One thought on “What the Pantaleo Decision Tells Us About Police Accountability in New York City

  1. I was a CCRB investigator more than a decade ago.

    CCRB complaint data has often been used to make claims about police restraint, and police-community relations based on volume of complaints of the four different types under its purview. But the mere measure of complaints by categorical type offers no way of accounting for the reasons behind fluctuations in the volume of complaints.

    A declining rate of CCRB complaints can be as easily explained by rising fear over making complaints as it can be explained by a decline in the police use of excessive force or abuses of authority. And it might mean both simultaneously, for different populations and in different city nodes.

    The lesson I took away from my time at CCRB is this: Yes there are some bad apples in the NYPD. And there are some good ones. But the oversight the public really needs over its police department can’t just be about holding individuals accountable, because it leaves structural issues untouched.

    The CCRB needs oversight to confront NYPD structural issues that are generative of contexts likely to result in misconduct, and mistrust in police. We the people should be able to have a say in how we are policed, and to make interventions into an institution with overwhelming power to shape quality and nature of urban life.

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