More than 40 Complaints Against Officer

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

Is 44 complaints in 11 years against a police officer an excessive number?  Off-duty West Palm Beach Police Officer Joseph Rizzo was involved in a brawl with a woman at a bar at CityPlace earlier this month.

A check of his internal affairs folder shows Rizzo has had 44 complaints filed by citizens in the last 11 years.

They include making rude remarks to the public,  using profane language with a dispatcher,  And not following orders.

Two more complaints come from other police departments he dealt with, saying Rizzo struck a handcuffed prisoner, and that Rizzo was "confrontational, antagonistic, and intimidating."

One person who filed a complaint against Rizzo is a mother of two small kids.

"He was very rude, and he was definitely not listening to anything I had to say. His attitude was that his position in the police department gave him the authority to do whatever he wanted,"  said Dorene Bove of Boynton Beach.

A West Palm Beach Police spokesman told us that while there are  44 complaints against Officer Rizzo, they are not necessarily things that were found to be credible. Anyone, he points out, can file a complaint against a police officer.

"Police officers come into daily contact with the general public and in some instances they must make an arrest or issue a ticket. Complaints from those who are arrested or cited are not uncommon in law enforcement.  It would be unfair and incorrect to draw any conclusion about any officer based solely on the number of unfounded complaints filed against them," said Chase Scott, police spokesman.