Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today urged uniformed members of the service to
avail themselves of the Civilian Complaint Review Board mediation process as a
non-disciplinary way to resolve complaints against them. Mediated
complaints do not become part of an officer’s record.
reinvigorating the program at CCRB’s request last year, the NYPD has encouraged
more and more officers to resolve complaints against them by sitting down with
their accusers. Both sides listen to each other, and more often than not the
dispute is resolved with a handshake,” Commissioner Kelly
year 112 complaints were successfully resolved through mediation. Another 81
were similarly resolved so far this year.
36,000 uniformed members of the service received today with their pay stubs a
brochure explaining the mediation process.
different types of complaints are appropriate for mediation. In general,
any complaint that does not involve a pending criminal matter (including
violations), physical injury, or
property damage can be mediated.
consists of the officer, civilian and a trained mediator meeting to discuss the
incident that led to the complaint.
mediation is a confidential process. Everyone participating in the
mediation, including the mediator, must sign a confidentiality agreement.
An officer can bring an attorney or union representative to the
CCRB office, but they are not permitted in the
mediation session. The officer can, however stop the mediation at anytime to
consult a representative or attorney.
the mediation is over, the case is closed and cannot be sent back for an
investigation. The civilian complainant does have the right, during the
mediation, to ask to end the mediation and have the complaint investigated, but
this rarely happens as 98% of cases are resolved.
usually take about one hour, but the mediation will continue as long as the
officer and complainant are making progress.
department does not consider mediated complaints when reviewing an officer’s
is an example of a mediation:
11:00 PM on a Monday in January last year, three musicians who had finished
performing at a rock concert were driving their van slowly through
Lower Manhattan while trying to find the
Holland Tunnel. A marked police car containing three uniformed officers from the
local Transit District stopped the van by cutting it off, and one of the
officers issued the van’s driver a ticket for failing to use a turn signal
properly when changing lanes.
to the driver of the van, who later filed a complaint with the CCRB, the
officers berated the three with rude statements throughout the stop, such as,
“Are you a f-----g idiot?” When the driver apologized and asked what he
had done wrong, an officer allegedly replied, “Don’t apologize, you’re so
driver stated that he felt threatened by the officers’ behavior and believed
that the officers had singled them out because they were musicians with long
hair. He also did not believe that he had changed lanes without using his turn
learning about both CCRB options -- investigation and mediation -- the driver of
the van chose to resolve his CCRB complaint through mediation, explaining that
he would pay his summons, but that he wanted to address what he saw as the
officers’ inappropriate conduct.
thereafter, the driver of the van met all three officers for a mediation session
at the CCRB’s offices with two trained mediators present. During the mediation
session, the officers explained that they had stopped the van because it was
driving erratically as the band members tried to find their way to the tunnel –
starting and stopping, changing lanes without signaling and driving unusually
officers explained that they had not targeted the bandmates based upon their
long hair – in fact, because it was dark they had not been able to see inside
the van before they stopped it. One of the officers explained that when he
signed up for the Police Academy, it was hard to cut off his own
long hair. The officers also explained to the driver that, when they had tried
to pull him over, he had nearly caused a collision between the two cars based
upon his unpredictabledriving.
the driver had not been aware that he had been driving unsafely, he conceded
that he may have done so due to his confusion. At the driver’s
the officers then explained the safest ways to pull over if being stopped by the
response to the driver’s statement that he felt threatened, the officers
discussed the fact that car stops are one of the most dangerous situations for
police officers. The officers asserted that they had treated the three sternly
during the stop in order to maintain control over the situation. However, when
the driver raised the issue of the officers’ insulting statements, the officers
acknowledged that they had lost their tempers due to his driving, and recognized
that many of their comments were inappropriate, and, in fact, unnecessary to
maintain control of the situation.
officers then apologized for their insulting statements. The musician accepted
the officers’ explanation for their behavior and apology, and in turn apologized
for his driving. The mediation session ended with a round of
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