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When the government agencies established to fight police misconduct can’t do their job, filing a lawsuit may be the most effective – or even the only way – to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions and stop such abuses from recurring.
Mayor Bloomberg had strong words about police misconduct in his 2012 State of the City address delivered on January 12, including a pledge to add more lawyers to the legal staff of his Commission to Combat Police Corruption – an independent board established in 1995 to monitor the Internal Affairs Bureau of the New York City Police Department and the anti-corruption activities of the department. However, even with the added staff, this commission does not have subpoena power and no effective way to induce cooperation from the department. Without the teeth that subpoena power would provide, the commission is simply not a very strong enforcement mechanism to deal with police corruption.
Then there is the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency set up to investigate complaints against New York City police officers alleging the use of excessive force and other misconduct. However, this Board currently has a vacant prosecutor position, so no prosecution of misconduct complaints are currently taking place. Even when this position was filled, the Board only handled three cases in its two-year history.
Meanwhile, seven narcotics investigators in Queens have been convicted of planting drugs on innocent people in order to meet their arrest quotas.
Protecting the Rights of Victims of Police Misconduct in New York
Civil litigation can do more than compensate a victim or police corruption or misconduct for the damage done to him or her. It can also be a powerful social tool for bringing such injustices to light and instituting reforms to prevent future misconduct, from police brutality to framing people for crimes they didn’t commit. If you have been the victim of police misconduct, contact New York City attorney Leandros Vrionedes for a free consultation.