Brooklyn tops stats for cop complaints citywide

July 3, 2013 Helen Klein
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The most police complaints were lodged in Brooklyn in 2012 according to newly released statistics from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).

In 2012, a total of 1,954 complaints about police behavior in Brooklyn were submitted to CCRB – a city agency charged with oversight over the NYPD. The Brooklyn complaints amounted to 35 percent of the total number of complaints citywide – 5,763 in all that were within the board’s jurisdiction (out of a total of some 14,000 initially submitted to CCRB).

Nonetheless, there were 56 fewer complaints in Brooklyn in 2012 than in the prior year, a three percent drop. Citywide, there was also a three percent reduction in the number of police-related complaints filed with the CCRB, possibly because of the impact of Superstorm Sandy when CCRB offices were closed and the agency’s hotlines were not functioning, according to the CCRB. There were 7,395 complaints citywide in 2008, with complaints peaking in 2009, when 7,660 complaints were made to CCRB.

According to the CCRB, the complaints fall within four broad categories: “force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and offensive language.”

Within Brooklyn, there were considerably more complaints filed in the precincts that comprise Brooklyn North (1,174), as compared to the precincts within Brooklyn South (781) in 2012.

The precinct within Brooklyn with the fewest complaints in 2012 was the 66th in Boro Park, with 16, followed closely by the 78th (Park Slope) with 17. There were 32 complaints made against officers assigned to the 62nd Precinct (Bensonhurst and Bath Beach) in 2012, 33 complaints were filed against officers with the 94th Precinct (Greenpoint), and 37 were filed against the 68th Precinct (Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights).

Of the five precincts with the fewest complaints, the only one not in Brooklyn South is the 94th.

By contrast, the Brooklyn precinct with the most complaints filed against its officers in 2012 was the 75th (East New York), with 286. The precinct with the second most complaints lodged against its officers was the 73rd (Brownsville), with 204. These are both precincts that have high numbers of stop and frisk incidents. The Brooklyn precinct with the third highest number of CCRB complaints is the 79th (Bedford-Stuyvesant) with 161. All three precincts are in Brooklyn North.

According to the CCRB, stop and frisk complaints represent approximately 30 percent of the complaints filed with the agency since 2005. But there has been an overall decline in the percentage of complaints related to stop and frisk since that year. In 2012, allegations of improper stop and frisks accounted for 27 percent of the complaints made to the board; in 2008, that number was 31 percent.

The number of stop and frisk complaints has also gone down. Citywide, there were 1,551 in 2012, 89 fewer than the previous year. The number of documented street encounters between cops and individuals also decreased in 2012 compared to the previous year, from 685,724 in 2011 to 533,042.

A total of 13 Brooklyn precincts logged increases in the number of complaints in 2012, compared to the previous year. Complaints jumped 59 percent (from 32 to 59) in the 76th Precinct (Carroll Gardens and Red Hook), 32 percent in the 63rd Precinct (Marine Park, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach) from 46 to 61, and 19 percent in the 79th, from 135 to 161.

The CCRB makes a distinction between complaints and substantiated complaints. In 2012, a total of 189 substantiated complaints against 265 police officers were forwarded by CCRB to the NYPD, as compared to 160 complaints against 213 officers in 2011.

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