Complaints Against the NYPD Are Highest in East New York


The city agency responsible for receiving and adjudicating complaints against the NYPD unveiled a new website yesterday that aims to make the data they collect a bit more digestible. Some of the information had been available from the Civilian Complaint Review Board before, but the new site, which you can check out here, breaks it down into graphs and charts that can be interacted with by the year.

One of the most useful tools is the “Complaint Activity Map,”which color codes the number of complaints by precinct. Over in Whitestone, Queens, or Riverdale, in the Bronx, there are relatively few complaints against police officers. Compare that to East Brooklyn, and it’s a completely different world.

The precinct with far-and-away the greatest number of complaints year after year was the 75th, which patrols East New York. The 75th’s relationship with its community has been strained for decades, but especially so after the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley, in 2014, in a NYCHA complex that the 75th patrolled.

So far in 2016, there have been a total of 155 complaints in the neighborhood, with 49 of the complaints involving excessive use of force.

Apart from the map, the DTI’s website is broken up into four categories: Complaints, Allegations, Victims, and NYPD Officers. Overall, according to the Complaints section, the frequency of complaints received by the CCRB has been falling steadily since it peaked in 2009. Compare that with the rates of stop and frisk in the city, and you might just see a connection.

The CCRB stats also provide a window into policing that City Hall and the NYPD has so far kept from view. While the mayor’s office promised summons reform that would break down the race and location of all summonses (which has not yet happened), the NYPD is still not cataloging its stops. The CCRB data shows a drop in “suspected crime” over the past five years (again, the curtailing of stop and frisk), but an equally sharp rise in the “other” category. There’s no explanation for what “other” might be.

When it comes to the type of complaint, “abuse of authority” led the field, with “force” a close second. In just 2015 alone, 191 people complained of an officer pointing a gun at them, while 173 complained about a choke hold.

Perhaps the least surprising statistic about the complaints is the data regarding verbal abuse. From 2006 to 2014, over half of the complaints about an officer’s language involved derogatory comments about race. More troubling, comments about gender have risen from only 4 percent in 2006, to 20 percent in 2015.

Of the 20,613 NYPD officers who have had a complaint made against them this year, 52 percent are white, while only, 27 percent are Hispanic, and 16 percent are black.