The Civilian Complaint Review Board police watchdog received more than 750 officer misconduct complaints stemming from the weeks of Black Lives Matter protests across the Big Apple last year — though just a fraction have been substantiated, the head of the agency said Tuesday.
Though the CCRB saw complaints drop in 2020 by 22 percent “primarily” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the agency “saw a tremendous influx of complaints due to the violent clashes between the NYPD and peaceful protestors” during the demonstrations around the city in the wake of the May 25 cop killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, board chair Frederick Davie said while testifying at a virtual NYPD budget hearing.
Those 750 complaints resulted in 297 individual cases. The agency has closed 112 of the complaints, including 37 fully investigated ones. Out of the fully investigated complaints, the CCRB substantiated police misconduct allegations in 38 percent of the cases – or 14 of them, Davie said.
“CCRB has worked diligently throughout the year to investigate these cases, despite a number of challenges, particularly around access to information from the police department, the inability to identify officers as a result of the police department not keeping track of where officers were deployed, officers wearing helmets with improper shield numbers and new challenges stemming from remote work,” Davie said.
“As we continue to bring the remaining 185 cases to a close in the coming months, we will share our findings with the public and prosecute officers where the board recommends charges,” said Davie.
The CCRB logged a total of 3,875 complaints in all of 2020, compared to 4,962 complaints the year before.
The city’s Department of Investigation found in a scathing report late last year that the NYPD’s “inconsistent” enforcement during the May and June protests “heightened tensions” between cops and demonstrators and suppressed First Amendment rights.
Earlier this year, a coalition of attorneys filed a lawsuit against the NYPD over the department’s handling of the 2020 demonstrations.