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NEW YORK – The New York Civilian Liberties Union says civilian complaints against police officers have risen in the first half of 2009–up an alarming 11 percent over the same period last year. The number of officers under review for garnering too m

NEW YORK – The New York Civilian Liberties Union says civilian complaints against police officers have risen in the first half of 2009–up an alarming 11 percent over the same period last year. The number of officers under review for garnering too many complaints is up 50 percent over the last two years, according to the NYCLU.

Complaints cited in the report ranged from allegations of abuse to questions about officer conduct.

The NYCLU said complaints have spiked because “the NYPD isn’t disciplining officers found to have abused civilians and does not seem to be doing anything to help stop the mushrooming number of officers being monitored.”

The report said approximately 315 officers out of 35,000 were now enrolled in the NYPD monitoring program, up from 210 for 2007. The NYCLU also shared a Civilian Complaint Review Board allegation that of 17 substantiated complaints against officers submitted in April, the NYPD dismissed 12 without taking disciplinary action.

A spokesperson for the NYPD legal advocacy office has reportedly said the dismissed cases were not prosecuted because they lacked legal merit.

There is “a big concern that the police department is simply rejecting recommendations by the CCRB for disciplining officers,” said the NYCLU.

Amnesty International, in a position paper entitled a “Racial Profiling Background,” said “law enforcement agencies should hold accountable officers who deny equal protection under the law to individuals by engaging in racial profiling.”

The New York City Council revealed during a January hearing that at a time when there are more complaints than ever, NYPD prosecuted a smaller number of complaints deemed serious by the CCRB than five years ago.

None of the revelations surprise Ron Hampton, of the Washington-based National Black Police Association.

“Of course (it’s) not surprising given New York City’s history of aggressive policing,” said Hampton, during a telephone interview with The Final Call.

“And historically when the truth comes to light about the civilian complaints concerning the NYPD, they back off, but then it starts all over again.

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Copyright 2009 Special to the NNPA from the Final Call. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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