On the heels of a report showing that the NYPD is still stopping and questioning New Yorkers without adequate justification, East Villagers gathered in the East Fifth Street station-house yesterday and learned how to take back the power.
Usually, during the monthly meetings of the 9th Precinct Community Council, cops get an earful about quality-of-life offenses like excessive noise from bars and late-night party animals. But last night the 15 or so residents in attendance got a rundown on the kind of complaints filed citywide against police for bad behavior– like use of unnecessary force (kicking, punching) and misuse of authority.
Police misconduct can also include “not providing identification or using offensive language– rudeness,” said Brian McCullough, community outreach coordinator for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent investigative agency on 100 Church Street with subpoena authority.
As several cops from the 9th looked on stoically, McCullough reported that the number of civilian complaints has “gone down” over the past couple of years and their resolution has gone up– largely because of civilian use of cellphone videos to document abuses.
Earlier, McCullough told B+B that Police Commissioner William Bratton is “very supportive” of the CCRB, which, among other things, attempts to improve “perception” of police and communities so situations don’t get to the point of “escalation.” The board was first established as a city agency under Mayor David N. Dinkins in 1993, and has backup from the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Mayor’s Task Force on Police Corruption. Its creation as an agency independent of the NYPD was spurred in part by the violent 1988 clash in Tompkins Square Park between police and protestors opposed to a 1 am curfew.
Though he made no mention of it, McCullough’s appearance at the meeting happened to come on the same day a report was released indicating that arresting officers failed to give adequate reason for 28 percent of street stops between July 1 and September 30 of last year. The report was issued by a federal monitor in accordance with a 2013 ruling that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices were unconstitutional. It also found that the CCRB has not been investigating racial profiling complaints, because it does not believe they are within its investigative authority. The board will now relay such complaints to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, the report said.