The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) is an independent Agency that is empowered to receive, investigate, prosecute, mediate, hear, make findings, and recommend action upon complaints filed against members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) that allege the use of excessive or unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy, or the use of offensive language.
People file complaints for many different reasons and with different goals in mind. Here are a few possible reasons:
- Receive a Fair Hearing
- Filing a complaint means that the alleged misconduct will be impartially investigated. Police officers are more often than not disciplined when the board finds that they engaged in misconduct.
- Speak Directly to the Officer
- You may be offered the option of having your complaint mediated. Mediation lets you resolve a complaint by talking with the officer face-to-face. You and the officer sit down as equals in a quiet, private space and have a discussion under the guidance of a trained and independent mediator.
- Create a Record
- By filing a complaint, you are making a permanent record that will remain in the officer’s personnel history.
- Change the Officer’s Behavior
- Officers are often retrained and disciplined when the CCRB finds that they committed misconduct. This can prevent future abusive behavior. Because your complaint becomes part of an officer’s personnel record, even if the CCRB does not substantiate your allegations, police supervisors are made aware of potentially abusive officers.
- Change Police Department Practices
- Complaints can alert police supervisors about abusive practices within their precincts or commands. Plus, the CCRB monitors complaint activity for patterns of misconduct or evidence of problems with departmental training and policies and recommends solutions to the police commissioner.
What Happens When You Delay Filing
Investigations become more difficult with the passage of time. Also, in most cases administrative charges for misconduct can only be brought against a police officer within 18 months of the date of the incident and the investigation can take many months or even a year or more to complete.
Who Can File?
Anyone who witnesses or experiences alleged police misconduct can file a complaint with the CCRB.
- You can file a complaint regardless of your age.
- You can file a complaint even if you do not speak English. The CCRB has staff who speak over a dozen different languages. The Agency also utilizes the city’s volunteer language bank and an outside translation service as needed.
- You can file a complaint if you are in jail.
- You can file a complaint if you are not a citizen and regardless of your immigration status. The CCRB does not ask complainants, victims or witnesses questions about their citizenship status.
Although helpful, you do not need to know the name or badge number of the officer who is the subject of your complaint.
What happens after you file a complaint?