Use-Of-Force Report Finds NYPD Completely Uninterested In Policing Itself

from the the-NYPD-is-unstoppable-because-it-never-beats-itself dept

The NYPD's Inspector General has just released a report on the department's use of force and there's nothing in it that's good news. It finds that the problem begins at the top and only gets worse from there.

[T]his Report analyzes and evaluates NYPD’s disciplinary system, including a close review of cases where OIG-NYPD, through independent review, determined that the use of force was not reasonable by any standard and not justified by any exigent circumstances or the need to protect an officer’s or the public’s safety. Historically, NYPD has frequently failed to discipline officers who use force without justification.
This is a failure of management. The report notes that the department's guidelines on force usage are so minimal they're almost nonexistent.
NYPD’s current use-of-force policy is vague and imprecise, providing little guidance to individual officers on what actions constitute force. NYPD’s current use-of-force Patrol Guide procedure, which is barely more than a page of text, is completely silent on what actions constitute “force.” The Patrol Guide likewise prohibits “excessive force” while offering no clarity on what constitutes “excessive force.” Officers are given few clear-cut rules when determining whether their actions constitute force and whether such actions must be reported.
With nothing to go on, officers make up their own rules as they go. And they're seldom punished for their actions. This ties in directly with the lack of guidance. It's kind of hard to punish someone for violating guidelines that don't exist. (When you have little desire to punish officer misconduct at all, the lack of solid force rules makes punishment almost impossible.)

On top of the limited guidance for use of force, the department does not instruct officers to use de-escalation tactics, only making the tiniest nod towards it when bringing in new officers.
NYPD spends only a portion of a four-and-a-half-hour course teaching de-escalation, out of 468 classroom hours—less than one percent of the curriculum. There is currently no Academy course specifically devoted to learning and practicing de-escalation techniques.
Excessive force complaints continue to mount. Officers abuse citizens and nothing happens. The amount of sustained complaints against NYPD officers is little more than a rounding error.
This total of 207 substantiated force allegations is based on the data provided to OIG-NYPD by CCRB. The total number of substantiated force allegations represents approximately 2.0% of the more than 10,000 allegations of force received by CCRB from 2010 to 2014.
The Inspector General found that the department not only had no guidance on use of force but nearly no standardized reporting on use-of-force incidents. In addition, when use-of-force complaints are substantiated by the CCRB (Civilian Complaint Review Board), NYPD management often delivered less severe disciplinary measures than those recommended by the Board.


And it's not just a few "bad apples." Officers involved in excessive force complaints were often accompanied by other officers who did nothing to rein in their colleagues. (From substantiated excessive force complaints.)
The second officer failed to intervene when the subject officer initially lost his temper and stood several feet away with his hands in his pockets. The second officer remained passive and did nothing to intervene or take control of the situation, even once the complainant was on the ground and the subject officer continued to yell at him.

[...]

Throughout the entire encounter, one of the four officers has been standing to the side observing the interaction. This officer does not intervene after the first, second, third, or fourth strike to the complainant’s face, and he does not even move. The officer stands passively, a few feet away, with his thumbs hooked in his belt. Only once the man is on the ground and has been struck a fifth and sixth time does that officer approach, place one hand on the subject officer’s back, and appear to intervene halfheartedly.
And even when complaints are substantiated (in the 2% of cases that actually make it that far), nothing happens. (From substantiated complaints.)
CCRB substantiated the force allegation against the subject officer, but he ultimately received no discipline.

[....]

CCRB substantiated the force allegation against the subject officer. The other officers’ force allegations were exonerated by CCRB. At the time of the writing of this Report, no disciplinary decision has been reached in this case, despite the matter being in the NYPD disciplinary process for the past seven months.

[...]

CCRB substantiated the force allegation against the subject officer. No other force allegations were made against the other officers. Discipline was not imposed in this case because the statute of limitation expired before CCRB forwarded the case to NYPD for disciplinary disposition.

[...]

CCRB substantiated the two force allegations against the subject officer. At the time of the writing of this Report, no disciplinary decision has been reached in this case despite the matter being in the NYPD disciplinary process for the past 20 months.
The OIG recommends a complete overhaul of the NYPD's use-of-force policies, as well as the creation of new incident reporting systems. The problem is that these recommendations are being handed to a police force that clearly has no interest in fixing its problems.
As noted, OIG-NYPD examined 104 substantiated allegations from the initial complaint through investigation, prosecution, and final decision. From these data, OIG-NYPD found that the trends initially observed in the January 2015 Chokehold Report are not an anomaly, but appear to be endemic of a larger dissonance between CCRB and NYPD. In a number of cases, the Department has failed to meet its fundamental obligation to police itself.
The NYPD's culture is rotten. This may be the beginning of a departmental overhaul, but this seems unlikely. The NYPD has weathered plenty of negative reports from oversight, thousands of excessive force complaints and dozens of civil rights lawsuits without it appearing to have any impact on the rank-and-file, much less the department's upper management.

What this report does do is provide the public with more data on just how screwed up the NYPD is. This may seem useless on its own, but it fits into the larger scheme of things. Every bit of data, every damning piece of cell phone footage, every substantiated claim -- whether punished or not -- strips a little more the protective paint off the thin blue line.

As Brooklyn criminal-defense attorney Ken Womble points out at FaultLines, we're winning the "War on Cops," even if progress seems minimal.
I have worked in Brooklyn for years, mainly in criminal defense. Brooklyn is, unfortunately, ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding the true nature of policing. Brooklyn juries are receptive to the idea that a cop would plant a gun on a suspect to push a false arrest. They are open to the argument that the word of a cop is worth very little. They understand these things because they have seen NYPD misconduct first hand. When the black woman on your jury has a son that has been arrested repeatedly for merely walking around his own neighborhood, she is going to have a healthy (and realistic) dose of skepticism about the police narrative.

I am optimistic. There is so much wrong with our system but the way we fight that is to open our mouths and tell our stories. That is why the Fault Lines project is so important. Police in this country have remained untouchable because we refuse to touch them. We are witnessing a cultural shift in the way people see cops. The stories of police abuse that are so common to Brooklyn are now common everywhere. With each story, the great American jury pool is turning.
Add the Inspector General's report to the growing pile of evidence that police officers haven't earned the unquestioning deference that has been afforded them for far too long.

Filed Under: nypd, use of force


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 Oct 2015 @ 1:31am

    You don't re-paint a house destroyed by rot and termites, you bulldoze it

    The OIG recommends a complete overhaul of the NYPD's use-of-force policies, as well as the creation of new incident reporting systems.

    At this point forget 'complete overhaul', the entire force, top to bottom, needs to be fired and replaced. When the entire force is corrupt, then minor changes or 'clarifications' of policies that are already being ignored aren't going to cut it. Get rid of every last one of them, and start fresh. This would both allow them to start from a clean slate, as well as show both public and police what happens if things get too out of hand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Oct 2015 @ 4:22am

    Despite us knowing the 'War on Cops' is just BS PR to grab more power... can they not see this sort of attitude & disrespect for those they are supposed to serve and protect breeds that sort of contempt?
    Do they think they can keep grabbing enough power to stay ahead of the growing rage in the populace? Perhaps they think they know how to contain the volcanic forces building up in the community pushed to its limits and beyond... yeah they seem that stupid.

    Even someone abused by a spouse sometimes hits that point where they make the hitting stop permanently. Funny thing is they give the spouse the same kind of pass they like to give cops... it is never the desired outcome, but when the abuse continues and no system seems willing or able to help, self help looks pretty good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 6 Oct 2015 @ 8:00am

      Re:

      I've always said that when discontent with the status quo reaches critical mass, change is inevitable.

      Don't these people understand that or are they too drunk with power to consider the possibility that something will eventually be done to call them to account?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Poe Slaw, 6 Oct 2015 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re:

        Drunk with power? You clearly don't understand how hard it is to be a police officer.

        If an officer doesn't have the ability to enforce their authority over every situation in the way that they choose, they can die. This is a fact supported by recent news stories. We should appreciate the work done by the good cops, and let the current processes punish the bad ones.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 9:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          let the current processes punish the bad ones.

          Yeah, because "paid administrative leave" is so punitive.

          In the private sector, we call the same thing "paid vacation." And it's hardly considered a punishment.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Based upon your user name I am assuming that your post is intended to be a sarcastic replica of the typical supporter talking points reply.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Poe Slaw, 6 Oct 2015 @ 12:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Don't you know there's a War on Cops? There are articles about it and everything. Every time an officer dies in the line of duty, it is meticulously tracked and reported by the media so we know about it. Make no mistake that officers are the targets of bad people with worse motives.

            And the same thing happens when police make mistakes, or have to defend themselves while working. It's easy to know who's involved on both sides, and there's administrative process for the officer makes sure that they're extended the same protections that any member of the public would have in a similar situation.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), 6 Oct 2015 @ 4:44am

    Where's Tom Selleck when you need him?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jay, 6 Oct 2015 @ 5:18am

    Use of force

    My 65 yr old father was killed by the NYPD with use of force when they broke open his door with machine guns and killed him with a heart attack. NYPD and supreme courts are breaking the American constitutional rights, that's a worse crime then a compliant of the smell of someone smoking in their home. God see's all ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 6:24am

      Re: Use of force

      The sad reality is that you have to sue them to even try to get compensation for the rights they take away by their mere presence. Without even knowing the details I can promise you none of them did even the first most basic attempts to make sure he was cared for after they messed up.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 5:25am

    Nothing more scary than poorly trained civilians in blue with guns

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 7:03am

    This has been going on for decades

    The only difference now is that nearly everyone walks around with a video camera 100% of the time, so NOW the abuses of the bullies, thugs, rapists, and murderers in the NYPD are being documented.

    And it's obvious from watching those videos that the NYPD involved have done this before. They're comfortable with their behavior even when they know it's being recorded because they know that their fellow officers will lie for them, that others will conceal or destroy evidence, that prosecutors won't aggressively come after them, that most juries will side with them. So they feel to engage in public torture and execution secure in the knowledge that -- at most -- they might get a written reprimand and a few days off.

    An NYPD badge is a license to do anything and the sociopaths who carry them know it. Every single one of them should be fired and blacklisted from any form of public service for life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 6 Oct 2015 @ 7:18am

    Fault Lines may be very correct here.

    It's not just jury nullification, it's the police having little to no credibility in the eyes of the jury.

    Video from others is becoming more common, with more cases of citizens winning civil suits against the police.

    The badge is tarnished, and the public is starting to see that. And the police only have themselves to blame.

    When police and DA's are failing to get convictions because the police testimony is no longer credible, contradicted by video, and the city is paying more in claims than the police budget, what do they do then?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 8:29am

    It is almost as if the NYPD has become a criminal organization. With the average cop equal to a mob enforcer

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 8:32am

    Or if you prefer

    If then police refuse to police themselves people are going to start killing dirty cops. Though they might consider every cop a dirty cop at this rate in new york

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 9:07am

    The NYPD are far from the worst (excessively violent) police in the country.

    For comparison, Albuquerque Police shoot and kill as many people as New York police, despite being a town with a population that's only a tiny fraction of New York.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2015 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      Yes but we are talking the NYPD here. Come time we will have another story about other dirty cops. It is almost as if you are trying to deflect attention from the NYPD by saying other cops are worse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 6 Oct 2015 @ 12:23pm

    Anarchy NYPD Style

    Use-Of-Force Report Finds NYPD Completely Uninterested In Policing Itself

    Why should NYPD be concerned with policing itself when NYPD has the city of New York happily squander half a billion dollars in tax-payer monies over five years in order to cover up NYPD malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance rather than holding the officers directly responsible (thank you not so supreme court and your worthless doctrine of qualified/absolute immunity nothing like legislating from the bench) for their criminal actions or lack thereof.

    Police Abuse Cases Forced NYC To Pay $428,000,000 in False Arrest and Civil Rights Settlements
    October 19, 2014 2:33 pm

    Five years and almost $500,000,000. That’s how much the militarized NYPD’s police brutality has cost the tax-payers of New York in only five short years.

    http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/10/police-abuse-cases-forced-nyc-to-pay-428000000-in-false- arrest-and-civil-rights-settlements/#


    Has NYC squandering almost $500 billion in five years settling cases of NYPD brutality affected the manner in which NYPD goes about it's job?

    NO, it has not, as NYC has, according to the excerpted paragraph below, squandered $103 million in police brutality settlements in just the first 6 months of 2014 (latest year reported).

    In the first six months of this year alone, the City of New York has forked over almost $103 million in out-of-court settlements for police misconduct and civil rights cases

    Start holding NYPD officers personally accountable for their actions and the amount of brutality will fall. This is not rocket science but rather human nature.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 12:23pm

    If an officer doesn't have the ability to enforce their authority over every situation in the way that they choose, they can die. This is a fact supported by recent news stories.
    Nonetheless, the most dangerous occupations in 2013 were:
    1. Logger
    2. Fisherman
    3. Pilot/Flight Engineer
    4. Roofer
    5. Garbageman
    6. Mining machine operator
    7. Truck driver/cabbie
    8. Farmer
    9. Power line worker
    10. Construction laborer
    The list is pretty consistent from year to year (usually high iron workers are on it). You know what job isn't on it? Cop. This is a fact from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    We should appreciate the work done by the good cops, and let the current processes punish the bad ones.
    First, any cop who know abuse is happening and doesn't take steps to stop it or report it is one of the bad ones, even if s/he isn't committing the abuse themselves. And second, "current processes" are mostly worthless and don't do squat to either prevent abuse or to punish the bad ones. Unless you think a month's paid leave is punishment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2015 @ 12:35pm

    I wonder: how long?

    Throughout the entire encounter, one of the four officers has been standing to the side observing the interaction. This officer does not intervene after the first, second, third, or fourth strike to the complainant’s face, and he does not even move. The officer stands passively, a few feet away, with his thumbs hooked in his belt. Only once the man is on the ground and has been struck a fifth and sixth time does that officer approach, place one hand on the subject officer’s back, and appear to intervene halfheartedly.

    This right here is movie like corrupt cops. I know it isn't something new, but this kind of behaviour is so practiced that they know excactly how much they can get away with.
    "Hey Jimmy, I know you are new, but we usually stop at four, any more and we would get suspended with full pay and then we couldn't do this legally."
    There is only one thing to do. Hit them hard and suddenly! Do not slowly try to turn this around and get them used to the new rules. Punish those cops hard and severely and we would get alot of them off the streets before it finally sink in.
    This is not "just" assault, but assault plus the abuse of power and trust they have been given. These facts should be enough to give them double the normal punishment plus a discharge from the police WITHOUT keeping their pensions and benifits.
    It makes me angry that it doesn't go without saying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 7 Oct 2015 @ 5:18pm

    An Interesting Depository of Adversary Extermination

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-databas e

    NOTE: You will have to remove the mysterious space between the "s" and the "e" in the word "database", at the end of the URL, which no amount of editing on my end could eliminate.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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