|New Police-Review Powers
Lawyers from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that decides whether complaints about police misconduct should be acted on, will now prosecute cases ranging from excessive force and abuse of authority to foul language. The deal, brokered by Speaker Quinn and the Bloomberg Administration, was announced yesterday. Before, police employees heard the cases passed on from the board. But from 2002 to 2010, the board recommended that 2,100 officers be given the most severe penalty, and only 150 officers received it. In 2010, there was a 30 percent spike in instances of police misconduct substantiated by the board. Department employees will still serve as judges in misconduct cases, and Commissioner Kelly will retain his powers as ultimate arbiter in such matters, but must explain his rationale in writing. The board can appeal. Kelly will also be able to “exercise discretion” to stop the board from pursuing cases that are either undergoing parallel criminal investigations or in which the officer in question has no prior disciplinary record.