New Report On Suspected Chokeholds Reveals “Troubling Deficiencies” Within NYPD

January 12, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

As the city is still reeling from a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white NYPD officer in the death of unarmed black man Eric Garner in December, a new report on excessive force by the NYPD’s inspector general finds that the NYPD and the independent review board are often not on the same page when it comes to determining disciplinary action for suspected use of prohibited chokeholds. The report, by Philip K. Eure, “recommends increased collaboration between the NYPD and the review board to streamline investigations and ensure consistencies,” reports the Associated Press. Eure states:

The report is “a deep-dive into cases involving this prohibited tactic to explore and demystify how these complaints are addressed internally,” Eure said. “Our targeted analysis revealed troubling deficiencies from the top-down that must be rectified.”

Eure’s report examined 10 alleged chokehold cases from the past five years and found that in instances where the board recommended disciplinary action, the NYPD rarely pursued it:

The complaint review board investigates claims of officer misconduct and makes recommendations on whether to discipline an officer. Until recently, the NYPD could choose to try more serious allegations internally or ignore them. Under a 2012 agreement, the review board now tries some cases. The police commissioner has the final say on whether to discipline an officer.

The inspector general’s probe of 10 suspected chokehold cases in the past five years found that the review board substantiated all of the chokehold claims and recommended disciplining the officers. But the Police Department did not pursue discipline in most of the cases, according to the report. Instead, most of the officers were instructed on department policy.

Though Garner died after being put in a prohibited chokehold, his case is not included in it because “the watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, has not made any determinations on the case.”