Staten Island Advance
updated January  13, 2015 at 2:38 PM


PBA: 'Dysfunction and anti-police bias' at Civilian Complaint Review Board

By Maura Grunlund | grunlund@siadvance.com

Staten Island Advance/John Annese
Richard Emery, the new chair of the city Civilian Complaint Review Board, is flanked by board member Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor at left, and executive director Tracy Catapano-Fox at right.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch slammed the Civilian Complaint Review Board in response to an inspector general's report that followed a Staten Island special grand jury's decision to not indict NYPD Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

Six months after Pantaleo was seen on amateur video with his arm around Eric Garner's neck during their fatal encounter in Tompkinsville, a report released by the city's new inspector general for police found that the NYPD and the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) are inconsistent in determining how and when officers are held accountable for using prohibited chokeholds.

"As the Inspector General's report itself indicates, no systemic conclusions can be drawn from a review of ten isolated cases drawn from the thousands of unsworn complaints lodged against police officers every year," Lynch said in a statement issued by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA).

"If anything, the report reveals the dysfunction and anti-police bias that is rampant in the investigations conducted by the CCRB."

Lynch stressed the need for training police officers to protect themselves in dangerous situations.

The CCRB board, Lynch said, "substantiated a complaint despite the complainant's statement that the subject officer was not the one responsible. As the report notes, the CCRB consistently reaches its conclusions without reference to the circumstances surrounding an allegation.

"The cases detailed in the report illustrate the importance of this context in understanding what occurs during fluid and often dangerous street encounters."

The PBA unveiled a publicity campaign last week that focuses on a specific theme: Support.

The PBA website shows 10 union advertisements, with the first one showing a public memorial for slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed new members in a shake-up of the CCRB in October.

Tracy Catapano-Fox, the ousted executive director of the CCRB, filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan in October alleging she'd been sacked because she pursued sexual harassment complaints against one member, Bishop Mitchell Taylor, and questioned the decisions and statements of the board's new chairman.