The New York City Council Progressive Caucus is appalled by the news that the NYPD has failed to adequately investigate or substantiate nearly 2,500 complaints of biased policing against its officers. Biased policing includes any discriminatory action or intentional failure to take action by law enforcement based on a person’s status, such as race, national origin, sexual orientation, etc.
The Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD (OIG-NYPD) found that between 2014 and 2018, the NYPD received 2,495 complaints of biased policing. Furthermore, OIG-NYPD found that not only were there inadequacies in how the NYPD investigated and tracked these complaints, but the NYPD also has not substantiated any of these complaints since biased policing became a distinct complaint classification in 2014. The full report can be found here.
Equal treatment under the law is a core right enshrined in both the United States Constitution and New York State Constitution. OIG-NYPD discovered that a majority of the biased policing complaints (68%) were allegations of discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, color, or national origin and most of the complainants were Black. Additionally, OIG-NYPD found that the NYPD does not investigate an officer’s use of offensive language related to a complainant’s protected status under biased policing, such as using a racial or anti-LGBTQ slur. The NYPD must build trust with the public, especially vulnerable communities, rather than further erode it through their unwillingness to investigate these claims.
In 2013, the City Council passed the Community Safety Act, endorsed by the Progressive Caucus and co-sponsored by Progressive Caucus Members Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander. This legislation created OIG-NYPD in order to hold the NYPD accountable for corruption, mismanagement, and other abuses, and to make recommendations for improvements. The Progressive Caucus calls for the NYPD to adopt OIG-NYPD’s recommended reforms, including annual publication by the NYPD of a public report on biased policing. Additionally, the independent CCRB must begin investigating complaints of racial profiling and other types of biased policing.