The New York Civil Liberties Union has finally been granted access to NYPD reports (as well as reports from other police agencies in the state) that were previously sealed under a troubling interpretation of New York’s Open Records Law. The revelations therein have been stunning, to say the least. Indeed, this new investigation has uncovered a trove of previously unknown cases of police brutality and excessive force in New York City-including multiple incidents of officers discharging firearms unnecessarily.
In March of this year, leaked reports made their way into the hands of BuzzFeed investigators. These previously sealed reports showed that between 2011 and 2015 there were at least 319 incidents of police officers and employees of various police agencies committing offenses serious enough to warrant dismissal. However, none of these 319 incidents resulted in termination. In fact, some resulted in no serious disciplinary action at all.
Of those 319 incidents, 38 involved excessive force resulting in a “guilty” verdict being issued by an internal police tribunal. Some of these incidents involved officers instigating fights, discharging their weapons, or using some other form of force deemed excessive according to the agency’s own definition of the term.
If there were this many instances of excessive force being hidden from public eyes, how many victims’ cases have gone unresolved because of this secrecy?
Despite numerous excessive force lawsuits, it is readily apparent that the City has yet to get to the root cause of these problems. Indeed, these excessive force lawsuits in New York City are often settled out of court and allows the NYPD to close the matter without accepting liability. Only a handful of the many hundreds of cases ever reach the public. Rarely do you hear victims speak about the details of their ordeal or settlements.
If you’ve been injured in an instance of officer-instigated brutality, contact an experienced excessive force attorney in New York City today. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 to get the legal help you need now.