«Mark G. Peters Commissioner Philip K. Eure Inspector General for the NYPD March 2015 OIG-NYPD FIRST ANNUAL REPORT MARCH 2015 Table of Contents ...»
New York City Department of Investigation
The Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD (OIG-NYPD)
First Annual Report
Mark G. Peters
Philip K. Eure
Inspector General for the NYPD
OIG-NYPD FIRST ANNUAL REPORT MARCH 2015
Table of Contents
I. The Office of the Inspector General for the New York City Police
A. OIG-NYPD’s Origins and Local Law 70
B. The Work of OIG-NYPD
C. About the Inspector General
D. OIG-NYPD Organization and Staff
II. OIG-NYPD’s First Year - Office Development and Implementation............... 11 A. Phase 1: May 2014 through August 2014
B. Phase 2: September 2014 through November 2014
C. Phase 3: December 2014 through Today
III. Systemic Investigations, Reviews, Studies, and Audits
Report: Observations on Accountability and Transparency in Ten NYPD Chokehold Cases
IV. Complaint Intake, Analysis, and Investigation
Summary of 2014 Complaints
V. Community Engagement and Outreach
OIG-NYPD FIRST ANNUAL REPORT MARCH 2015 Executive Summary The Office of the Inspector General for the New York City Police Department (OIG-NYPD) is pleased to submit to the Mayor, the City Council, the Commissioner of the NYPD, and the public its first Annual Report. The Annual Report contains an introduction to OIG-NYPD, an overview of OIG-NYPD’s inaugural year, a summary of OIG-NYPD’s efforts and accomplishments, and other useful information about the Office. This inaugural Report will primarily cover the opening of the Office in May 2014 through March 2015.1 OIG-NYPD was created following the passage of Local Law 70 in 2013. Introduced by over 30 New York City Council members, and the subject of grassroots community organizing, widespread public discussion, political mobilization, legislative debate, and significant media attention, Local Law 70 sought to create greater transparency and accountability at the New York City Police Department (NYPD) by establishing an Inspector General for the New York City Police Department. OIG-NYPD is part of the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) and is independent of NYPD.
In 2014, certain communities in New York City continued to express concerns about policing in the city and raised the discourse surrounding police accountability to levels not seen in decades. Government officials took note and called attention to law enforcement issues across the city. Local events underscored tensions between NYPD and some members of the broader public and highlighted the need for greater transparency, improvements in policing, and repairs to police-community relations.
At the same time, in 2014 the NYPD and its officers found themselves in a challenging position. New York City police officers endured significant public criticism, navigated an unusually tense conflict between union officials and City leadership, and suffered the tragic loss of two fellow officers who were shot at point-blank range in their patrol car.
Considering these challenges, the official opening of OIG-NYPD in May 2014 could not have been timelier. External review of law enforcement is one of several recognized 1 Future OIG-NYPD Annual Reports will cover the respective calendar years.
mechanisms for enhancing police accountability, as well as for improving law enforcement and strengthening public trust in the police. By approaching police oversight with a balanced, independent, and unbiased mindset, by carefully analyzing facts and thoughtfully considering best practices, and by adhering to standards of excellence, OIG-NYPD aims to enhance the effectiveness of NYPD while increasing public confidence in the police force.
I. Overview of OIG-NYPD
As amended by Local Law 70, the New York City Charter requires the DOI Commissioner to “investigate, review, study, audit and make recommendations relating to the operations, policies, programs and practices, including ongoing partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, of the new york city police department with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of the department, increasing public safety, protecting civil liberties and civil rights, and increasing the public’s confidence in the police force, thus building stronger police-community relations.” (Charter of the City of New York, Chapter 34, §803 (c)(1)). OIG-NYPD – which carries out this mandate on behalf of the DOI Commissioner – will publish written, publicly-available reports for any investigation, review, study, or audit it completes. The NYPD Commissioner is required to submit a written response to each published report within 90 days.
Within its broad mandate, OIG-NYPD has the authority to look at a wide variety of
policing issues, including but not limited to:
Use of force Quality of life enforcement Surveillance and intelligence activities focused on political and religious groups Bias and discrimination Officer hiring, training, and supervision Use of technology in policing Response to political protests and mass demonstrations Managing interactions with the mentally ill In considering policing issues, OIG-NYPD’s central mission is to gather and review facts and data, identify and examine broad-based systemic issues relating to the operations, policies, programs, and practices of NYPD, and develop practical and effective recommendations for resolving those issues. OIG-NYPD’s strategy combines traditional ii OIG-NYPD FIRST ANNUAL REPORT MARCH 2015 investigations and research with community outreach and consideration of public input.
Through the release of investigative reports that rigorously examine facts and carefully evaluate various perspectives, OIG-NYPD aims to promote workable, real-world solutions designed to improve policing and build stronger police-community relations.
Under the leadership of DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters and Inspector General for the NYPD Philip K. Eure, OIG-NYPD consists of several functional teams. The Investigations Unit and the Policy Analysis and Evaluations Unit – the two largest teams – are supported and complemented by an in-house legal team, a Director of Community Outreach, a Public Information Officer, and an administrative staff. The professionals on staff reflect a range of prior experiences, including as investigators, police oversight specialists, police detectives, prosecutors, defense attorneys, paralegals, academics, criminal justice researchers, civil rights and community advocates, municipal and inter-governmental professionals, communications experts, and others.
II. OIG-NYPD’s First Year - Office Development and Implementation
A major component of OIG-NYPD’s first year was development and growth. In addition to the Office’s investigative and analytical work, OIG-NYPD spent considerable time and effort in 2014 on a range of start-up activities to ensure that OIG-NYPD would be well-equipped to fulfill its mission. During “Phase 1” of OIG-NYPD’s work (May 2014 through August 2014), the Inspector General and Deputy Inspector General started OIG-NYPD’s substantive work but also focused heavily on staff recruitment, organizational planning, and outreach to government officials and community groups. In “Phase 2” (September 2014 through November 2014), the arrival of additional staff provided OIG-NYPD with the functional capacity to take on new work.
The team continued to research NYPD policies and practices, reviewed and investigated complaints, and submitted formal commentary on pending legislation. OIG-NYPD also launched its website, continued its recruiting and hiring efforts, focused on training, and expanded its outreach efforts. “Phase 3” (December 2014 through today) brought the release of OIG-NYPD’s first report and many new team members. A larger staff and new areas of expertise put the Office in a position to research and investigate several major topics at once.
III. Systemic Investigations, Reviews, Studies, and Audits: Observations on Accountability and Transparency in Ten NYPD Chokehold Cases In the wake of a fatal police encounter on Staten Island in July 2014, OIG-NYPD sought to address questions regarding the NYPD disciplinary process for incidents involving chokeholds. By reviewing the ten cases substantiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) between 2009 and 2014 where NYPD members had used chokeholds, OIG-NYPD examined the mechanisms by which chokehold allegations were received, investigated, and addressed by NYPD in order to bring greater understanding and transparency to these important processes and to identify potential areas for further OIG-NYPD review.
The ten substantiated chokehold cases involved a variety of factual scenarios and resulted in a range of outcomes once presented to NYPD for discipline. In reviewing these cases, OIG-NYPD highlighted how NYPD’s disciplinary process is complex, multi-tiered, and often delivers inconsistent results. OIG-NYPD also noted an apparent disconnect in the approaches by which CCRB and NYPD reviewed and evaluated the same cases.
Although the Report drew no conclusions regarding the prevalence of chokeholds used by members of NYPD, the preliminary review revealed that certain policy changes should be
made. As detailed in the Report, OIG-NYPD recommended the following:
1. NYPD and CCRB should increase coordination and collaboration to reconsider and refine the disciplinary system for improper uses of force.
2. NYPD should provide transparency with respect to the Police Commissioner’s disciplinary decisions.
3. NYPD should expand the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau’s access to newly-filed complaints and substantive information on use-of-force cases filed with CCRB.
4. NYPD should improve information sharing and case tracking for cases that are outsourced to borough and precinct investigators via the Office of the Chief of Department and the Investigative Review Section.
The NYPD Commissioner’s response to this Report is due by April 12, 2015.
Pursuant to §803(d)(3) of the New York City Charter, OIG-NYPD does not have any open investigations, reviews, studies, or audits that have been open for more than six months as of December 31, 2014.
IV. Complaint Intake, Analysis, and Investigation Complaints filed with OIG-NYPD are an important source of information regarding policing in New York City. For every non-anonymous complaint received, OIG-NYPD issues a response letter to the complainant. Even if the complaint does not identify a systemic issue, the complaint is tracked to the degree it relates to the operations, policies, practices, and programs of NYPD. When complaints fall within the scope of another agency, OIG-NYPD refers the matter to that agency for further action. For example, of the 150 complaints received by OIG-NYPD in 2014, more than 90 fell within the jurisdiction of CCRB or NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) because they alleged individual instances of police misconduct and did not directly implicate systemic practices or policies of the police department. OIG-NYPD has and will continue to follow up on such referrals.
V. Community Engagement and Outreach
OIG-NYPD strongly believes in the value of community outreach and two-way communication with stakeholders. To further the Office’s engagement with New York City’s many diverse communities, OIG-NYPD established a Community Outreach Unit that informs and educates the public about OIG-NYPD’s purpose, goals, and vision. By creating new relationships and strengthening existing ones, the Community Outreach Unit will help OIGNYPD further its mission in shaping the dialogue around improving police-community relations.
In its first year, OIG-NYPD held over 30 outreach meetings with community groups, advocates, and civil rights organizations. OIG-NYPD has held briefings with the Police Commissioner and other high-ranking NYPD officials and has conducted outreach with individual NYPD officers.
Outreach for OIG-NYPD also includes attending university events, community board meetings, Precinct Community Council meetings, and neighborhood gatherings.
v OIG-NYPD FIRST ANNUAL REPORT MARCH 2015 I. The Office of the Inspector General for the New York City Police Department The Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD (OIG-NYPD) is a new oversight office charged with investigating, reviewing, studying, auditing, and making recommendations relating to the operations, policies, programs, and practices of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The goals of OIG-NYPD are to enhance the effectiveness of the police department, increase public safety, protect civil liberties and civil rights, and increase the public's confidence in the police force, thus building stronger police-community relations.
OIG-NYPD is part of the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) and is independent of NYPD. DOI is one of the oldest law-enforcement agencies in the country and New York City’s corruption watchdog. DOI investigations may involve any agency, officer, elected official, or employee of the City, as well as those who do business with or receive benefits from the City. DOI’s strategy attacks corruption comprehensively, through systemic investigations that lead to high-impact arrests, preventive internal controls, and operational reforms that improve the way the City runs.2
A. OIG-NYPD’s Origins and Local Law 70
OIG-NYPD was created following the passage of Local Law 70 in 2013. Introduced by over 30 New York City Council members, and the subject of grassroots community organizing, widespread public discussion, political mobilization, legislative debate, and significant media attention, Local Law 70 was part of a package of bills known as the Community Safety Act.