Our citizens gripe about craziest stuff

I spend a fair amount of time digging through reports to find interesting stories to share with you dear readers. Like the IRS, I have learned which phrases are likely to yield actionable content. For example, The 2012 Annual Report from the Office of Citizen Complaints contains the words “citizen” and “complaint,” so you know there’s some gold in them thar pages.

The purpose of the office is to “fairly and impartially investigate complaints against San Francisco police officers and make policy recommendations regarding police practices.” Of course, complaints of excessive force, profiling and abusive behavior are no laughing matter. Other complaints are.

There are complaints that have an “only in San Francisco” element, like this one: “An officer engaged in inappropriate behavior by videotaping a complainant and making a comment about having a YouTube account when the complainant was videotaping the officer’s interaction with homeless persons. The complainant believed that the complainant’s image would be broadcast on YouTube.”

Or these:

“No empathy.”

“Unnecessary use of police vehicle loudspeaker.”

“No help with child exchange.”

Then there are complaints that aren’t funny, but are fascinating. Like this one: “Complainant drove his recovered stolen car and a few weeks later officers detained him at gunpoint.” And: “An officer engaged in inappropriate behavior by telling the complainant that he felt sorry for her boyfriend when the officer cited the complainant for driving the wrong way down a one-way street.”

And there are the complaints that make me want to know the whole story. “Officers are stalking the complainant in his apartment all the time,” “Failed to accept a private person’s arrest” and “Ordered to leave book fair.”

But my favorite is the one that turned the tables and reported an officer, “Talking on cell phone while driving.”

Melissa Griffin’s column runs each Thursday and Sunday. She also appears Mondays in “Mornings with Melissa” at  6:45 a.m. on KPIX (Ch. 5). Email her at mgriffin@sfexaminer.com.

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