The Harvard Mediation Program (HMP) has partnered with the Boston Police Department (BPD) to mediate minor citizen complaints against police officers. Cases will be referred by the BPD who will determine which police officers and types of complaints are eligible for mediation (e.g., cases involving violence, a pending lawsuit, potential civil rights violations, or those that allege gender or racial discrimination, will not be mediated). Some of the cases that can be eligible for mediation involve disrespectful treatment, unbecoming conduct or unreasonable judgment. The most serious complaints will continue to be investigated by the Internal Affairs Division of the BPD. Grievances involving criminal allegations will be reviewed by the city’s Anti-Corruption Unit. If you have a complaint about a police officer, please contact the Boston Police Department directly.
Once a complaint is found to be eligible for mediation, the officer and the complainant are contacted to see whether they are interested in resolving the matter through mediation. If all parties agree to try mediation, the complainant, officer and two mediators will meet at a designated location to discuss the incident in question. Both the complainant and the officer will be given an opportunity to explain their respective positions regarding the incident in question. The role of the mediators will be to work closely with the parties by listening to each person’s story, identifying areas of interests, exploring possible solutions that are mutually acceptable and helping them move forward.