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Public complaints about NYPD spike 40%, watchdog agency says in report

An NYPD cruiser sits with its lights on as residents congregate outside the NYCHA Howard Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn on Monday, June 5, 2023. (Gardiner Anderson/New York Daily News/TNS)

Police misconduct allegations filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board jumped about 40% in the first half of the year, the watchdog agency said in a report issued Monday.

The increase — from 4,233 in the first six months of 2022 to 5,917 during the same time frame this year — was not unexpected, several police sources said. They noted the NYPD has been making more arrests and issuing more summonses since Mayor Adams took office last year.

Through June, police made about 20% more arrests than last year and issued about 20% more summonses.

“More enforcement means more unwelcome interactions with the public,” one source said. “It only makes sense the complaints would go up.”

The increase is even more stark, 53%, for the number of complaints the CCRB wound up investigating — 2,776 so far this year versus 1,819 last year.

The report said the other complaints were forwarded to the NYPD for an investigation because they were not under the CCRB’s jurisdiction.

The watchdog also noted that there was a rise in the number of stop, question and frisk complaints filed — 502 in the first half of this year compared to 273 during the same time frame in 2022. That’s an increase of 87%.

The CCRB released a second report detailing 87 cases that concluded in the second quarter of the year, including 12 that ended with departmental trial verdicts and 17 that ended with pleas.

Asked for comment, a NYPD spokesperson said it’s “difficult to pinpoint” the reasons for the rise in complaints, explaining that factors may include “increased outreach efforts outlined in the CCRB’s new semi-annual report,” the watchdog’s “ability to generate its own cases” and “the NYPD’s historic number of felony arrests this year.”

“The important thing is there exists an independent repository for such complaints and a system for the NYPD and CCRB to vigorously, swiftly adjudicate each of them,” the spokesperson stated.

In one case, the CCRB recommended that a Bronx cop, Officer James Stalikas, be fired for an incident in which he was accused of pointing a gun at a man he believed to be involving in a credit card scam, hitting him with his collapsible baton and using a banned chokehold.

An NYPD judge found him guilty and recommended the loss of five days’ pay, a penalty that then-Commissioner Keechant Sewell agreed with.

Earlier this year, the CCRB in a scathing 590-page report found three dozen NYPD officers accused of excessive force and other misconduct during the George Floyd protests were not disciplined, even after the agency substantiated charges against them.

The report found 146 cops violated NYPD rules 269 times during the protests, with 34 demonstrators struck with batons, 28 pepper-sprayed and 59 roughed up with physical force.

The NYPD, which made more than 2,000 arrests during the heated protests, defended itself in a statement, noting that rioters vandalized police cars — setting some on fire — looted high-end storesmost notably in SoHo and attacked cops.


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