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New LatinoJustice Report Finds NYPD Cops Who Lie Aren’t Fired or Punished

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April 11, 2022  

Contact:  
Carolina González | Senior Director of Strategic Communication|
[email protected] | 212-739-7513  
Sarai Bejarano | Manager of Traditional & Digital Media |
[email protected] | 212-739-7581  

 

New LatinoJustice Report Finds NYPD Cops Who Lie Aren’t Fired or Punished 
LatinoJustice Calls for Reforms to the NYPD Disciplinary Process 

LINK TO REPORT HERE 

New York, NY – A new report by LatinoJustice PRLDEF – a national nonprofit advancing equity and justice in Puerto Rican and Latinx communities – shows that New York Police Department (NYPD) officers who were found to lie before the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) are rarely disciplined by the Police Department. The NYPD also doesn’t adequately disclose officer histories to criminal defendants, denying them a fair trial.   

“For far too long NYPD officers who lie during investigations of their conduct have seen no repercussions, in effect encouraging those officers inclined to lie to keep doing so,” said Lourdes M. Rosado LatinoJustice PRLDEF President and General Counsel. “The Department’s disregard of evidence on officers lying not only violates its stated policy, but it means future defendants are denied fair trial when history of officer lying is not disclosed. The NYPD must show that their policy that intentional false statements will result in dismissal is not itself a lie.”  

The LatinoJustice report, titled “Shielded from Accountability: How NYPD Officers Get Away with Lying to the CCRB” covers 144 cases involving 181 NYPD officers from 2010 through 2020.  

Report Highlights: 

  • In more than half the cases the CCRB forwarded, an officer’s testimony was contradicted by recorded video or audio evidence.
     
  • In most of the remaining cases, the officer’s statement was contradicted by NYPD paperwork or the testimony of another NYPD officer.
     
  • Nearly half of the officers who lied to the CCRB were never punished at all, even for the misconduct they lied about.
     
  • In the five cases where the NYPD punished the officer for the statement made to the CCRB, the allegation was downgraded to “misleading.” No officer was fired.
     
  • The NYPD and the DAs offices have provided inadequate information about officers who lie to criminal defendants. 
     

“We call upon the NYPD to follow its own protocols and fire these lying officers,” said Andrew Case, Senior Counsel at LatinoJustice, one of the authors of the report. “There is clear and indisputable evidence that these cops are betraying public integrity and trust and blatantly lying-in official proceedings. This is a sickening and habitual practice that must end now.”  

The report names the “LatinoJustice181” NYPD officers found to have lied to the CCRB and includes the underlying investigative materials. The data studied in the report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request after the repeal of Section 50-a of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act on June 12, 2020, which for years effectively shielded most records related to misconduct by police, firefighters and correction officers. 

According to the report's findings, only five officers were disciplined for making a false statement to the CCRB, and none were fired. NYPD Patrol Guidelines state that providing a “knowingly false statement on a material matter” in a CCRB interview will result in termination “absent exceptional circumstances.” 

The case files obtained by LatinoJustice showed that the CCRB investigations adhered to the strict standards required, and that the board only forwarded cases to the NYPD for further action where an officer’s material testimony was directly contradicted by independent evidence, such as a recording, photograph, or document. 

Based on the evidence laid out in “Shielded from Accountability,” LatinoJustice calls for reforms to the NYPD disciplinary process and an improved system for notifying criminal defendants when officers with a history of lying are brought to the stand.  

LatinoJustice has also asked the CCRB, going forward, to notify the New York’s public defender organizations whenever it makes these findings. This will in turn allow public defenders to identify officers with a history of lying and prevent these officers from presenting false testimony without being challenged in the future.  

“The process for holding officers who lie to the CCRB accountable is broken,” said Rosado. “We call on New York’s State legislature and City Council to work together to change the laws, so the NYPD Commissioner is not the sole entity authorized to discipline NYPD officers. We’ve seen successive police commissioners turn a blind eye to a department that does not punish officers for lying.”  

LatinoJustice Recommendations:  

  • Removing sole disciplinary authority from the NYPD commissioner. 
  • Strengthening the repeal of Section 50-a. 
  • Publicizing all findings of officers lying to the CCRB or elsewhere. 
  • Provide information on lying officers directly to public defenders 
  • Discharging officers who lie, as per NYPD policy.  
     

LINK TO THE FULL REPORT HERE 

FACT SHEET HERE 

SPANISH PRESS RELEASE

The report was researched and written by Andrew Case, Meena Oberdick, and Tayler Szabo, with assistance from LatinoJustice legal interns Sharim Estevez and Lorena Torres Peña. 

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About LatinoJustice  
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For five decades, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more, visit
www.LatinoJustice.org