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The battle for public access to the disciplinary records of NYPD officers has led to the New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) releasing a database of allegations of misconduct to ProPublica (a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power). Police unions have opposed the city’s plan to make data about disciplinary investigations public.
The full database names about 4,000 of the NYPD’s 36,000 active-duty officers. Over 100 of those officers were based at the Hell’s Kitchen precincts (Midtown North, Midtown South and 10th precincts). Every officer in the database has had at least one substantiated allegation. Thirty local officers have had more than five allegations made against them (one officer has 22 allegations). Complainants often make more than one allegation of misconduct. The CCRB gets thousands of complaints per year but substantiates a fraction of them.
Over half the allegations brought were for abuse of authority (this includes threat of arrest, refusal to provide name/shield number, stop/search/frisk, and threats of force). There were 88 allegations of actual physical force.
The 10th Precinct, which has recently taken on more of Hell’s Kitchen’s neighborhood policing with its 8for8 cops on the beat initiative, had 146 allegations against 23 officers.
Forty-five Midtown South officers and 37 Midtown North officers have been investigated since 2000 for claims of misconduct. Midtown North had 153 allegations while Midtown South totted up 129 allegations.
When seeking police reform in the wake of nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd, New York State voted last month to repeal the controversial statute 50-a. This was originally passed in the 1970s to make the personnel records of police officers, firefighters, and correctional officers confidential.
On release of the data, ProPublica said: “Until last month, New York State prohibited the release of police officers’ disciplinary records. Civilians’ complaints of abuse by officers were a secret. So were investigators’ conclusions. The public couldn’t even know if an officer was punished.”
ProPublica’s data was obtained through a records request made to the CCRB. It includes fully investigated allegations only for officers who were members of the department as of late June 2020 and against whom the CCRB has substantiated at least one allegation. You can search the data here by precinct and badge number.