Complaints against NYPD cops spiked 50% in 2023, highest total in a decade, report says

NEW YORK — The number of civilian complaints filed in 2023 by New Yorkers against the NYPD rose to 5,550, the highest total in a decade, according to a new oversight report released Monday.

The number of complaints in the year jumped 50% over 2022, when 3,700 complaints were filed, the Civilian Complaint Review Board reported.

In 2012, 5,742 complaints were filed. After that, the annual number of complaints stayed mostly on a downward trend until 2022, the first year of the Adams administration when it began to increase.

The CCRB also reported that complaints containing an allegation about a stop and frisk rose from 522 in 2022 to 940 in 2023, an 80% jump. The City Council recently voted to override the mayor’s veto of a law that requires cops to more closely record stops.

“The sharp jump in complaints last year to a 10-year high is an alarming sign the NYPD is becoming much more abusive with New Yorkers,” said Christopher Dunn, legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “And we are particularly concerned about increasing stop-and-frisk complaints, which signal a return to a tactic that has racial profiling at its core and carries little public-safety benefit.”

The precincts that recorded the most complaints in the year were the 75th in East New York with 205 complaints in 2023 compared to 124 in 2022, the 40th in the South Bronx and the 44th in the Southwest Bronx.

In the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, complaints rose from 76 in 2022 to 171 in 2023 — a 125% increase.

The CCRB also reported that complaints containing an allegation about a stop and frisk rose from 522 in 2022 to 940 in 2023, an 80% jump. (Mark Bonifacio / New York Daily News) Meanwhile, an activist group released a report Monday which found that in 297 criminal court arraignments from July 2023 through December, 279 or 94% of defendants were Black or Hispanic.

A similar disparity has existed in the first two years of the Adams administration — 1,440 out of 1,567 defendants were Black or Hispanic or 92%, the analysis by the Police Reform Organizing Project found.

The percentage is slightly higher than the period spanning the tenures of mayors Bill de Blasio and Adams from June 2014 through December 2023 which PROP found 89.8% of defendants were of color.

PROP director Robert Gangi noted the racial disparity exists even as the mayor and much of the top leadership of the NYPD is either Black or Hispanic.

“The reality is that as long as an agency is committed to certain policies — in this case, the NYPD and its broken windows strategy targeting the City’s marginalized communities — whoever is leading the institution will not substantially change the institution’s on the ground day to day actions,” Gangi said in a statement.

White New Yorkers, the PROP report says, make up 30% of the population but only 6% of criminal court defendants. Blacks make up 20% of the population but 58% of criminal court defendants, the report added.

The CCRB also reported it is moving faster to complete their investigation of complaint, with the average number of days needed falling from 561 in 2022 to 438 days in 2023 — still an average of 14.6 months.

A second CCRB report issued Monday offered an overview of the final outcomes of disciplinary cases for October through December 2023. Under the rules, the police commissioner can overturn recommendations from the CCRB and the administrative trial judge and make his own decision.

In eight trials during the period where the CCRB recommended discipline ranging from 10 days to firing, Police Commissioner Edward Caban agreed with the trial judge’s not guilty verdict in five cases and a guilty verdict in two cases.

In the case of Officer Daniel Alvarez, who was accused of hitting protesters with his car, the trial judge recommended a 40-day suspension and one year probation, but Caban issued a not guilty finding.

In 64 cases where officers pleaded guilty, Caban accepted the penalty in 52 cases, reduced or dismissed the charges in 11 cases and increased the penalty in one case.

Caban removed 11 cases from the CCRB and handed out low-level discipline in seven cases and no discipline in four cases.

In a statement, the NYPD said police officers are deployed to locations where crime has been reported or community concerns have been lodged.

“Enforcement is conducted impartially,” the department said. ” As a matter of policy, officers are expected to follow and apply existing laws, and are not directed to conduct specific numbers of stops. … NYPD officers carry out their work without consideration of race or ethnicity.”