Police officers across the nation were called on last year to respond to widespread protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Now, New York City cops who responded to such demonstrations are facing mounting scrutiny by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is recommending disciplinary measures against dozens of officers. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio has already signaled his support.
“Failure to follow proper protocols”
According to the Washington Post, the board wants to see officers accused of misconduct face consequences including mandatory training, docked vacation days, suspensions, terminations, or even criminal charges.
In a report, the CCRB noted that 750 complaints were filed against New York Police Department personnel during the protests, including 313 that fell within its jurisdiction.
Of those 313 complaints, 210 have been closed. There have been 127 full investigations with 103 still pending.
Dozens of complaints have been substantiated, implicating 65 officers in alleged misconduct. The board recommends charges against 35 of the officers and less severe disciplinary measures against the other 30.
Additional recommendations might have been included, but the board lamented the “unprecedented challenges in investigating these complaints particularly around the identification of officers due to the failure to follow proper protocols, officers covering their names and shield, officers wearing protective equipment that did not belong to them, the lack of proper use of body-worn cameras, as well as incomplete and severely delayed paperwork.”
“We have to double down on training”
For his part, CCRB Chairman Fred Davie issued a statement noting that trials could commence for officers soon after they are charged.
“After fully investigating over a hundred cases, the CCRB continues its commitment to investigating, and when necessary, prosecuting the officers responsible for committing misconduct against New Yorkers during last year’s Black Lives Matter protests,” he said.
De Blasio weighed in on the matter during an interview on Monday, expressing his support for the board and its recommendations, which he said would help repair a rift between the NYPD and the communities it serves.
“And when individual officers don’t comport themselves the right way, it really hurts the relationship between police and community,” the mayor said. “Which means we have to double down on the training, on the supervision. But this accountability also sends a message, that if someone’s done the wrong thing, even if it’s a small number of officers in the scheme of things, there will be consequences.”
Of course, plenty of critics say the board’s report is politically motivated, including Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, who declared: “Once again, CCRB is carrying political water for Mayor de Blasio and others who are trying to wash away their own failures during last summer’s protests.”