Police misconduct allegations are up against NYPD

Allegations of police misconduct against the NYPD increased last year, the first jump in complaints in nearly a decade, according to a new report released Thursday.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board received 4,487 complaints in 2017 — up 202 from the year before — an uptick in allegations following seven years of declining numbers, according to the police watchdog agency’s 64-page report.

The last time the CCRB saw an increase in allegations against the NYPD was in 2009 with 7,660 complaints, according to the report.

The reason for the surge is “undeterminable,” according to the report, which offers possible causes as “an increase in misconduct or a rise in reporting.”

The highest number of complaints — 186 — stemmed from incidents in the 75th Precinct of East New York, Brooklyn, the report noted. The highest rate of complaints occurred in East Harlem’s 25th Precinct, at 16 per 10,000 residents, the report says.

Of the five boroughs, Brooklyn logged the most total complaints at 1,140, followed by Manhattan, which tallied 1,053.

Alleged incidents that occurred in the Bronx made up 22 percent (970) of the complaints, while Queens made up 17 percent (777), and Staten Island 5 percent (206), the report said.

The highest rate of complaints in 2017 — 16 percent — involved “an officer suspecting a civilian of a violation or crime while on a public street,” the CCRB said.

Fifty-five percent of the total complaints the agency received last year came from police encounters where no arrest was made or summons was issued, according to the report.

In 2017, 58 percent of allegations closed were allegations of an “abuse of authority,” and “physical force” accounted for 74 percent of all the “Force category allegations,” the report said.

White officers accounted for 49 percent of the cops involved in the complaints and account for 50 percent of the NYPD as a whole, the report says, noting that male officers accounted for 88 percent of the officers involved in the allegations and 82 percent of the department as a whole.

Individuals who identified as black made up half of the alleged victims in the cases for last year, and 66 percent of the alleged victims were male.

The substantiated rates for the complaints dipped from 23 percent in 2016 to 20 percent in 2017, the agency said.

In 2017, the CCRB substantiated 264 complaints against 367 police officers.

Last year the city agency recommended command discipline for 51 percent (189) of the 367 officers against whom there was a substantiated allegation, which is up from 43 percent in 2016.

Police union boss Patrick Lynch called the increased number of complaints “meaningless.”

“Upwards of 90 percent of these complaints result in absolutely no finding of misconduct by the police officer, and yet CCRB has treated the collection of these meritless complaints as its primary goal,” the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president said as he accused the agency of “anti-cop bias.”

“There should be no surprise that they have managed to artificially increase the number of complaints against the men and women who risk themselves against the criminal element every day to keep good, honest New Yorkers safe,” Lynch said.

A police source, who once had an unsubstantiated CCRB complaint filed against him after he issued a summons to a double-parked motorist, told The Post that “half the time the recommendations [the CCRB] give for punishment are ridiculous.”

“They entertain things that should not be entertained,” the source said.

Meanwhile, of the roughly 36,000 active NYPD members, 42 percent of them have never had a CCRB complaint lodged against them, while 41 percent have had between one and three complaints, according to the watchdog group.

Just 9 percent of the department has had six or more CCRB complaints made against them.

Ninety percent of the active cops who make up the department, however, have never had a substantiated complaint, the report said. Eight percent have had one substantiated complaint and 208 officers have had three or more.

The CCRB states in the report “video evidence seems to have the biggest impact on allegations of excessive force, with 64 percent of allegations closed in 2017 on the merits when video is involved, compared with only 51 percent when video is not involved.”

“The availability of video evidence allows for clearer interpretation of circumstances — and thus increases the rate of substantiated, unfounded, and exonerated allegations,” the report says.

Fifty-five percent of all allegations with video evidence were closed “on the merits” compared to 38 percent for those without video, according to the agency.

When it comes to the expansion of the NYPD’s body camera program, the CCRB “expects that cases closed on the merits will rise along with availability of video evidence of this type.”

“The NYPD’s rollout of [body-worn cameras] presents both an opportunity and a challenge for the work of the CCRB,” the report says. “Footage from BWCs has the potential to improve investigations, helping to definitely resolve a large number of complaints that might otherwise be closed as unsubstantiated or officer unidentified.”

The report continues: “If the procedure through which the CCRB gains access to BWC footage is cumbersome and slow, the Agency’s ability to investigate complaints in a timely manner could be greatly hampered. Broad restrictions in gaining access to BWC footage will also significantly compromise the integrity of CCRB’s investigations.”

In 2017, the CCRB requested body camera footage in 165 complaints, the report said, adding that it takes an average of 6.6 business days for the NYPD to get the footage to the agency.

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