as to avoid misunderstandings of the sort that brought them to mediation.