Upd.: April 14, 2016, 12:56 AM
BY JOHN MARZULLI, ROCCO PARASCANDOLA, JOHN ANNESE
|SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS|
|CCRB chairman Richard Emery abruptly stepped down from his position Wednesday.|
The cat got his tongue — and his job.
Civilian Complaint Review Board head Richard Emery abruptly stepped down as head of the police watchdog group on Wednesday — a day after he was sued because of crass comments about female co-workers.
“After a lengthy substantive discussion with the Mayor, he and I agree that the confluence of recent circumstances will preclude me from further fulfilling my goals as Chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board,” Emery wrote in a letter to city officials.
“I am resigning today with the clear message that I believe that the Board and CCRB Staff can best continue what we started without me and with new leadership.”
In a statement, Mayor de Blasio said, “I want to thank Richard for his service to this city. Over the past two years, the CCRB has resolved cases much more quickly and efficiently, and I am thankful to Richard and the entire CCRB staff for their dedication to this effort.”
CCRB executive director Mina Malik’s suit, first reported by the Daily News, said she was being retaliated against after complaining that Emery had referred to her and another woman attorney as “p---ies.”
Emery, a longtime civil rights lawyer, said he wasn’t referring to their gender — he was just encouraging his staff to be tougher in their dealings with the NYPD advocates office.
“I was talking about the cowardice. I use animal metaphors and they don’t have anything to do with sex,” he said Tuesday.
The board was supposed to meet Wednesday night, but Emery announced the meeting’s abrupt cancellation in an e-mail to his staff. Though he offered no reason for the cancellation, the e-mail’s subject line reads “Mayor’s request.”
|Mina Quinto Malik contends Emery “takes every opportunity to trample on the rights of and retaliate against those who complain about his misogynistic views.”|
In her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed Tuesday, Malik contended Emery “takes every opportunity to trample on the rights of and retaliate against those who complain about his misogynistic views.”
It cited an incident where he declared, “I don’t know why everyone is acting like a bunch of p---ies” after a board meeting in September.
It wasn’t the first time Emery’s animal cracks got him in trouble.
In February, Emery apologized to the NYPD after the Daily News reported that he characterized criticism from the police unions as “squealing like a stuck pig.”
He also came under fire after the News revealed his law firm had been representing clients who’d had their complaints substantiated by the CCRB.
Patrick Lynch, head of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, had repeatedly called for Emery’s ouster.
|NEW YORK DAILY NEWS|
|In February, Emery apologized to the NYPD after the Daily News reported that he characterized criticism from the police unions as “squealing like a stuck pig.”|
“We have to question if a man who referred to New York City police officers as pigs and is now being sued for using a derogatory term to female staffers has the temperament to sit in judgment of police officers’ behavior. ... It should be clear to any reasonable person that he must go.”
Emery was appointed to board by Mayor de Blasio in July of 2014, and had been a bundler for his campaign.
The mayor issued a statement thanking Emery for his service, saying that on his watch, the CCRB had “resolved cases much more quickly and efficiently.”
He named CCRB Board Member Deborah N. Archer as Acting Chair.
Malik was the second CCRB executive director to sue Emery. Her predecessor, Tracy Catapano-Fox, filed suit after the board sacked her in 2014.
Catapano-Fox claims in a federal suit she was fired after complaining to Emery about sexual harassment by CCRB board member Bishop Mitchell Taylor.
Lawyer Doug Wigdor, who represents both Malik and Catapano-Fox, said Emery did the right thing stepping aside.
"We are pleased that filing this lawsuit had such a quick and positive impact on the CCRB, and by extension the entire city," Wigdor said. "Mr. Emery's decision to resign was the right one, and we expect that the CCRB will now be able move forward and more effectively protect the rights of the people of this city."
Ed Mullins of the sergeant’s union said he was “pleased” that Emery resigned, but said Taylor should step aside as well.
“ There was obviously a culture of devaluing women at CCRB under Emery's tenure. That culture will not be eradicated until Bishop Taylor is removed".
Emery defended his record at the CCRB in his resignation letter.
“The reorganization that I put in place in December, 2014, which achieved quality justice for complainants and officers within 4 months instead of upwards of a year, and the agreement rate for discipline by the NYPD of 90% — up from 60% — prior to July, 2014 when I was appointed Chair, are unprecedented achievements of which I am very proud,” he wrote.
“Our policy reports — especially the Chokehold Report and the recent Search Report — have and will, I believe, contribute to the ongoing reforms of the NYPD,” he wrote.
“My hope had been to consolidate these changes and create an institutional imperative for the future of the CCRB and the NYPD,” the letter said, but “too much of my time and energy is being misdirected on matters tangential to the long-term best interests of the Agency and too much time has been taken from my law firm, its staff and my private life.”
A source said Emery had been frustrated with Malik for quite some time. "He feels that she's been insubordinate and doesn't do what he wants in a timely fashion. She procrastinates," the source said.
A former CCRB board member, who didn't want to be identified, called Emery’s resignation “poetic justice,” because Emery repeatedly called the CCRB a "failed agency" before he came on board.
"It's like poetic justice, I think, that he got himself into these various situations which make him look bad and make the agency look bad," the former board member said.
Before Emery resigned, the sergeant’s union announced a contest at its monthly meeting in which a $1,000 prize was offered to the member who came up with an alternate name for the CCRB stands for, a source told The News. The contest was nixed after Emery quit, and the suggestion "City Cesspool Run Badly" was put on the shelf.