AG Letitia James calls to ‘change existing structure’ of NYPD
The state’s Attorney General called for a radical redesign of the NYPD Wednesday — with the police commissioner answering to a group citizens, not just the mayor.
“Let’s change the existing structure of the NYPD, which gives the police commissioner unilateral authority, the NYPD should report to the people it serves,” New York AG Letitia James said while announcing her preliminary report on the department’s handling of the George Floyd protests.
The 57-page report suggests the oversight model similar to Detroit, in which citizens would be appointed to the commission by the City Council, Public Advocate, Comptroller and the Mayor.
“The commission should be empowered to approve the NYPD’s budget and hear and decide final disciplinary appeals,” the report says.
The report also recommended the city increase the power of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, improve diversity in the NYPD’s upper ranks, establish a use-of-force standard with legal consequences and rethink the role of cops in the city.
“My point is, the police should not police themselves. Period,” James said. “Why is this one agency so free and so different than all the others. And that is a question that we need to address.”
James’ office, along with former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, was tapped to probe how the NYPD handled the protests over police brutality and inequality over the last few weeks.
Neither the NYPD nor the city is required to follow the recommendations from the report.
James’ office has received more than 1,300 complaints and plan to investigate police use of force, their treatment of press and other essential workers and and the practice of “kettling” protesters into confined spaces.
The NYPD did not immediately respond for comment.
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