NYPD Choke Holds

NYPD Has Received Over 1,000 Complaints Of Police Choke Hold Use Since 2009

New York- According to a report released Saturday by New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, 1,022 complaints have been made between 2009 and 2013 by city residents accusing NYPD officers of putting them in choke holds.

Choke holds were prohibited by the NYPD in a 1985 order that only allowed its practice if it was the “least dangerous alternative method of restraint”, and the order was later modified in 1993 to allow no exceptions.

Out of 1,022 complaints, 462 of them were investigated. In nine cases of the 462, enough evidence was obtained to have the complaint substantiated by the CCRB. The CCRB had recommended administrative trials for those nine cases of choke hold use by police. Administrative trials can lead to termination of police officers.

However, the police commissioner makes the final decision of carrying out discipline in these cases, and the consequences for those officers were either nonexistent or mild.

Out of the nine substantiated cases, two officers were not disciplined by Raymond Kelly, the NYC Police Commissioner at the time. In three cases Kelly had instructed the officers to be re-trained regarding the rules. One officer retired before a ruling was issued, and one officer was disciplined by losing vacation days. Two cases are still pending.

Current NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton said last Friday that NYPD officers were reminded last year that choke holds were banned.

Choke hold use by NYPD officers has fallen under sharper scrutiny following the death of Eric Garner, who was placed in an apparent choke hold last Thursday by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Staten Island.

CCRB Chair Richard Emery announced in a statement last Saturday that the agency has begun a “comprehensive study of the chokehold complaints it has received during the past 5 years (2009 to 2013) and in the first six months of 2014.”

“We also hope to be able to shed light on the CCRB methodologies that led to such a large number of cases that are unsubstantiated,” said Emery in the statement.