The civilian agency probing allegations of NYPD police misconduct said Monday that a deputy chief and 13 other cops should face administrative charges over their alleged actions during city demonstrations after the death of George Floyd.
In an interim report, the Civilian Complaint Review Board said it has been reviewing 303 complaints involving more than 2,000 allegations of misconduct within its jurisdiction covering 460 identified officers during the protests, which ran from late May until early June 2020 after Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin.
New York City saw hundreds of protests last summer, mostly peaceful but some spawning looting, arson and physical confrontations with officers.
The CCRB began probing allegations of police misconduct involving claims that NYPD cops used excessive force, foul language and abused their authority as they tried to deal with protesters. In some instances, demonstrators have filed lawsuits against the NYPD. The CCRB noted that it has had to close investigations of 26 out of 303 total complaints because of pending litigation.
The review board has been stymied in some of its investigations and unable to identify officers involved, according to the report, because some cops covered their name plates and shields during the protests, didn’t use body cameras properly, or used protective gear that didn’t belong to them.
Of 75 cases fully investigated, the CCRB said it was substantiating 26 instances of misconduct involving 39 officers. Of the 14 officers facing potential administrative charges, including the deputy chief, their cases mostly involved allegations of excessive force, offensive language and abuse of authority. In one case, a cop is accused of giving an untruthful statement, a category of misconduct recently included in the review board's jurisdiction.
It remained unclear Monday how many of the 14 officers might face an actual department trial where a hearing officer with the rank of deputy commissioner presides. It is up to the NYPD to schedule trials and some of the cases could be settled by plea bargains.
If the CCRB goes to trial, it has historically won guilty verdicts over the past five years against about 50% of cops who opt for a trial, according to NYPD trial room records. The resulting penalties have largely been lost vacation days. Ultimately, the police commissioner has final approval on a recommendation of discipline after a trial.
In protest cases involving 25 officers, including another deputy chief and a lieutenant, the CCRB is recommending retraining and various lesser forms of command discipline.
In a prepared statement Monday, the NYPD said, "We will study the CCRB's recommendations through the established processes between our two agencies."
In the past year, NYPD officials have noted that the protests injured more than 400 officers and destroyed or damaged scores of department vehicles. A number of protesters have also faced federal charges over the damage.
Local prosecutors have reportedly dismissed significant numbers of cases of protesters who were arrested. A spokesman for the Police Benevolent Association, which provides lawyers for patrol officers accused of wrongdoing, declined to comment.
Last year, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that up to a dozen officers were under internal investigation over allegations of misconduct during the protests. The status of those cases couldn’t be determined Monday.