New York City Attorneys Serving Individuals Affected by Police Misconduct
In 1997, the Internal Affairs Bureau ("IAB") was set up as a unit within the NYPD that investigates serious police misconduct as well as police corruption. According to IAB's reports, from 1992-2008, an average of 119 police officers a year were arrested. Since 1992, the tips it has logged have tripled. The number of investigations IAB conducted during the same time frame dropped by over half. Many of the IAB investigations were for crimes such as fraud and theft. At Phillips & Associates, our civil rights lawyers can advise individuals in New York City on filing a police misconduct complaint with the Internal Affairs Bureau. You should consult an attorney before filing a complaint because your statement to IAB may affect any criminal charges brought against you, or your civil case for damages.
Making a Complaint to the Internal Affairs Bureau
In contrast to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the IAB is staffed by police officers and is not independent from the police department. While the CCRB is empowered to investigate police misconduct on behalf of civilians, the IAB serves to discover and investigate criminal conduct and corruption.
These two different entities can refer cases to each other as appropriate. For example, if an officer calls you offensive racial slurs and throws you to the ground after stopping and frisking you and finding nothing, and then pockets your wallet, the IAB would be the right place to complain about the theft, but the CCRB would be the appropriate place to complain about the excessive force and offensive statements.
The New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption receives complaints and forwards them to the IAB to be investigated and reviewed. Alternatively, complaints can be made directly to the IAB. However, the IAB will also accept a complaint filed by your lawyer. Within the IAB, the Investigative Review Unit (IRU) reviews the IAB's own investigations for quality control. The Chief of the IAB can also use the IRU to address those issues that are of particular concern to him or her.
IAB complaints are required to be kept confidential. However, in practice, an officer's supervisor can find out that a complaint has been made. Furthermore, IAB cases are not known to be resolved quickly, and it can be difficult to learn the status of particular complaints. In some cases, it appears that nothing happens with a complaint. Decisions in similar cases brought to the IAB do not seem to have consistent outcomes or resolution.
Enlist a Knowledgeable Civil Rights Lawyer in New York City
If you experience or witness police corruption or misconduct, it may be prudent to file a complaint with the Internal Affairs Bureau. However, in some circumstances, your case may be more appropriate for a lawsuit. It is always best to consult with a lawyer before making an official statement or filing a complaint. At Phillips & Associates, our civil rights attorneys offer guidance to individuals throughout New York City, including in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Call us at (866) 530-4330 or contact us through our online form.