(CNN)Thousands of New York Police Department discipline records were published online by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) on Thursday morning.
The second circuit court of appeals lifted the order that was put on the NYCLU to not publish the records it had obtained from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the city agency charged with oversight of the NYPD, after a New York State law was repealed that prevented discipline records from being released. Within minutes of the denial, the NYCLU’s database went live with what it says has 35 years of data and over 300,000 complaints against over 81,000 NYPD officers. Read More “Until now, the police accountability process has been at the discretion of the NYPD, which determines which CCRB investigations result in discipline and what information is revealed from that process,” said Christopher Dunn, legal director of the NYCLU. “History has shown the NYPD is unwilling to police itself. The release of this database is an important step towards greater transparency and accountability and is just the beginning of unraveling the monopoly the NYPD holds on public information and officer discipline.”The coalition of unions, made up of the five police unions, the firefighters union and the correctional officers union, said Thursday that they will continue to fight the “improper” release of CCRB complaints. “The court decision this morning in no way means the battle to permit constitutionally guaranteed right to due process for public safety workers ceases. In fact, we continue to fight the DeBlasio administration and the improper dumping of thousands of documents containing unproven, career damaging, unsubstantiated allegations that put our members and their families at risk. And we’re not done,” Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for coalition tells CNN. The CCRB complaints are those filed by a person accusing an NYPD officer of wrongdoing. The records include all claims made against the officer, including those that are determined to be unsubstantiated, where there was not enough evidence against the officer, where the officer was exonerated and where the officer went through the process and the CCRB found that the officer acted within the law. The NYCLU says its database has 323,911 complaints concerning 81,550 officers and only 8,699 complaints led to a penalty. There were 19,833 officers named in five or more complaints but only 12 were fired by the NYPD, according to their data. And of the over 300,000 complaints, only 20,826 were found to be substantiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board. “Following the recent repeal of Civil Rights Law Section 50-a, advocates, members of the press, elected officials, and others, lawfully requested information from our Agency. In the spirit of transparency and in service to New Yorkers, the CCRB promptly honored these requests,” Fred Davie, chair of the CCRB, said in a statement.