New York Daily News

Updated: February 25, 2016, 9:14 AM

  

 

EXCLUSIVE: CCRB chairman says police unions are ‘squealing like a stuck pig’ for calling for his removal

BY JOHN MARZULLI

Richard Emery SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Richard Emery, the chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, says police unions won't drive him out of office.

Those, Mr. Chairman, are fighting words.

The embattled chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board lashed out Wednesday at police unions, likening their calls for his removal to “squealing like a stuck pig.”

In his first public response to a controversy over his law firm representing a man suing a sergeant and a cop who were investigated by the CCRB, Richard Emery vowed that the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Sergeants Benevolent Association are “not going to drive me out.”

“I was chosen by Bill de Blasio because of my extensive knowledge of police cases,” Emery told the Daily News.

“I’m not going to deprive the public and people who are abused by police officers of having access to excellent lawyers because some union is squealing like a stuck pig.”

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Civilian Complaint Review Board Chairman Richard Emery, pictured along with Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch on the front page (shown at left), characterizes the PBA as "squealing like a stuck pig."

Emery said the unions have seized on the lawsuit issue revealed by The News like “some small scrap of meat” to undermine the improvements he’s made to CCRB, including a 60% increase in substantiated complaints.

“I take their criticism as a sign of respect,” he said. “They’re taking us seriously.”

The presidents of the two police unions expressed outrage over Emery’s use of the word “pig,” which carries the inflammatory sting of an epithet against cops.

“Mr. Emery’s reference to police officers as ‘pigs’ betrays his unshakable contempt for the men and women of the NYPD who have risked their lives to make New York the safest big city in the world,” said sergeants union leader Ed Mullins.

PBA President Patrick Lynch said, “such a person should have no role in an agency charged with conducting fair and impartial investigations.”

DAVID KARP/AP
PBA President Patrick Lynch was fuming after Emery's comments toward police unions.

The city Conflicts of Interest Board granted Emery permission to keep his name on his civil rights firm. The firm is also permitted to sue the city, but Emery must recuse himself from matters involving the CCRB.

But the union has argued that Emery is tone deaf to the appearance of having a financial interest in suing cops at the same time he serves at the CCRB.

A review by The News found that his firm has racked up more than $1 million in settlements and legal fees from lawsuits against the city and NYPD cops since he was appointed in July 2014.

Ed Mullins, president of the Seargents Benevolent Association, also expressed outrage over Emery's use of the word "pig."

MICHAEL GRAAE/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Ed Mullins, president of the Seargents Benevolent Association, also expressed outrage over Emery's use of the word "pig."

“This is the first time we’re actually going to see a CCRB function properly, and I think it’s going to be a breath of fresh air,” de Blasio said at the time.

Emery pointed out that the half-dozen lawsuits were all filed before he became CCRB chairman and only one involved a review board investigation, which was completed well before he was even at the agency.

But Emery conceded that there are internal discussions at the firm about withdrawing from representing Stefon Luckey, a Queens man who retained his firm earlier this month, after the CCRB substantiated his complaint and prosecuted an NYPD sergeant for improper use of pepper spray. Luckey is also suing a cop who was investigated by the CCRB in the mistaken-identity arrest of tennis pro James Blake last year.

City Hall didn’t directly respond to Emery’s “stuck pig” comment.

“All members of the CCRB are appointed based on their demonstrated commitment to fair, ethical and objective investigations,” de Blasio spokeswoman Monica Klein said Wednesday.

With Erin Durkin