Demonstrators cross the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4, 2020.

Demonstrators cross the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4, 2020. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board said Monday that it had recommended discipline against 89 NYPD police officers due to allegations of misconduct during the 2020 city demonstrations following the death of George Floyd. 

The NYPD has penalized less than half of them, the watchdog said.

In the board's latest report on its probe into civilian complaints against cops for the way they handled the Black Lives Matter protests, the CCRB said that from its tally of 321 complaints against cops it substantiated allegations of misconduct in 88 complaints involving 146 officers. The CCRB said that out of that group of officers it recommended serving departmental charges on 89 officers, of which the NYPD imposed penalties against 42 cops or 47%.

Allegations of misconduct included abusive language, excessive force and discourtesy, behavior that the CCRB routinely deals with based on public complaints.

The discipline imposed ranged anywhere from a reprimand to up to 10 days docked vacation time, according to a summary contained in the CCRB report. The agency said in the report that it faced a number of problems in its investigation of complaints. These included an inability to identify officers because some had covered their name plates, didn’t activate body worn cameras or had used protective equipment of other cops.

The CCRB data showed that out of 226 fully investigated cases, its staff couldn’t identify officers involved in 59 instances. The data also showed some 79 of those cases involved allegations that couldn’t be determined, involved conduct that was within NYPD guidelines or were unfounded.

In its pushback against the CCRB report, the NYPD said that it had already followed recommendations for improvement in police policies on demonstrations made in the past two years by other agencies such as the Department of Investigation and the NYPD’s own internal review.

“Officers were faced with perpetrators who were looting, setting fires, and destroying property,” the NYPD statement said. “During this period, more than 400 uniformed members of the NYPD were injured, with over 250 of them hospitalized, and nearly 300 NYPD vehicles were vandalized, including several that were destroyed by arson from the throwing of Molotov cocktails. “

“Notably, the report includes CCRB’s substantiation rates — less than 15 percent of all allegations identified in this report were substantiated by the CCRB,” the NYPD statement added. “This confirms that the NYPD response to the protests during the summer of 2020 was largely professional, commendable, and responsive to the unique circumstances that were present at the time. “

In a separate statement, Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said the “activist” CCRB had blamed individual cops for management failures and chaos created by “violent agitators.”

“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 sister,” added Lynch.

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