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NYPD Officers Not Properly Disciplined for Banned Chokeholds: Report

By Ben Fractenberg | January 12, 2015 3:00pm
 The NYPD's first inspector general, Philip Eure, released a report Monday on chokehold cases, Jan. 12, 2015. 
The NYPD's first inspector general, Philip Eure, released a report Monday on chokehold cases, Jan. 12, 2015. 
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MIDTOWN — Police officers were quick to use banned chokeholds during arrests and discipline was lax and inconsistent for those found to have used the technique, according to the first report by the NYPD’s inspector general.

Several officers used chokeholds as a “first act of physical force” in response to a “mere verbal confrontation,” rather than deescalating the situation, according to the report.

Investigators also found that the NYPD employed a “complex, opaque process” that may have “discounted” CCRB disciplinary recommendations, the IG said Monday.

“After the tragic death of Eric Garner, and intense scrutiny of chokeholds, OIG-NYPD conducted a deep- dive into cases involving this prohibited tactic to explore and demystify how these complaints are addressed internally,” NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure said in a statement. “Our targeted analysis revealed troubling deficiencies from the top-down that must be rectified.”

The report also found that in six cases where former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly made the final disciplinary recommendation that were either “less severe” than what the CCRB recommended or that where no penalties were given to officers, the report said.

The IG’s office made several recommendations on dealing with chokehold cases, including better collaboration between the NYPD and CCRB, ensuring police commissioner’s decisions are transparent and better information sharing between agencies.

The report covered 10 cases between 2009 and 2014 where the Civilian Complaint Review Board determined officers used chokeholds, but the office delayed the release of their 34-page report by three weeks after the shootings deaths of the two police officers in Brooklyn last month.

NYPD leaders said they "embrace" the report and are working to implement the recommendations. 

"I would reinforce that the inspector general’s report looked at 10 incidents," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said during a Monday press conference. "As of this juncture I have not had a so-called chokehold report come across my desk yet from CCRB. And so that is a report of past activity."