En Español Know Your Rights
Source: NY1
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Group Wants Better Handling of NYPD Complaint Board

A
coalition of New Yorkers are calling for changes to how officer misconduct
cases are handled through the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. NY1’s
Lily Jamali filed the following report.

**Iris Martinez filed a complaint with the
Civilian Complaint Review Board last year after she felt a member of the NYPD
acted out of bounds.

"I
was being constantly verbally harassed by an officer and she put her hands on
me and I felt very bad," said
Martinez.

At a
hearing of the city council’s public safety committee Thursday,
Martinez joined a coalition of New Yorkers
calling for changes to how officer misconduct cases are handled.

Right
now, if the CCRB investigates and finds misconduct on the part of an officer,
it sends the case on to the NYPD for action.

The
department can take several steps, from a talking to up to firing the officer
involved. But in the last five years, the NYPD has increasingly decided not to
prosecute — that is, not to take any action at all.

In 2003,
the department deemed just one percent of cases as "unable to
prosecute". In 2008, the department refused to prosecute in 35 percent of
cases.

"These
changes are of great concern to the board, which believes that a disciplinary
process which provides predictable outcomes and appropriate punishments is more
likely to deter future misconduct," said Franklin Stone, CCRB Chair.

Stone
says the CCRB should be given more authority to prosecute cases because the
NYPD shouldn’t be policing itself — something groups like the NYCLU agree
with.

NYPD
Deputy Commissioner Julie Schwartz says not all the cases that end up in her
office have merit.

In some,
she says, there’s not enough evidence to move forward. In others, perceived
misconduct, like the use of force, for example, might have been justified.

"It’s
my job to make sure it’s credible. To just write a charge that’s going to be
dismissed in nine months is not sending the appropriate message to our employees,"
said Schwartz.

But
working to make sure that message is as appropriate as possible could take some
time.

The
handling of police misconduct cases is expected to be taken up again in the
spring.

**Iris Martinez is an active member of MRNY’s Youth Power Project.