Copping a Budget Plea

Money woes, time limits mean more NYPD misconduct will go unpunished

  • At a rally during the Republican National Convention, a deputy chief ordered the arrest of people who tried to comply with his order to "clear the streets." The case took 17 months to resolve because of the number of witnesses and a delay in interviewing the chief. The board called for the chief to get instructions on proper procedures, but Kelly closed the matter, ordering no discipline.

  • A 14-year-old boy was stopped by plainclothes cops as he left a Bronx bodega. The cops frisked and handcuffed him without saying why. It took Internal Affairs (which the CCRB says is usually very cooperative) eight months to turn over the video surveillance tape of the incident. The officer who searched the boy claimed he saw a plastic envelope in the kid's mouth but made no note of it at the time. After nearly 17 months, the CCRB ruled that the search was "unjustified" and that the officer made a false statement and didn't document the event properly.

  • A DOT traffic agent was approached by a cop after the agent wrote a ticket for a car with an NYPD placard that didn't match the license plates. The officer allegedly "pushed him, accused him of resisting arrest, punched him, and arrested him," the CCRB says. After a delay while waiting for a tape of an Internal Affairs interview of the officer, the CCRB closed the case in its 17th month and found misconduct.
     Democracy in action: The NYPD practices crowd control before the 2004 GOP convention.
    photo: Holly Northrop/
    Democracy in action: The NYPD practices crowd control before the 2004 GOP convention.

  • A man discovered a computer in the trash, retrieved it, and got stopped and searched by plainclothes cops. He wasn't arrested or issued a summons. Because the cops filed no paperwork, investigators had to ask precincts and squads for roll calls, have the victim view photo arrays, and then question the officers he identified. After nearly 16 months, the CCRB said the search was misconduct.

  • Cops responding to a call of suspicious activity chased a car fleeing the scene. The cars crashed on a highway, and the police found burglary tools and stolen radios in the car. The civilians later claimed that the cops had chased them for no reason, caused the crash, and beat them afterward. The CCRB dismissed those complaints. However, when one of the officers saw the suspects in court he warned, "Don't fuck with me, I'm heavy-duty." Even though the cop was off-duty, the board recommended discipline for inappropriate language. Generating a more-than-300-page file, the case took more than 15 months.

  • A grandfather who lived with a robbery suspect alleged that cops forced their way into his house and threatened to arrest him—the grandfather. A sister who was driving the suspect's car said the cops pulled her over, confiscated the car, and used foul language. After 15 months of work revealed "a long-standing issue between the family and the officers," the CCRB split the difference: Searching the house was OK, but taking the car was wrong. Incidentally, as the CCRB was investigating, the robbery suspect turned himself in to police.
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