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White cops in the NYPD have been accused of misconduct far more often than officers of color: report

Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

White cops in the NYPD have been accused of misconduct far more often than officers of color, according to a database of claims against the police since 1983.

The revelation of the sharp disparity along racial and ethnic lines — white officers were accused in 61% of the cases, Blacks in 14% and Latinos in 23% — comes at a time when the NYPD is touting its increasing diversity, with white cops now in the minority.

White officers make up 46% of the police force, according to data from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, while Latinos are 29%, Blacks are 15% and Asians are 9%.

“It certainly suggests there’s a strong racial correlation between officers’ misconduct complaints and the race of the officers,” said Christopher Dunn, legal director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, which compiled the data based on claims filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. “We’ve been saying the department has to pay much closer attention to race in policing ― across the board.

“Diversity in hiring can’t make up for a culture inside the department that has police officers engaging in much more aggressive and inappropriate (behavior) when it comes to how they treat civilians,” Dunn added.

The database is comprised of information from 279,644 CCRB complaints that have been fully investigated and adjudicated, including 19,775, or 7%, that were substantiated. All but a small number of the complaints were filed beginning in 1983, a time when the NYPD was overwhelmingly white.

The records involve 48,757 active or retired cops, including 19,839 named in at least five complaints. Twelve cops were fired or otherwise dismissed for their misconduct, a tiny fraction of the 8,419 penalties ultimately meted out, according to the database.

 

The data also includes the race of about 80% of those who filed CCRB complaints from 2000 to the present — 57% were Black, 24% were Latino and 14% were white, numbers that roughly mirror what was seen during the height of the stop-and-frisk controversy.

Neither the NYPD or the Police Benevolent Association, the union representing officers, responded to a request for comment.

The city’s police unions have pushed back against public disclosure of misconduct records. But those records have been released with the repeal of 50-a, the state law barring such disclosure.

The NYCLU last summer released its initial database comprised of nearly 324,000 CCRB reports, about 50,000 of which were later removed because they were duplicates or were not actual complaints.

The CCRB and the NYPD earlier this year released their own misconduct databases.

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