NYPD Officers Used Banned Chokeholds—and Did So with Impunity, Review Finds

The first report from the New York Police Department Inspector General’s office, issued Monday, reveals an “alarming” lack of transparency and consistency regarding how and when officers use prohibited chokeholds—and to what extent they are held accountable for such use of force.

The investigation, triggered by Eric Garner’s death and the ensuing public outrage, looked at 10 cases where the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) determined that NYPD officers used chokeholds and recommended disciplinary action. The Garner case was not included in the analysis because it’s still subject to an internal investigation.

“Even this limited review of the ten most recent substantiated chokehold cases revealed that certain policy changes should be made,” the report (pdf) reads.

According to a press release (pdf), the investigation “found a concerning disconnect in determining discipline, communication road-blocks between agencies in the review of use-of-force complaints, and questions regarding the effectiveness of officer training.”

The New York public radio station WNYC reports:

The Daily News described one such incident: “On Valentine’s Day 2008 in the Bronx, two witnesses backed up a complainant’s charge that while he was arguing with officers investigating a domestic violence call involving his neighbor, a cop placed his hands around the complainant’s neck and squeezed his Adam’s apple. CCRB recommended departmental charges; Commissioner Kelly approved a much lesser punishment—the loss of five vacation days.”