The District of Columbia Office of Police Complaints (OPC) recently participated in the second annual DC Africa Festival, hosted by the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs at the Takoma Park Recreational Center in Northwest Washington. This year’s theme was “One City, Many Voices: Showcasing Africa’s Cultural and Economic Contributions to the District of Columbia.”
At the festival, which took place on July 17, 2011, OPC sponsored a booth that was visited by dozens of people who came to learn about the agency’s services and efforts to promote greater police accountability. Several staff members worked at the event and answered questions about the complaint process. Informational brochures were offered in French, Amharic, and English.
OPC’s goal of broadening outreach to the African community recognizes that Washington, DC, and neighboring communities in Maryland and Virginia are home to the second largest number of African immigrants in the United States, totaling more than 100,000 people. Ethiopians, Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans, and Ghanaians form the largest African communities in the area.
“Community outreach is a critical function of this agency,” said Philip K. Eure, executive director of OPC. “It’s important that all residents of and visitors to the District, including those who might be more culturally or linguistically isolated, understand that they have the right to file complaints alleging police misconduct.”
To request a presentation from OPC at a community forum or to get more information about the agency, please visit our website at www.policecomplaints.dc.gov. The website also contains the informational material distributed at the festival, as well as complaint forms in 14 languages other than English. For more information about the Office on African Affairs, visit www.oaa.dc.gov.