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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

LDF Provides Testimony to NYC Council Committee on Oversight and Investigation on Procedures for Complaints Alleging Improper Police Conduct

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

LDF Provides Testimony to NYC Council Committee on Oversight and Investigation on Procedures for Complaints Alleging Improper Police Conduct

On June 28, 2016, LDF and the Legal Aid Society provided joint testimony to New York City Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations, regarding proposed bill 119-C. Proposed bill 119-C is a local law to amend the New York City Administrative Code and the New York City Charter to require the collection and evaluation of civil actions, claims, and complaints alleging improper police conduct. As counsel in the federal class-action lawsuit Davis et al. v. City of New York et al., and now part of the court monitoring of the NYPD, LDF is in a unique position to testify about policing in NYC and steps necessary to improve police training, supervision, disciplining, and monitoring in the areas of stop-and-frisk and trespass enforcement. 

This bill is an important first step in identifying patterns and trends of police misconduct, and has the potential to improve both officer performance and police-community relations. With this data, supervisors and senior officials within the NYPD can identify at-risk officers who may be in need of enhanced training, monitoring or discipline. If collected and used properly, this data can become a tremendous resource for the benefit of individual officers, the police department, community members, and the City at large. LDF believes that the collection and evaluation of civil actions and other complaints alleging police misconduct is vital to improve police practices and provide the transparency and accountability that is necessary to build trust and legitimacy within the diverse and vibrant communities in New York City served by the NYPD.

To further enhance the benefits and capabilities of collecting this data, however, LDF suggests the following amendments to the proposed legislation:

  • Expand the type of data collected beyond those enumerated in the proposed bill to include the collection of critical information, such as the precinct where the incident occurred and the race, gender, and disability status of the officer and civilian plaintiff;
  • Specify in the bill how the collected data will be used, especially the responsibilities of supervising officers to take action based on this valuable information, in order to improve the quality of police services and prevent incidents of future police misconduct; and
  • Ensure transparency to the public of the data collection, analyses, results, and consequences in order to improve legitimacy and trust of the police within the community.

LDF encourages the Committee on Oversight and Investigations to amend proposed bill 119-C, as suggested during our testimony.

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.