February 6, 2023
While acknowledging the effort the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) put into its investigation, the NYPD respectfully objects to much of the CCRB’s characterization of its response to the 2020 protests. After two-and-a-half years removed from these protests, many, if not all, of the CCRB’s recommendations to amend certain NYPD policies or training in its report have already been enhanced by the Department in response to its own self-initiated analysis as well as from recommendations from three other agencies who conducted investigations immediately after the demonstrations.
A key element missing from this report is any acknowledgement that officers were performing their utmost duty, protecting the city and its people, under what were often sustained, dangerous conditions.
At the peak of the protests, there were more than 22,000 NYPD officers deployed in a single day, attempting to facilitate people’s rights to peaceful expression all while addressing acts of lawlessness including wide-scale rioting, mass chaos, violence, and destruction. Officers were faced with perpetrators who were looting, setting fires, and destroying property. During this period, more than 400 uniformed members of the NYPD were injured, with over 250 of them hospitalized, and nearly 300 NYPD vehicles were vandalized, including several that were destroyed by arson from the throwing of Molotov cocktails.
Notably, the report includes CCRB’s substantiation rates – less than 15% of all allegations identified in this report were substantiated by the CCRB. This confirms that the NYPD response to the protests during the summer of 2020 was largely professional, commendable, and responsive to the unique circumstances that were present at the time.
The CCRB fully examined 225 complaints that fell within their jurisdiction to investigate allegations of excessive force, abuse of authority, discourtesy, or offensive language. These 225 complaints contained a total of 1,800 distinct allegations, of which only 14.94% were substantiated. All told, 138 individual NYPD officers were the subject of substantiated CCRB complaints. Considering that 22,000 members of the service were deployed at any given moment, those 138 officers represent an infinitesimal 0.63% of all the officers that were tasked with keeping New York City safe during this tumultuous time. Although the CCRB report focuses on, and attempts, to magnify the actions of those 138 officers, the fact remains that 99.37% of NYPD officers did exactly what was expected of them, which was to protect peaceful protest as well as every community in this city while serving with courtesy, professionalism, and respect.
The Department’s official response to the CCRB’s report can be found here: