The NYPD rulebook fails to define what constitutes “excessive,” despite prohibiting “excessive force,” Inspector General Philip Eure’s report notes.
The report also found that from 2010 to 2014, NYPD officials decided not to punish officers in 37 of 104 cases that showed evidence of excessive force.
Coincidentally, on Thursday, it was announced that Police Commissioner William J. Bratton was to implement a new set of guidelines for using and documenting force, along with a thorough tracking system to back it up.
“What we’re developing here could become the national template for how do you not only investigate all levels of use of force, but how do you report it in a way that it is transparent,” Bratton told the New York Times.
The new rules, set to go into effect next year, also state that an officer will face formal discipline if they do not intervene and report when they see another officer brutalizing a civilian. They are also required to provide medical attention to anyone who requests it, without question.
Bratton claims that force was only used in 2 percent of arrests last year, but 3 percent of arrests included charges of resisting, which indicates that force is underreported.
“How accurately officers will fill out the new forms is an open question. Episodes around the country have shown officers’ accounts — as well as those of witnesses — betrayed by video footage,” the Times noted.