With so much civil unrest, there have been protests across the country, particularly over the past year. Many protests in New York City and law enforcement’s response to them drew nation-wide attention.
The New York City Department of Investigation launched an investigation into the NYPD response to the protests. Here are the findings.
Problems with the response
The DOI discovered that the NYPD had not developed a strategy for dealing with large-scale protests. In addition, many of the officers who responded did not have adequate or recent training to handle such incidents. There was also a lack of coordinated oversight over the NYPD as a whole.
Officers responded to violence and looting with disorder control tactics that did not take into account the rights of the peaceful protesters when dealing with further violence prevention. Thus, the indiscriminate force caused some harm among those who had not broken the law, and it also led to intimidation and confrontation between law enforcement and those in the crowd.
In the past, the city has had community affairs officers handle protests. However, in the recent protests, the NYPD response did not include the Community Affairs Bureau, and the use of community affairs officers was not consistent in the tactics across precincts.
More oversight seems to be the answer, and the DOI suggests that a single agency should provide this. The agency would have an independent board to govern it. A further recommendation is a Police Commissioner-appointed senior executive who will provide records access to civilian oversight agencies.
According to ABC7NY, critics believe the report’s strategies are not enough, and that the NYPD leadership and culture need to change before local law enforcement’s use of excessive force will end.