CCRB: Police watchdog report shows dramatic impact of video

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Richard Emery, CCRB Chairman

Last October, the independent city agency charged with investigating allegations of police misconduct released a report on chokeholds — the controversial maneuver of at the center of the Eric Garner case — and found that despite a two-decade-long department ban on the procedure, it was still in use.

In the report, the Civilian Complaint Review Board said nine chokehold allegations were substantiated, eight of which occurred between 2009 and 2013, before Mayor Bill de Blasio took office.

In a report released Monday, the CCRB said 12 more chokehold cases were substantiated since that October 2014 chokehold report was published.

“The increase in substantiated chokehold cases can be attributed to the prevalence of video,” the CCRB wrote in its semi-annual report, an embargoed copy of which was provided to reporters earlier.

Although the overall number of complaints to the CCRB has declined since last year, the report noted “troubling complaint patterns” that include a jump in the number of “false official statements” police made to investigators, as proven by “video evidence;” use of excessive force; and improper stop and searches.

From January through June of 2015, the CCRB reported 19 allegations of police officers making a “false official statement” and wrote, “In all 19 instances, the underlying [excessive force, abuse of authority, discourtesy or offensive language] complaint was substantiated. If this pace continues, 2014 will feature the highest number of alleged false official statements per year yet noted by the CCRB."

The number of false statements by police officers has steadily been increasing. According to the CCRB, there were 2 in 2010; 3 in 2011; 8 in 2012; and 13 in 2013; in 2014, the number was 26.

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