NYPD Reforms Introduced to Stem the Tide of Police Misconduct
The NYPD have been taking steps to improve the strained relationship between police and the community. A number of reforms have been introduced, which the Mayor and Governor hope will stem the tide of police misconduct and public mistrust in the police.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William J. Bratton have agreed to new additions to the NYPD and NYC Law Department. Contrary to the Mayor’s previous stance, he has decided to add nearly 1,300 new police officers to the NYPD as of 2016. However, numerous police reform advocates are disappointed that the Mayor has increased the size of the NYPD, at a cost of $100 million to the city’s budget, rather than focusing on fixing the systematic problems of police misconduct that have beset the NYPD. The Police Commissioner hopes that these new officers will help heal the strained relationship between the police and local communities. Mayor de Blasio is also investing $3.2 million in the New York City Law Department to employ more lawyers and support staff to help handle lawsuits against the NYPD for false arrest, excessive force and police misconduct.
In addition, the NYPD has recently introduced a new detection system that pinpoints the exact location of gunfire. The system is called ShotSpotter and works by installing sensitive microphones that pick-up the sound of gunshots. Both the Mayor and Police Commissioner believe ShotSpotter will help improve the relationship between the police and communities. However, critics of the system are concerned that ShotSpotter will be used to violate the rights of individuals, as the collection and storage of public sounds constitutes a warrantless search & seizure.
In another move to tackle police misconduct, Governor Cuomo has designated New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to specifically prosecute cases where police have killed unarmed civilians. This will allow the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute police officers that are involved in fatal encounters with civilians. Cuomo hopes that this will help “reverse the energy, reverse the momentum, revers the dynamic” of the relationship between the police and the community. This is specifically targeting one of the biggest complaints of minority communities - that District Attorneys are not prosecuting cases where police have killed civilians. The move has been supported by groups that represent the relatives of civilians killed by police.
If you know someone who has been killed by the police, or has been a victim of police misconduct, police brutality or excessive force, please get in touch with the attorneys at PetersonDelleCave LLP: (212) 240-9075