March 27, 2010 — The New York Civil Liberties Union today released 16 years of NYPD reports about the police corruption activities of the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB). The reports, which the NYCLU obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request, consist of annual IAB reports from 1993 through 2008.
The highlights of the reports are as follows:
- Between 1994 and 2006, tips received by IAB about suspected police corruption and misconduct more than tripled, rising from 14,789 to 44,994. However, during the same period, the number of serious misconduct IAB investigations dropped from 2,258 to 1,057. While the IAB was investigating about 15 percent of tips in 1994, that figure fell to just 2.3 percent by 2006. (The tips category of information was dropped from the 2007 and 2008 reports – see below for more.)
- Investigations into use of excessive force during arrests have become one of the most common type of IAB case in recent years. In 1993, this type of case accounted for less than 1 percent of all IAB serious misconduct investigations. By 2007, nearly 20 percent of all IAB serious misconduct investigations were over use of excessive force.
- The annual IAB reports have become less informative over time, with critical information removed from them over time. For instance, the early reports include information about the outcome of investigations, the rank of officers being investigated, the number of investigations in each precinct, the number of police officers arrested as a result of the investigations, and the number of drug and integrity tests conducted each year. All of this information was removed in subsequent reports. The 1993 and 1994 reports provide an average of more than 50 pages of information; the 2007 and 2008 reports are each 14 pages long.
The release of the IAB reports is the most recent example of the NYCLU obtaining and releasing to the public important information about NYPD policies and practices. In 2008, the NYCLU obtained and released annual NYPD reports detailing incidents in which officers fired their weapons. Later that year the NYLCU won a court order requiring the NYPD to provide it with an electronic copy of its stop-and-frisk database, which the NYCLU has since made available to researchers and other members of the public.