April 13, 2015 | 12:20pm  

 

CCRB ‘dragging its feet’ on perjury policy for false complaints: PBA

By Kirstan Conley and Bob Fredericks

People can keep lying about NYPD cops to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, without consequence, as the board drags its feet on a proposal to warn citizens they’ll be charged with perjury of they’re caught lying, a police union official said Monday.

“The CCRB needs to change its policy so that only complaints sworn under the pain of perjury are accepted and investigated. It is patently unjust that police officers are the only ones held accountable for the statements they make to CCRB investigators,” PBA head Pat Lynch said in a letter to Richard Emery, the board’s chairman.

The letter was hand-delivered Monday, the same day that the PBA issued a scathing press release criticizing the CCRB for its “reluctance” to defend cops.

Last month, Emery backed toughening the policy to prevent people from filing fabricated charges against cops.

But when the board met last week, they tabled the proposal after some members said it would be unfair to force civilians to swear they were telling the truth or face a perjury rap, when cops aren’t required to, sources said.

Cops caught lying to the CCRB do face departmental charges and penalties – including termination.

On Monday, Emery defended his board, saying that the proposal to hold citizens accountable for false complaints has not been nixed.

“No decision has been made,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out the fairest way to interview complainants and police officers, and what we’re trying to do is be fair to everybody, understanding the realistic consequences of putting somebody under oath or not and asking for official statements.”

Emery said no vote was planned for last week and a decision isn’t likely for several more weeks.

“It’s never been scheduled for a vote,” he explained. “We will evaluate it at our next meeting. It’s extraordinarily complex, with a lot of competing interests and we have to think about it very carefully.”
In the meantime, Lynch pointed out, “Our members continue to have their careers derailed by the mere filing of false complaints.”

“We have called time and again for complaints to be sworn before they are accepted for filing. Doing so will deter those who maliciously file false complaints in retaliation against their arresting officers.”

People who level complaints about cops with the CCRB now are required to do an in-person interview with an investigator.

They also have sign a document swearing everything they said was true, but the document does not specify potential consequences — and Emery has admitted that no one has ever been prosecuted for lying to the board.

Under the change the PBA is pushing for, the CCRB would refer cases to the DA’s office for potential prosecution when accusers are found to be telling whoppers.

In 2014, the board received 4,779 complaints. Of those, 1,922 were fully investigated. Only 335 were ultimately deemed legitimate.

In 1,443 cases, officers were either exonerated, or the claims were found to be unfounded or unsubstantiated.

Others remained unresolved because the cop was never identified.