Video evidence helps resolve complaints against New York police: agency

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 19, 2017 6:34 PM

By Peter Szekely

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Complaints against New York City police officers were more likely to be resolved last year when they were accompanied by video evidence than when video was not presented, according to a review released on Wednesday by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The city's independent agency that investigates claims against police said in its annual report that it reached conclusions on 57 percent of the allegations raised against police officers in 2016 when video was present, compared with 45 percent when it was not.

The resolved cases included those where the allegations against an officer were substantiated, dismissed as unfounded or the officer was exonerated because of the particular circumstances of the situation.

"Video is often key to determining what has happened in police misconduct cases, and the continued effectiveness of the agency depends upon our investigators' ability to directly access footage relevant to their investigations," the agency's chair, Maya Wiley, said in the report.

The report comes as Minnesota authorities investigate the shooting over the weekend of an Australian woman by two Minneapolis police officers who did not turn on the body cameras they were wearing.

Video evidence, mostly from security cameras and cell phones, was present in 18 percent of the complaints the agency received last year.

The Review Board investigates complaints alleging that officers used force, abused their authority, were discourteous or used offensive language.

The New York Police Department is in the midst of outfitting all patrol officers with body cameras by the end of 2019.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely; editing by Diane Craft)