Sixty-five members of the New York City Police Department are set to face misconduct charges stemming from alleged actions taken during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board received hundreds of complaints amid violent protests across the city following the killing of George Floyd. On Monday, the board released the findings from its initial investigations and recommended charges for 65 NYPD members.
Thirty-seven of those officers are expected to face an administrative trial once each officer is served their charges by the department, the board said. If found guilty, officers could lose out on vacation days or face suspension and termination.
“After fully investigating over a hundred cases, the CCRB continues its commitment to investigating, and when necessary, prosecuting the officers responsible for committing misconduct against New Yorkers during last year’s Black Lives Matter protests," CCRB Chair Fred Davie said.
"The APU is prepared to move forward with trials for the 37 officers who have received the highest level of disciplinary recommendations, as soon as the NYPD serves officers," David added.
The remaining officers, 28, should lose vacation days or participate in mandated training, the CCRB recommended.
The board estimates some 34 percent of the complaints couldn't be investigated due to an inability to identify the accused members due to officers covering their names and shields, using body-worn cameras improperly, and failing to complete accurate paperwork.
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"This once again highlights the CCRB’s need for unfettered and direct access to body worn camera footage and the police documents needed to investigate a complaint," the CCRB press release said.
The more than five dozen officers identified by the board face charges of abuse of authority, use of force, making untruthful statements and offensive language. Despite issues identifying every officer listed in the 313 complaints earmarked, the board has closed 210 investigations while the other 103 remain pending.
Following the oversight agency's announcement of charges, the NYPD said in a statement that the department had assisted with the board's investigations for the past 14 months, providing "hundreds of hours of body-worn-camera footage as well as thousands of pages of records." The department also said it will work with the CCRB as the cases are heard, and said that any discipline that comes as a result will be made public.
The head of the Police Benevolent Association also weighed in, calling the CCRB a political tool used to scapegoat officers.
“Once again, CCRB is carrying political water for Mayor de Blasio and others who are trying to wash away their own failures during last summer’s protests. Police officers were sent out with no plan, no strategy and no support, into a dangerous environment created by politicians’ irresponsible rhetoric," President Patrick Lynch said in a statement.
Lynch went on to refer to moments in May and June 2020 where violent demonstrators hijacked peaceful protests, burning police property and injuring officers. But it wasn't just the CCRB that has found misconduct: Inquiries by both the New York attorney general and the city's Department of Investigations have also found wrongdoing on part of officer's during last year's protests.