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It’s rare enough that citizens file complaints against the police and even rarer that those complaints are investigated. So, it’s appalling to hear that in 25% of cases where a NYPD police misconduct review board ruled that an officer be disciplined, Chief Bill Bratton did nothing. The New York Times has the story:

In the first six months of 2014, the department has declined to sanction officers in over 25 percent of cases in which the board found cause for discipline. That rate is near the high end of what was seen during the last years of the Bloomberg administration, when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly were generally hostile to external oversight.

How officers are disciplined has come under new scrutiny following the death of Eric Garner during an arrest that included, the city medical examiner said, the use of a chokehold, which is banned by the Police Department. A review by The New York Times last month of substantiated chokehold complaints found their use by officers rarely resulted in strong discipline, despite recommendations from the review board.


The review board is the main avenue for people to formally challenge the conduct of police officers. In a process that can span months and sometimes years, statements are given, including from the officers involved; an investigation is conducted; and the board rules on whether the complaint is valid. If it finds that it is, a discipline recommendation eventually goes to the police commissioner, who has final say.


In about a quarter of cases in recent years, Mr. Kelly rejected the recommendation. In the first six months under Mr. Bratton, that rate held steady.


In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Mr. Bratton said those figures were representative of the broken system he had inherited and vowed to fix. “I suggest you come back in six months and see how we’re doing,” he said. Read more.