Twenty-eight police officers in Beijing have been cleared of wrongdoing after being falsely accused by residents of improper use of their authority, the Beijing Public Security Bureau said in a statement.
Since January, the authorities have investigated 107 cases in which police officers were reported for improper enforcement. The 28 officers cleared so far represent only a portion of the total, and other investigations are continuing, according to a statement provided by the bureau's rights protection division.
On Aug 17, a woman surnamed Zhong called the public security bureau seven times, the statement said, alleging that a police officer in the Tiancun station, in Haidian district, had hit her a month earlier and demanded money at the small inn she owns and operates.
Video of the incident did not support Zhong's claim, the bureau said. It also showed that some people were allowed to check in without identity cards.
A subsequent investigation revealed that some people also checked in with fake cards.
Zhong, 35, from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, refused to allow the officer to search her room, and twice refused to comply with administrative punishments, or fines, levied by the police in the month before she contacted the bureau, the statement said. Zhong has been detained on allegations of making false charges, it said.
Liu Yuxi, director of the bureau's rights protection division, cleared the accused police officer on Aug 20.
"Protecting the rights of each police officer, especially the grassroots ones, shows respect for them, and they deserve support from us," Liu said.
"We visit injured police officers and give legal aid to those who have been accused. If their cases are part of a lawsuit, we'll also coordinate lawyer consultants to solve the dispute," he said, adding that four injured police officers in the capital have been paid more than 40,000 yuan ($6,520) in compensation.
Rights-protection bodies across the city have handled about 390 complaints against police officers between January and June. Of those, most of the people who complained - about 69 percent - have received criminal detentions for making false charges or assaulting or otherwise injuring police officers, according to data from the bureau.
In one case, in January, a police officer surnamed Li, who declined to give his full name, was assaulted by a woman surnamed Fu when Li was on duty in a subway station.
"She pushed me to the ground and beat me when I asked her to show her identity card," Li said.
On Sept 3, Fu was sentenced to 18 months in prison for disturbing public order, the Legal Evening News reported.
Police officers sometimes use their authority improperly. In one high-profile case in Chengdu, Sichuan province, a traffic officer beat a driver who had not paid fines, and then detained the man for nine days, according to media reports.
The police officer was suspended and reportedly apologized to the driver.
Such incidents hurt the reputation of law enforcement and tend to encourage false charges, according to Zhao Li, a criminal lawyer in Beijing.
Zhao said the key to reducing false charges, assaults and other problems involving police officers lies in changing rough law-enforcement tactics.
At the same time, a police officer is also a citizen who should be protected by the law, Zhao said.
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