NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A scathing new report alleges the NYPD is mishandling cases where officers are accused of discrimination.
It claims that for the last four years thousands of people complained they were targeted because of their race or religion, but the department never found enough evidence to do anything about it – not in a single case.
Horrible things were allegedly said, people came forward to complain, but nothing was ever done.
The Department of Investigation, an independent city watchdog, found NYPD officers were accused of biased policing. Accusations such as calling a man found sleeping inside a building a “Mexican piece of (expletive).”
Other incidents reportedly include falsely arresting a store clerk; asking “aren’t you supposed to be home praying to your (expletive) God whoever he is, Allah?”
In total, DOI found:
- NYPD received nearly 2,500 biased complaints between 2014 and 2018
- DOI investigated about a third of those – 888
- Zero were substantiated by the NYPD
“We were quite alarmed frankly,” Darius Charney, a senior attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights said.
Charney won a 2013 class action lawsuit challenging the city’s “Stop-and-Frisk” program. That’s when a judge ordered the NYPD to implement procedures to investigate allegations of discrimination.
“They are I guess using complainants’ criminal histories… they’re looking those up and then factoring that into their decision when the complaint is about an incident that is unrelated to somebody’s criminal history,” Charney claimed.
The report says most of the complainants – 66 percent – are black, followed by 15 percent who are Hispanic.
In a statement, the NYPD responded to the report by saying:
“The NYPD is committed to addressing misconduct in any form, and has created comprehensive policies… whether enhancing training for officers; outfitting all 22,000 patrol cops with body-worn cameras; or dramatically reducing stop-question-frisk, every change is designed to bring police and community closer together.”
While department rules prohibit offensive language, the NYPD does not investigate an officer’s use of offensive language related to a complainant’s protected status in a case of biased policing.
“It’s clear the NYPD is not able to do it adequately investigate itself,” Charney added.
New York City’s civilian complaint review board says in order to investigate bias claims against the NYPD, it would need more funding for resources and staff.