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How many NYPD oversight agencies should New York have? – New York Daily News

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During her City Council confirmation hearing today to be Department of Investigation commissioner, Jocelyn Strauber will be asked about her independence from Mayor Adams and her willingness to follow the evidence, even if it embarrasses City Hall. Good: A Department of Whitewash is not needed.

Her predecessor, Margaret Garnett, didn’t hold back in excoriating Mayor de Blasio for using his police detail as a car service for friends and family — although de Blasio had only two months remaining and Garnett quit within days to become the deputy Manhattan U.S. attorney.

A long-time federal prosecutor and one-time law clerk to former U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Strauber is a formidable lawyer. While it would be good to hear her views on Rehnquist’s bitterly partisan 2000 Bush vs. Gore decision, it is far more important to hear how she thinks NYPD oversight should work.

In her 2020 report on how the department handled the massive protests following the killing of George Floyd, Garnett recommended combining the DOI’s NYPD inspector general, the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Commission to Combat Police Corruption — three overlapping agencies created at different historical moments to answer specific challenges — into a single agency. The new entity, under the CCRB, would investigate complaints, expose systemic dysfunction and recommend policy changes. De Blasio pushed for it last year without success.

Where does Strauber stand? If confirmed, she’ll need to appoint an NYPD IG, as Phil Eure just quit after eight years. Adams’ new CCRB chair, Arva Rice, is only interim, because the Council speaker hasn’t signed off. The anti-corruption panel hasn’t had a mayoral-appointed chair since Mike Armstrong, of Knapp Commission and Serpico fame, died in 2019. De Blasio left the commission half-empty for years and only filled two spots in the final days of his mayoralty.

With all this in flux, what’s the best way to make sure that, at this moment of heightened scrutiny of police practices, cops protect life and property and do so by the book?


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3 New York Police Commanders Arrested In Corruption Probe : NPR

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Three New York Police Department commanders were arrested Monday as a result of an investigation into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fundraising.



AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A federal investigation in New York City is revealing a culture of back scratching and outright corruption and the highest levels of the NYPD. Federal prosecutors announced charges today against senior police officials and others, including a political contributor to the mayor.

Here to talk about this big ongoing investigation is WNYC reporter Robert Lewis. And Robert, to start, we know upwards of four police officials were charged today. What happened?

ROBERT LEWIS, BYLINE: Well, there was a sergeant in the gun licensing division of the NYPD who apparently accepted bribes in exchange for fast-tracking pistol licenses. There was a police officer in the same unit who already pleaded guilty to the alleged scheme, and the man who paid the bribes who runs a Orthodox Jewish security patrol – he’s also been charged in that scheme.

CORNISH: And the others?

LEWIS: Well, two of the highest-ranking officers in the department – a deputy chief and a deputy inspector – they allegedly got expensive gifts, trips, even prostitutes from a politically connected businessman who in return got favors from these cops. This is actually U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara talking about the case, announcing the charges.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PREET BHARARA: They got, in effect, a private police force for themselves and their friends. Effectively, they got cops on call.

CORNISH: Now, this is part of a larger investigation. How do these arrests tie into that?

LEWIS: Well, when news first broke in April, it sort of – there was this multi-tentacled probe, and these cases sort of start to fill in the blanks and show how they’re connected. There was a Ponzi scheme up in Harlem. There’s this gun licensing probe. Just earlier this month, the head of the jail guard union was arrested and charged with corruption. And many of these cases involve these same businessmen sort of using their money to get favors and influence with officials.

CORNISH: Now, how significant is this for the NYPD?

LEWIS: Well, it seems to be a pretty big deal. We’ve already seen close to a dozen high-ranking NYPD officials either put on modified duty or having left the department as part of this probe. And every 20 years, there really seems to be some sort of major corruption scandal in the NYPD, and we’re pretty much at that 20 year mark.

Worth noting – Commissioner William Bratton sort of downplayed the notion that there is something deeper, bigger going on. He said that this isn’t like those past probes, corruption investigations. This is just an issue with a few individuals.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WILLIAM BRATTON: Police officers, especially high-ranking members of the department, have to know better, need to know better and have to set the example for others and have to follow the law.

LEWIS: In the charging documents, there are allegations that even lower-level officers sort of knew about what was going on. They were, you know, maybe pulling over someone on a parking ticket and knew that, oh, wait; this is a friend of the deputy chief, so maybe we should let them off. So I think there are some serious questions about how deep this went.

CORNISH: Before I let you go, what can you tell us about any connection there can be to the mayor’s office?

LEWIS: The businessman who was paying these alleged bribes or giving gifts to these high-ranking police officials – one of them was Jeremy Reichberg. He’s a fundraiser to the mayor. Certainly there’s been a lot of chatter that these probes are looking at donors to the mayor. That being said, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was very clear in today’s press conference saying that this case does not connect directly to the mayor’s office.

CORNISH: That’s Robert Lewis from WNYC. Thank you for sharing your reporting.

LEWIS: You’re welcome.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.


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Opinion | The New York Times’s Interview With Yuh-Line Niou

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Patrick Healy: Do you think the Democratic elected officials are out of step with Democratic voters on immigration today, on L.G.B.T.Q. rights or on any other issue, as you talk to voters and listen to what party leaders and officials say?

Maybe not in my district. In District 10, it’s going to be — it’s probably one of the more progressive districts in the state. So maybe that’s maybe not what I’m hearing as much in the district. I think a lot of people are definitely very much thinking the same when it comes to protecting our bodily autonomy, making sure to restrict — make sure that we have tighter gun laws, making sure that we have L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. protections, rights, making sure that we have a better answer to how we are looking at public safety.

I think that my district cares the most about what The New York Times has to say. I think that it’s really about trying to make sure that we have a reason for also standing up for things that we do. And I think that that’s really what it is. I don’t think that Democrats are necessarily out of touch. But I think that what can be difficult for the rest of the state, maybe, and even the rest of America — I think that there are certain messaging pieces that are hitting home for my district, but maybe not necessarily for everyone else.

Patrick Healy: Is there just, real quickly, an example of that?

For example, I think that in my district, one of the things that we all care about is our bodily autonomy. I saw that almost all of my neighbors came out when Roe was overturned, right? We were all out there on the street. As I was walking through Washington Square Park, I kept on seeing neighbor after neighbor after neighbor. They’re like, ‘Hey, Line, what’s up? We knew you would be out here.’ It was like every single person that I knew was there.

But it just seemed, I don’t know, just kind of shocking to me, in some aspects, because I live down here, that there were people who felt differently, obviously, elsewhere in America. And I also hear it sometimes in the very Christian Chinese community. I hear it sometimes in parts of the district.

Like, we can talk to them, but it’s really about making sure that we actually answer people’s questions, give transparency and improve that messaging. But yeah, I think that’s one of the biggest things. I’m actually shocked when this has been law for so long.


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N.Y.P.D. Police Corruption and the Internal Affairs Bureau

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Chief Campisi said that the 2006 report, which he signed, was wrong to link tips and investigations — “It should have been two charts” — and that earlier reports, particularly those in 1996 and 1998, were poorly written.

Corruption cases are divided into more than a dozen categories in the reports, from violation of departmental regulations to serious felonies. In each of the last 16 years, two-thirds to three-quarters of the offenses involved narcotics, theft and what the department refers to as “other crimes” — like fraud, assault, drunken driving and domestic violence.

Narcotics offenses dropped sharply, to 213 cases in 2008, from 653 in 1993. At the same time, cases involving stolen property grew, to 394 in 2008 from 367 in 1993. Meanwhile, “abuse of department regulations,” as the reports call it — drinking or sleeping on duty, say — more than doubled, to 154 in 2008 from 64 in 1993. And the number of instances in which officers were accused of injuring or assaulting suspects or making false arrests soared to more than 180 in each of 2006 and 2007, from 10 in 1993.

The number of officers arrested reached a high of 167 in 1995 — as the department itself swelled with the absorption of the Housing and Transit Bureaus — and then fell fairly steadily to 86 in 2004. Since then, despite the shrinking of the ranks and the decline in crime, arrests crept up, to 124 in 2008.

The reports also chronicle the Police Department’s routine drug tests; through the years, officers were most often caught having used cocaine. The testing peaked in 1996, with 16,194 random tests, and 61 officers failing. In 2008, 10 officers failed drug tests, but it is difficult to gauge the significance of the number since the report does not say how many tests were administered.

Similarly, the reports’ accounts of integrity tests are inconsistent. Only 3 of the 16 annual reports include the number of both tests and failures; the most recent, in 2002, showed 486 tests and 54 failures, including 15 for criminal misconduct, 36 for procedural problems and 3 for supervisory issues.


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