Racial Profiling & Bias-Based Policing Investigations Unit

The Racial Profiling and Bias Based Policing (“RPBP”) Unit is a unit at the CCRB focused on investigating civilian complaints of profiling/biased policing by uniformed (not civilian) members of the NYPD based on 10 different protected categories:

  • Race
  • National origin/ethnicity
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Immigration or citizenship status
  • Gender/gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Housing status

Staffed with attorneys, investigators, and data scientists, the RPBP unit investigates whether an NYPD officer’s conduct during an encounter with a civilian was based on one or more of the civilian’s actual or perceived protected trait, listed above. The CCRB also investigates complaints in which a civilian alleges an officer has taken law enforcement action against them, or failed to take law enforcement action on their behalf, because of one or more of those protected traits.

If you believe an NYPD officer discriminated against you because of your race, ethnicity/national origin, color, religion, age, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, or housing status, you can file a complaint and RPBP will investigate it even if the officer did not engage in any other misconduct like excessive force, improper stop or search, or use of discourteous or offensive language.

Racial Profiling and Biased-Based Policing

Racial profiling occurs when an NYPD officer takes law enforcement action against you (for example: stopping your car or stopping you on the street, an arrest, summons, search, or move-along order) because of your actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or color. Bias-based policing occurs when an NYPD officer takes law enforcement action against you because of your religion, age, immigration or citizenship status, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or housing status.

Local Law 47

CCRB’s investigative power comes from the New York City Charter, Section 440(c). The City Council passed Local Law 47 (2021), which amended the Charter to clarify that investigating allegations of “racial profiling and bias-based policing” falls under the CCRB’s “abuse of authority” jurisdiction.

Prior to this amendment, all profiling and biased policing complaints received by the CCRB were referred to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB). The New York City Commission on Human Rights also investigated complaints of bias-based profiling by all New York City-based law enforcement officers (not only members of service of the NYPD).

Complaint examples

  1. Civilians can complain about any police action (or failure to act) that is based on their membership in a protected category. Below are some examples of profiling/bias-based policing:
  2. A civilian, who wears a turban, is pulled over in his vehicle after doing a rolling stop at a stop sign. Most other drivers, who do not appear to be wearing turbans, are not pulled over by the NYPD when they do a rolling stop at the stop sign.
  3. After school dismissal, NYPD officers tell Black students from a middle school to leave the neighborhood. White students from the same school are allowed to remain in the area.
  4. On a weekend night, two women are standing on the same corner checking their mobile phones. The first, a transgender woman, is stopped by officers, questioned about her activities, and asked for identification. The second, who appears to be cisgender, is not stopped, questioned, or asked for identification.
  5. On a subway car late at night, NYPD officers remove a sleeping man who appears to be homeless and issue him a summons. Two other men who are also sleeping in the subway car, but who do not appear to be homeless, are allowed to remain on the train.
  6. Two officers stop a group of three young Latino men around 2am, ask them if they have any weapons, and pat them down. When they ask why they were stopped, the officers explain that there have been several recent shootings in the area committed by Latino men in their 20s and that the three men should not be walking around so late at night.
  7. A civilian enters a police station to report domestic abuse by his partner, who happens to be a woman. The officer on duty refuses to accept the civilian’s complaint, saying he should “man up.”