Public Sector Alliance 1:11 p.m. | Dec. 10, 2014

Speaker explains I.G. request, Lynch says he’s ‘disgusted’

By Gloria Pazmino

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said on Wednseday that the Council is using the power it had “fought very hard for” to encourage the police inspector general to assess how the department handles misconduct allegations.

“Now we’re giving [the I.G.] direction as to what kind of reporting and investigation we would like it to do,” Mark-Viverito said at an unrelated press conference. "First and foremost, we want to look at how is it tracked, whether or not officers that abuse their power or have had any complaints against them—we are trying to get a report that we can analyze and have further oversight.”

The Council overrode a mayoral veto last year to pass a package of bills known as the Community Safety Act, one of which created an independent inspector general for the police department.

The Council's plan, announced earlier today, also includes new district-office locations of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which Mark-Viverito said had been “disempowered” under the last administration.

“Instead of having to come down here, which is the process right now to file any sort of complains against officers, they have the ability to make appointments in our district offices for people to file complaints,” Mark-Viverito said of the current location in Lower Manhattan.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Investigation said in a statement the agency will not release details of any investigation until it is complete.

“We look forward to receiving the City Council request," said Nicole Turso, in the statement. "For several months, DOI’s Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD has been reviewing questions related to the use of force and, specifically, chokeholds.”

Pat Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, criticized the Council on Wednesday following the request.

“Frankly, I am disgusted with the double talk coming out of this City Council," Lynch said in a statement. "They praise police with words and then take actions that clearly demonstrate their true lack of support for the very people who protect them and make their communities safe."

Lynch has also been critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio for his response following a Staten Island grand jury decision not to indict the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.

Lynch, for his part, has defended the officer and has called him a “model” for the rest of the department.

Both Lynch and the administration—currently in the process of arbitration to settle their outstanding labor contracts—have sparred as the administration in the wake of the Garner decision, with Lynch accusing de Blasio of throwing the police department “under the bus.”

Lynch also took issue with the Council’s initiative to bring CCRB services to local district offices, saying that “civilian complaints are not worth the paper they are written on because anyone can file the most baseless, sensational complaint without fear of penalty if their complaint is proven to be false.”

Lynch went as far as suggesting that the Council introduce a bill that would require civilian complaints to be sworn under penalty of perjury, which he said is required in other jurisdictions.

A spokesman for Mark-Viverito declined to comment on Lynch’s statement.