A New York City judge ordered the NYPD to release documents related to the fatal police shooting of Ramarley Graham in 2012, The New York Daily News reported. This lack of transparency fits a national pattern of shielding police misconduct.
The city’s ongoing delay in sharing the involved officers’ records “creates a semblance of using civil rights law…inappropriately as a shield to protect the NYPD from embarrassment,” Justice Manuel Mendez stated. He also criticized the department for using internal investigations of the officers as an excuse for arguing that Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, is not entitled to see the Civilian Complaint Review Board records.
Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City applies its interpretation of the state civil rights law to block public release of police personnel records, the newspaper stated. That has outraged Malcolm, whose 18-year-old son was gunned down by the police in the bathroom of his Bronx home. The city allowed the officer who pulled the trigger to resign after learning that a departmental trial found him guilty. A grand jury initially indicted him, but a judge dismissed the case because of a procedural error. And a second grand jury and federal prosecutors declined to bring charges against him. The other two officers involved were recently reprimanded, but the city has never allowed Malcolm to see their records.
This lack of transparency following alleged police misconduct is increasingly common. A Reuters investigation earlier this year uncovered “a pattern of protections afforded officers.” The news organization examined 82 police union contracts with large cities and found in the fine print legal obligations for city officials to hide police misconduct. For example, most contracts require police departments to erase disciplinary records in as few as six months. Suspensions are erased in up to three years in 18 cities. And 20 cities permit officers to swap sick leave or vacation time for suspensions.
SOURCE: New York Daily News