In June of 2020, New York State lawmakers repealed a law that kept secret police disciplinary records. The repeal came after a long-running battle regarding access to clear information about police discipline across the state. Police unions fought against the law, and there will likely be future legal battles. But for now, released records provide some insight into the reality of police misconduct.
The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) posted more than 300,000 misconduct complaints filed against NYPD officers over the last three decades. The records include all complaints to the Civilian Review Board since 1985. They involve 81,550 officers from rank and file to the current commissioner. The published records offer a broader view of the conduct of police officers and how they are disciplined. Complaints ranged from using profanity or racial slurs to chokeholds and beatings during arrests.
The NYCLU noted that less than 3% of the complaints in the database resulted in discipline for the officers involved. Penalties can range from a letter in their personnel file to suspension or termination. Only 12 officers involved in the complaints were terminated from their jobs. It is clear that the department is unwilling to hold officers accountable for their actions and is unable to police itself. The publication of these records leads to greater transparency and a more accurate picture of the degree of police misconduct. Policymakers can now identify patterns and problems within the law enforcement system.
Accountability for Police Misconduct
However, the unfortunate truth is that many people who are the victims of police misconduct don’t file formal complaints. Police officers who engage in misconduct must be held accountable for their actions. The NYPD must also be held accountable for the actions of its officers and its failure to properly train and discipline them. If an individual has been injured or had their rights violated as a result of police misconduct, then they can pursue compensation from the officer and the department.
Contact a Police Brutality Attorney
If you were the victim of police misconduct, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced attorney. For over 50 years, Bonina & Bonina, P.C, has been helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.