Cameras Make It Much Easier to Prove NYPD Misconduct

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28:  Police stand near where two U.S. Marshals and one New York Police Department (NYPD) detective were shot in the afternoon along a quiet street on July 28, 2014 in the West Village of Manhattan, New York City. While details are still emerging, the officer and marshals were trying to apprehend a suspect who was shot and killed in the incident.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Unsurprising, but still worth noting: The ubiquity of surveillance and cell-phone cameras is making it much easier to prove when the police have done something wrong.

In a newly released report, the Civilian Complaint Review Board — the agency tasked with investigating allegations of NYPD misconduct — announced that it substantiated a record-breaking 30 percent of its cases in September. The CCRB has now gone six straight months with substantiation rates over 20 percent, compared with an overall rate of 17 percent in 2014 and 11 percent in 2010. CCRB executive director Mina Malik attributed the trend to “the availability of video evidence.” Per DNAinfo: “The board substantiated more than 50 percent of cases where there was video evidence, compared with 22 percent of cases without such evidence.” (Also worth noting: The organization has seen a 19 percent decrease in complaints about cop behavior since 2014.)

It’s not clear if this means that officers who commit misconduct are more likely to be punished. In the past, the NYPD has rarely followed the CCRB’s discipline recommendations. On the other hand, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton has vowed to get tougher on cops who break the rules.