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NYPD Complaints Surge Under Mayor Adams, Highest Since 2012

The New York City police department’s disciplinary issues are reaching a critical point in the third year of Mayor Eric Adams’s tough-on-crime administration. Complaints have surged to their highest level since 2012, while stop-and-frisk encounters are rising as are instances of impunity among rank-and-file officers, says the city’s independent police watchdog agency. There has also been a problem with instances of NYPD officers wearing morale patches on their bulletproof vests containing possible white supremacist imagery, The Guardian reports. The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) has sustained complaints against several cops for wearing skull patches, which resemble the logo of the comic book superhero the Punisher, while on duty. A passage from a 2020 CCRB case-closing report notes that the Punisher symbol has been adopted by various groups, including the U.S. military, white supremacists, and law enforcement. Between 2017 and 2021, the logo was observed on clothing and weapons at white supremacy rallies, according to the report, which sustained misconduct allegations against three officers for wearing such patches.

The CCRB has stopped investigating whole categories of complaints, in response to rounds of budget cuts, if they are isolated incidents, including failure of officers to provide their name and shield number, discourtesy, refusal to process a civilian complaint, property seizures, forced hospitalizations or untruthfulness. Yet some 2,355 complaints were made against NYPD personnel as of June 1. That is the highest total number at this point in the year since 2012 when 2,374 complaints were lodged against police. Vehicle stops have skyrocketed 50% without a commensurate increase in seized contraband, arrests, summonses or other legal actions. According to a letter from the court monitor overseeing a 2013 settlement, NYPD officers are also inaccurately documenting stop-and-frisk encounters with no accountability. The letter criticizes the Adams administration's rebranding of aggressive anti-crime units as "neighborhood safety teams" and "precinct safety teams," which had previously led to a significant rise in stop-and-frisk incidents under the Bloomberg administration, disproportionately affecting Black and Latino New Yorkers.


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