Better Policing Starts With Policing Bad Cops Who Dominate Excessive Force Complaint Lists
Attacking the victim of excessive force seems to be the norm for police departments across the country. This cannot stand.
The body count left in the wake of officers engaging in abusive actions keeps growing, and yet politicians are loath to do anything about it.
Here in NYC, there was a lot of fretting about how ending stop and frisk would result in a massive increase in crime. Well, the NYPD reported today that crime is down 6% from last year. Not exactly an increase. Better policing matters.
As does weeding out abusive cops from departments across the country. The NYPD does a better job addressing corruption than it does abusive cops. Since 2009, 5% of cops bring 40% of resisting arrest claims. 15% of cops bring 75% of the resisting arrest cases.
Then there’s the records that the NYPD and CCRB have put together regarding complaints - and that the NYPD so far has done little to use that data to retrain or fire bad cops.
CCRB Records show that 40 percent of the 35,000 officers on the force today have never been the subject of a citizen complaint. Another 20 percent have only one. Yet about a thousand cops have 10 or more complaints. One has been able to rack up 51. The name of that officer is confidential, as are the names of any officer who is the target of a CCRB complaint.
“If an officer has a pattern of a lot of complaints, let alone substantiated complaints, that officer is certainly worth watching and even warning and certainly retraining,” Emery said.
Yet — at least until now — the department hasn’t seemed too interested in using the board’s trove of records to spot problem officers.
“They’ve had access to it but they never asked,” Emery said. “The problem is (that) in the past, the New York City Police Department has not viewed the CCRB as anything but an irritant.”
There are statistics that aren’t being acted upon, but many departments aren’t even keeping track of this kind of data. They should. It can and should lead to improved policing and better relations with the community because remaining officers will be less likely to get into excessive force situations and/or bring resisting arrest charges that are being used as a cover for police malfeasance.
There’s a longstanding trend that indicates that the resisting arrest charges have been used as a cover for police malfeasance - the officer had to use force because the person resisted arrest, when the reality is that the officer escalated with force, and then had to cover their actions with a charge.
The proof of all this is that so few resisting arrest charges are sustained, particularly in NYC where there are more than 10,000 resisting arrest charges brought annually.
What is also clear is that, at least in New York City, more than half of arrests for resisting arrest routinely end up dismissed in court. Fifty-two percent of more than 4,400 cases resolved last year were dropped. Just eight arrests ended in convictions.
It’s possible that many of the charges were dropped in exchange for convictions/deals on other charges, or reductions to lesser penalties.
But if so many of these charges are being brought by such a small percentage of cops, the public deserves to know what about these particular cops is resulting in the abundance of resisting arrest charges. Is it bad training or bad actors.
I highly suspect the latter - that these officers think that they are entitled to act however they see fit, and are therefore engaging in actions that escalate to potential violence and/or result in an arrest where a ticket or warning would have otherwise sufficed.