Report: 146 NYC Police officers committed misconduct during 2020 protests

A civilian review board released Monday’s report stating that nearly 150 New York City officers were found to have committed misconduct in responding to 2020 protests against George Floyd’s death.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board (or CCRB) of the city found that many officers who were disciplined by the police received less punishment than what the panel recommended. In some cases, officers found to be in misconduct were not disciplined at any point.

More than 600 complaints against police officers during protests had to be closed as officers could not be identified. Many times, this was due to police wearing mourning bands on their badges, refusing to give their names or failing to keep track of where they were deployed. the 590-page report says.

The board received 321 complaints in protests. 226 were investigated.

This document describes, among other things, the police actions that were taken during a Brooklyn protest on May 30, 2020. It drew many complaints.

One officer pulled a police car into the crowd and threw protesters to the ground. Another officer pulled down a demonstrator’s coronvirus-protecting mask and pepper sprayed him in the face. The report states that officers confronted protestors at the Brooklyn Bridge that day and hit them with batons.

The panel verified 269 misconduct allegations against 146 officers. These included 140 claims of excessive force and 72 claims for abuse of authority. This includes officers refusing to give their names or blocking their badges. There were 34 allegations of improperly striking people using batons, and 28 for improperly spraying pepper spray.

“Protests against police brutality bred more instances of police misconduct,” Arva Rice, the review board’s chair, said in a statement. “If this misconduct goes unaddressed, it will never be reformed.”

This document contains recommendations for changes.

NYPD stated that it disagrees with many of the board’s descriptions. It stated that many of the recommendations of the review board have already been implemented as a result of its own review and other agency proposals.

“A key element missing from this report is any acknowledgement that officers were performing their utmost duty, protecting the city and its people, under what were often sustained, dangerous conditions,” the department said.

Also, the agency stated that the 226 complaints it reviewed contained 1,800 allegations and that only 15% were substantiated. Only a fraction of the more that 20,000 officers were on duty daily during the protests was found guilty of misconduct. According to the department, some protestors were setting fires, looting and destroying property.

According to the NYPD more than 400 officers were hurt during the protests. Of those, 250 were taken to hospital.

Patrick Lynch, who is the head of Police Benevolent Association, was also critical.

“Once again, the anti-cop activists at CCRB are trying to pin the blame on individual police officers for management failures and the chaos created by violent agitators,” he said in a statement. “We are still awaiting ‘accountability’ for the city leaders who sent us out with no plan and no support, and for the criminals who injured more than 400 of our brothers and sisters.”

The board recommended that 89 officers be charged and subject to other discipline. The report stated that three of the cases were resolved by guilty pleas. Four officers were given vacation days back, five officers resigned or retired before any disciplinary action could take place. Nine officers were not disciplined, and administrative proceedings were pending against 62 others.

The board made several recommendations, including that all police officers receive training in crowd control tactics. It also recommended that police shouldn’t interfere with members the press, that their names and shield numbers be visible at all time and that the department examine how it uses various tactics during protests.

The New York Civil Liberties Union stated that the report showed how officers responded to violence.

“This report gives the public a new window into the scale of officer misconduct, crucial access to troves of internal records and, in the end, stark evidence of the NYPD’s unwillingness to hold officers accountable,” Molly Biklen, the New York ACLU’s deputy legal director, said in a statement.

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