New York City’s first inspector general for the NYPD issued a report late Sunday slamming the police for resorting to the banned chokehold too often instead of trying to de-escalate confrontations, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The full report, to be released Monday, states that in four of the 10 recent cases reviewed, officers used the banned maneuver as a “first act” against citizens when confronted by citizens verbally and not physically.
According to the report, overseen by new Inspector General Inspector General Philip Eure, “While the substantiated use of prohibited chokeholds by members of the NYPD in any context is troubling, the fact that several of the subject officers in the 10 cases reviewed by OIG-NYPD used chokeholds as a first act of physical force and in response to mere verbal confrontation is particularly alarming.”
The report comes out in the wake of the choking death of Eric Garner by officer Daniel Pantaleo. A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the officer setting off protests in New York City and across the country.
The choking of Garner was not included in the review which examined 10 cases from 2008 through 2012 where the Civilian Complaint Review Board had substantiated allegations that officers used a chokehold, which was banned by former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in 1993.
According to the report, “Rather than using communication skills and approved tactics to de-escalate tense encounters with members of the community, these officers immediately turned to a prohibited and dangerous physical act to try to control the situation.”
In a cover letter, Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters notes that the report was “completed in the shadow of the horrific events of Dec. 20,” when Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley who claimed to be avenging Garner’s death.
Saying the NYPD is “among the most professional and best-trained police forces in the world,” Peters suggested constructive criticism of the department’s tactics is best for everyone concerned.
“Neither the NYPD’s virtues and successes, nor its acknowledged importance to our civic life, should be used to prevent a discussion of genuine problems. One can respect the NYPD and still seek to address the legitimate concerns of the communities it serves,” he wrote.
The inspector general’s office is independent of the NYPD and was created in 2013 by the City Council under then-mayor Michael Bloomberg despite his objections.