NEW YORK — In January 2008, a teenage high-school student in the Bronx had an argument with her principal. An NYPD officer assigned to the school quickly arrived to subdue the unruly student.
What happened next was caught on video: The officer put the student in a chokehold.
The NYPD’s patrol guide expressly bans chokeholds. But the departmental prosecutor declined to seek internal discipline in the case. That decision was part of a larger pattern at the NYPD in the five years leading up to the July death of Staten Island man Eric Garner, according to a report from the department’s new inspector general.
“Our targeted analysis revealed troubling deficiencies from the top-down that must be rectified,” Philip Eure, the inspector general, wrote in a letter released Monday.
Time and again, Eure’s investigators found, New York police officers resorted to chokeholds first — often for the crime of merely questioning the officer’s authority. And time and again, the NYPD ignored discipline recommendations from the independent agency that investigated civilians’ chokehold complaints.
“NYPD bans on chokeholds and other practices are meaningless if officers aren’t held accountable for continuing to use them,” Priscilla Gonzalez, organizing director of the group Communities United for Police Reform, said in a statement. She applauded Eure’s report and called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton to take immediate steps to impose sterner discipline.
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