The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) on Monday announced it is officially recommending 65 NYPD officers be disciplined for misconduct committed during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020.
The NYPD was criticized by multiple groups and agencies over their response to the protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In a statement issued by the CCRB Monday, the police oversight entity said it has recommended Charges and Specifications, the highest level of discipline, against 37 officers. The agency listed the officers facing charges in a “data snapshot” released Monday. Those charges range from abuse of authority, untruthful statements, excessive force, discourtesy and offensive language.
Once the NYPD serves the charges against those 37 officers facing the most serious allegations of misconduct, each will face an administrative trial, which could potentially lead to loss of vacation days, suspension, or termination.
For the 28 other officers, the CCRB is recommending less serious disciplinary actions, in the form of loss of vacation days or additional training.
“Thanks to the thorough work of our investigators, we will start to get accountability for the hundreds of New Yorkers who were mistreated last year,” CCRB Chair Fred Davie said in a statement.
The agency said it will release an additional public report further analyzing the NYPD’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests to “to shed light on the police misconduct that took place and outline key takeaways and recommendations for the NYPD moving forward.”
"When they're found guilty, if they are, the records are posted in our online discipline matrix, which is pioneering in terms of law enforcement across the country," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on "Mornings On 1" Tuesday. "So we will deal with this, we know we are not perfect, we also know that it is a balance of those officers who were involved in incredibly difficult times."
In his weekly “Mondays with the Mayor” interview on “Inside City Hall,” Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the CCRB’s findings, arguing the agency’s work is proof reforms are working well, and that police are mostly treating New Yorkers with respect during contentious protests.
“My first reaction is this proves that the accountability structures are working. We’ve done a lot to strengthen our Civilian Complaint Review Board over the last eight years, a number of reforms, some that we added in the last year,” the mayor told NY1 political anchor Errol Louis.
“I’m not happy to see even a single officer potentially having done the wrong thing, but it is a force of 35,000,” the mayor added. “I want to put that in perspective, and I think deescalation training has worked.”
The mayor added that the CCRB sent a clear message to officers Monday. “If someone does the wrong thing — even if it’s a small number of officers in the scheme of things — there will be consequences.”
When asked by Louis whether the department understands, institutionally, how to handle large, rowdy protests anymore, de Blasio pointed back to the CCRB and its ability to hold officers accountable.
“A lot of very huge protests were handled very fluidly in the past by the NYPD. We’ve seen some things lately that I have concerns about, but I’ve also seen the opposite,” the mayor said. “There were things in the past where police, in some cases, some individuals were really rough on people and it was considered normal. There’s a lot more accountability now.”
The police oversight entity said it has completed 127 full investigations thus far. According to their statement, the CCRB said its work investigating the complaints has faced “unprecedented challenges” due to an inability to identify officers, whom the CCRB accused of “covering their names and shield” and “wearing protective equipment that did not belong to them,” as well as “the lack of proper use of body worn cameras,” and “incomplete and severely delayed paperwork.”
The agency said 34% of complaints could not be investigated due to an inability to identify officers, a 24% jump in all CCRB cases in 2020.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the NYPD said the department has assisted the CCRB in their investigations.
"Over the past fourteen months the NYPD has assisted the CCRB in their investigations by providing hundreds of hours of body-worn-camera footage as well as thousands of pages of records,” the statement reads. “The NYPD will move forward with the CCRB in the process of adjudicating these cases.”