http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/crime/nyc-oversight-agency-says-less-complaints-but-more-cops-lying/article/433406

NYC oversight agency says fewer complaints but more cops lying

Posted May 16, 2015 by Megan Hamilton
An annual report compiled by the Civilian Complaint Review Board and released on Wednesday has found more evidence of police officers lying but the number of complaints filed by civilians is down.
NYPD officers stand guard while demonstrators march through Times Square on April 29  2015 in New Yo...
NYPD officers stand guard while demonstrators march through Times Square on April 29, 2015 in New York
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AFP
In one case, according to the report, an officer claimed he pulled his gun on a civilian because he feared for his safety and said he didn't remember swearing. However, a recording showed the officer hollering a racial slur and pointing his gun at someone who was only holding a cellphone, WNYC reports.
"The advent and the prevalence of videotape" is making it easier to tell when a cop isn't telling the truth, said Richard Emery, Chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).
Several of the untrue statements were debunked by video evidence recorded at the scene of an incident, Emery said, per The New York Daily News. He wasn't surprised by the uptick of cops caught lying.
"It is the inevitable result of videotaping more street encounters," he said. "It's interesting that there is not more. Videotape is hard to dispute when it's clear."
The falsehoods were also contradicted by fellow officers on the scene or by independent bystanders, the CCRB reports.
In another instance, a cop who was accused of misconduct during a stop-and-frisk said he didn't go through a man's pockets, but video surveillance inside the building showed that he did.
The officer continued to deny the allegation, even after being confronted with the video.
"(The civilian) can say whatever he wants, that's not what happened," the cop said.
Then there's the case where a civilian was stopped by an officer for riding his bike on the sidewalk, RT.com reports. A bystander asked the officer what was going on and refused to follow the officer's order to back away, The report states that video footage showed an officer bringing a civilian to the ground, "kicking the civilian in the side while another officer was punching him." Further, the video showed "the officers kicked the civilian" in the head and struck him on the head several times with handcuffs.
However, when the officer was interviewed, he denied using the handcuffs or having anything in his hand as he struck the civilian. The officer was shown the video evidence, but still continued to deny hitting the civilian with handcuffs, saying "he couldn't see what the investigator was referring to when the handcuffs were pointed out to him."
Despite cases like this, the numbers are low in comparison to the size of the department, where there are about 35,000 officers. In 2014, the CCRB found 26 instances of of police officers possibly making false official statements. That's an increase from 13 that were reported the year before. Only two were reported in 2010, WNYC reports.
In 2014, the CCRB received over 4,700 complaints, but even so that represents an 11 percent drop from 2013, when people filed over 5,300 complaints of police misconduct. The report found that the reason for the decrease is that there were fewer law enforcement interactions with the public, RT.com reports.
The number of complaints was higher when police were conducting excessive stop-and-frisk procedures. In fact, more than one in four of the complaints were over improper stop-and-frisk searches.
According to the 110-page report, in cases where the CCRB conducted full investigations, around 37 percent (716 out of 1,917) were forwarded to the police department regarding misconduct allegations. The rates were 17 percent lower in previous years. The CCRB says that it successfully mediated 182 cases in 2014, and that's an increase of 38 percent.
The amount of time it takes to investigate a case also dropped from 329 days in 2013 to 271 days last year. Also last year, the rate at which officers in cases where the CCRB found evidence of misconduct were disciplined also increased, from 57 percent in 2013, to 73 percent.
"We are currently reviewing the report and we look forward to continuing to work alongside CCRB in order to improve the overall process," the NYPD said in a statement.