Eight years before Daniel Prude – a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis – died after being detained by police in Rochester, Hawa Bah watched a similar situation play out with her own son, Mohamed, in New York City. In 2012, Hawa Bah, a Guinean immigrant, called 911 for an ambulance to help her son, who had been acting erratically. New York City Police Department officers arrived at his apartment and eventually shot Mohamed Bah eight times, killing him. Police said Mohamed Bah lunged at one officer with a knife.
In the Media
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took a pledge to improve police oversight and address extrajudicial police force.
On Monday, Aug. 31, the mayor spoke with reporters on adapting the Obama Foundation’s (former President Barack Obama) pledge directed toward mayors and city councils around the country to review use of force policies, engage the community with diverse ranges of input in the review, report the findings of the review back to the community and through that, reform police use of force.
The city and NYPD have released an online draft of what it said is its efforts to develop policies that “work for both the police and the community.”
The policy is called the NYPD disciplinary matrix and it explains the department’s disciplinary system and guidelines for how officers will be punished for breaking the rules.
In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new policy for automatically publishing body camera footage within 30 days when police officers kill or seriously injure someone. The step, he said, would give the public more assurances that they would actually see video captured in serious cases of police force, an implicit but often unrealized aim of the transparency program. But more than two months since the policy was implemented, old questions remain about who controls what footage is released, how it is edited and, ultimately, the narrative it creates.
The NYPD has revealed a plan for how to reprimand cops for internal violations including the use of chokeholds, failing to turn on body-worn cameras and leaking information to the press.
A draft of the lengthy disciplinary matrix — which is used by other police departments across the country, including Los Angeles and New Orleans — was published online Monday morning for public review before it goes into effect on Jan. 15, 2021.
Following the lead of police departments across the country, the NYPD has issued its own "discipline penalty matrix" that outlines specific punishments for instances of police misconduct.
The document comes at the recommendation of an independent panel convened by the NYPD in 2018 to improve the department's tangled and opaque disciplinary system. While both the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the NYPD itself conduct investigations into police misconduct, the NYPD Commissioner alone has the sole authority to punish or fire an officer.
The New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio crafted an $88.2 billion budget for the current fiscal year in what was one of the most contentious budget negotiations in years, coming amid a pandemic-caused recession and a resurgent racial justice movement that sought to “Defund the NYPD” and redirect some of its massive resources to social services in communities of color.
Over 300,000 complaints about New York Police Department officer misconduct have been released due to a new database from the New York Civil Liberties Union published Thursday.
The complaints all come from reports compiled from the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), an independent agency that investigates complaints of police wrongdoing against civilians.
The database contains information about 323,911 complaints dating back to 1985 concerning 81,550 different officers. That’s an average of 923 complaints a year.
Local authorities continue to fight the public over making disciplinary records public. However, the public’s fighting back.
This week, The Legal Aid Society filed an amicus brief against the efforts of five police unions to block public access to the disciplinary records after Albany repealed Section 50-a which made records and accounts of police misconduct unavailable to civilians. In the brief, members of The Legal Aid Society state that the police’s latest attempt to block Section 50-a is emblematic of the culture cops have created.
Tuesday a hearing was held to hear the demand of several unions of fire police and correctional agents of the city of New York that request the repeal of the Police Secrecy Law (50-A) be reversed. The appearance was presided over by the judge of the Federal Court, Katherine Failla.
Meanwhile, civil rights defenders, elected officials, and members of a broad coalition of activists rejected the claim raised in a class-action lawsuit by the unions.