NY Landscape

NYPD Police Brutality Continues Despite Cell Phone Recordings

police brutality In the technology age of cell phone recordings and videos it is a wonder that police officers continue to use banned practices to subdue people on the street. In 1985, the NYPD Commissioner Benjamin Ward proclaimed an order stating that the practice of chokeholds would only be used if a police officer's life was in danger. Fast forward to 1991, NYPD banned the practice completely. According to one article in the New York Law Journal the practice is no longer being taught to police who are placed on patrol duty.

On the heals of the death of Eric Garner, who died after a police officer used an illegal choke hold, citizens are wondering why is this practice still being used after it was banned.

Unfortunately, Eric Garner has not been the only victim since the practice was banned in 1993. Another death occurred when officer Francis Livolti placed Anthony Baez in a chokehold. Officer Francis Livolti was tried both in State court and Federal court where he was found guilty of a Class E felony after being initially acquitted in State court. According to the New York Post, out of more than one thousand police brutality complaints to The Civilian Complaint Review Board involving chokeholds, only nine cases have been substantiated. Shockingly, the most severe punishment issued by the NYPD in these cases has been the loss of an Officer’s vacation days.

Police Officers who have used such tactics as chokeholds, have recently been recorded with the advent of cell phones, most notably in the Eric Garner case. However, there have been widespread allegations of NYPD officers trying to stop cell phone recordings during incidents involving NYPD officers. The NYPD Commissioner and the Judge in the Stop-and-Frisk case have encouraged the use of cellphones, however. Courts in other states have found the use of cell phones recording the police during an “altercation” safeguarded by the Constitutional Right of Freedom of Speech. Muriel Goode Trufant, the chief of the federal litigation division that defends NYPD from civil rights lawsuits, stated that “The police department had a clear policy that “bystanders are allowed to film police officers as long as they're not interfering with the officers' duties and or police operations.” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton has decided to take a pro-active approach to the problem, introducing a test program, where some police officers will wear cameras. As stated by the commissioner, “[t]his pilot program will provide transparency accountability and protection...” Minority Groups who have been the most affected by these banned practices certainly hope so.

If you have been victim of police brutality, excessive force or false arrest by NYPD , please get in touch with the attorneys at PetersonDelleCave LLP. 212 240 9075.

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