In The Bronx, NYPD Misconduct Complaints Draw Little Discipline
The Black Lives Matter protests of the summer of 2020 attempted to shine a spotlight on police misconduct, brutality, and wrongful shootings. Ironically, the protests themselves turned out to be a magnet for police mistreatment of lawful protestors. Yet, as the statute of limitations for prosecuting police misconduct during those months approaches, few NYPD officers have faced serious consequences for their actions. As The Bronx Times recently reported, the NYPD is resisting imposing discipline on its own officers.
In New York City, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has jurisdiction over matters that include “excessive and unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and use of offensive language.”
According to the bxtimes.com, here’s how the numbers break down for citizen complaints CCRB has been working on:
- 319 complaints arose during BLM protests, including 12 against Bronx-based officers
- CCRB has closed 269 cases
- CCRB has 187 substantiated allegations against 104 members of law enforcement
- The current substantiation rate for complaints is 36 percent
- 32 percent of cases were closed due to inability to identify the officers involved
- 61 of the substantiated complaints could result in an administrative trial in front of CCRB’s Administrative Prosecution Unit
- CCRB has recommended “severe command discipline for 18 officers, and lesser command discipline for 25 officers.”
Despite CCRB’s findings and recommendations, The Bronx Times reports that “NYPD has only imposed discipline on 10 officers.” Of the complaints implicating officers stationed in The Bronx, CCRB only recommended severe discipline for one officer, Evgeny Kramar of the 42nd Precinct, whose patrol area “includes the Claremont, Crotona Park East and Crotona Park neighborhoods.” Kramar was new to the force during the BLM summer, having only joined the force in 2019. He is currently stationed at Brooklyn’s 94th Precinct in Greenpoint.
CCRB’s work is not over. The Board still has 50 open investigations, which break down as follows:
- 4 investigations gathering evidence
- 10 investigations awaiting MOS review
- 36 fully investigated complaints pending Board review
The Board must meet a “May 4 statute of limitations deadline for all protest-related complaints and other cases that arose during emergency pandemic orders” executed under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. After that date, any remaining cases would have to be dismissed. After concluding its review of the complaints, The Norwood News reports that CCRB has promised to issue a report in which “they will identify and address gaps in training and suggest updated procedures for NYPD protest response.”
Whether NYPD will accept CCRB’s recommendations on reforms of practices is anyone’s guess. But the rate of action taken on the Board’s recommendations for disciple does not inspire confidence that change is imminent. When it comes to disciplinary action, Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell has ultimate authority. We’ll soon see how fully committed to reform the Commissioner is.