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Giuliani opposes most of these changes, particularly putting teeth into the paper tiger CCRB, which is supposed to oversee cops. Related Gully Stories:

NYPD Cops: Drilling Deep
An overview of NYC police brutality.

NYPD: The Picture is Bleak
An interview with Norman Siegel of the NYCLU advocating federal intervention.

Cops' Murderous Fear
The fear defense in the Diallo shooting.

How To Clean Up the NYPD

by Ana Simo

41 bulletsMARCH 28, 2000. The New York Civil Liberties Union thinks the following six-point plan will help curb police brutality and excessive use of force by the New York City Police Department:

• Strengthen the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

• Create a Special Prosecutor for police brutality and corruption.

• Eliminate the 48-hour rule whereby a police officer can refuse to talk to NYPD investigators for 48-hours after being identified as a suspect.

• Establish a residency requirement for police officers, tied to an affirmative action plan.

• Improve training at the police academy and in precincts, to include discussions about race relations and community-police relations.

• Create elected Police-Community Advisory Boards to monitor police activity at the precinct level.

• Work with police officers to advocate for policy changes—better police pay and facilities, more computers—that will improve police morale, which will ultimately improve community-police relations.

Mayor Giuliani opposes most of these changes, particularly putting some teeth into the paper tiger CCRB, the civilian agency that is supposed to oversee and control the cops. Giuliani keeps the CCRB on a very short leash. He personally picks five of the thirteen board members. His sidekick, Police Comissioner Safir picks three others. That makes a majority of eight. The remaining five are designated by the City Council. The Mayor also picks the agency's chairperson.

If that was not enough, there's always the loyal Safir to sweep under the blue rug any dirt the CCRB may uncover. Between 1996 and 1998, a whopping 60% of the cases of police misconduct found by the CCRB were dismissed by Safir and few police officers were disciplined.

The Civil Liberties Union wants the CCRB to have its own legal unit to prosecute police officers it has charged with abuses. That way, the board would not be entirely dependent on the police department's internal disciplinary system, which is notoriously hostile to civilian complaints, even when they come wrapped in the mantle of a mayoral agency.

diallo protesterDo not expect any of this to happen under Giuliani's watch. And do not expect most of it to happen under any of the lackluster Democrats now making pre-mayoral noises, unless a groundswell of civic revulsion in the city makes it safe for them.

Related links:

For the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (You can now file your cop brutality complain online! Its better than playing lotto!)

For a look behind the scenes at what's wrong with the NYPD and how to fix it, go to Deflecting Blame: The Dissenting Report of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's Task Force on Police/Community Relations

For The New York Police Department (In case you're tempted to fill out an application for the Police Academy online!)

For Complete Coverage New York City

In Depth

nypd patch Police violence and brutality in NYC. Includes an overview of NYPD problems, and possible solutions.

Color and Cash
race and classThe Gully's complete coverage of race and class, two intertwined pillars of American society.

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