How NYPD Officers Get Away with Lying to the CCRB

On paper, the policy of the New York Police Department (NYPD) is that “[i]ntentionally making a false official statement regarding a material matter will result in dismissal from the Department, absent exceptional circumstances.” But it has long been an open secret that the NYPD almost never disciplines officers who lie, particularly in those cases where officers lie during an interview before the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).

The NYPD has publicly defended its refusal to discipline these officers by claiming that the CCRB forwarded shoddy investigations and acted with bias. New York Civil Rights Law 50-a–which has since been repealed–shielded these cases from disclosure, making it impossible to independently refute the NYPD’s claims.

With the repeal of 50-a, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has been able to obtain the full case files, interview statements, or both, in the 144 cases involving 181 officers who lied to the CCRB. The results show that the NYPD has utterly failed to take lying by officers seriously, refusing to discipline officers in the face of incontrovertible evidence that they lied. We found that:

  • In more than one-half the cases the CCRB forwarded to the NYPD, an officer’s testimony was contradicted by recorded video or audio evidence.
  • In most of the remaining cases, the officer’s statement was contradicted by NYPD paperwork or the testimony of another NYPD officer.
  • Nearly one-half of the officers who lied to the CCRB were never disciplined at all, even for the underlying misconduct they lied about.
  • In the five cases in which the NYPD disciplined the officer for the statement made to the CCRB, the allegation was downgraded to “misleading.” No officer was fired.
  • The NYPD has provided inadequate information about officers who lie to criminal defendants and their attorneys.

The NYPD’s refusal to act when its officers lie has serious ramifications. Officers who receive no consequences for lying will continue to do so. Individuals who are never told that an officer testifying against them is known as a liar cannot receive fair trials.

A VERY interesting report that can be read at the website or downloaded and printed out to be read at any time. Download the report HERE

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