Watchdog: NYPD needs more transparency on misconduct cases

August 15, 2016
Emily Ngo

A government watchdog laid out a proposal Monday for greater transparency of NYPD operations and accountability for officer actions.

Citizens Union released an 18-point policy statement that, among other goals, seeks to establish consistency across the police oversight system and expand the range of disciplinary options for cases of officer misconduct.

The group’s executive director, Dick Dadey, said the introduction of a new police commissioner, James O’Neill, next month opens a door to improved NYPD-community relations.

“The NYPD deserves great credit for reducing crime to historic lows over the past 20 years,” Dadey told reporters at City Hall, “but now comes an opportunity to actually increase public accountability, because the public is really questioning a lot about the way in which the police department goes about its business.”

City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) said public conversations among council members and activists have moved the needle in the right direction but “trust and accountability” are two areas that he believes haven’t improved when it comes to the NYPD.

The coalition, which includes Communities United for Police Reform, also said it wants a written guarantee that the police department will follow through with promises to require officers to identify themselves in stops using business cards and notify people of their right to refuse search in certain situations.

The updated policies — to be implemented internally by the agency — were the result of a deal struck between the NYPD and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who in exchange shelved a vote on the popular Right to Know Act that called for similar but more stringent reforms.

A spokesman for Mark-Viverito responded to a request for comment with written terms of the agreement that he noted have been circulating for weeks. He would not say whether the terms constituted a formal deal or required the signatures of police and council officials.

Representatives for the NYPD did not respond to request for comment, but O’Neill said this month that he’ll stick to the deal struck by predecessor William Bratton.

Topics: Right to Know Act