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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

NYPD - Historical and Current Research: NYPD Oversight: Excessive Force, Corruption & Investigations

This is a guide mainly focusing on the history of the NYPD, but modern sources are covered too. By Ellen Belcher

The page on the NYPD website where links to most of their reports are posted is here

Historical timeline of the New York City Department of Investigation (NYC- DOI)

We have recently digitized all issues of Law Enforcement News (1975-2005), published by John Jay College, which regularly reported on the NYPD.

New York City Police Department corruption and misconduct page on Wikipedia

Subject Headings

These subject headings and keywords are useful for searching CUNY+ or WorldCat for works on NYPD Corruption and Oversight

Civil rights -- New York (State) -- New York AND Police

Civilian review boards (Police administration)

Police -- Complaints against -- United States.

Police administration -- New York (State) -- New York -- Evaluation

Police corruption -- New York (State) -- New York.

Police-community relations -- New York (State) -- New York

Police internal investigation -- New York (State) -- New York

Tort liability of police -- United States

Police Oversight Models

From the Citizens Crime Commission of New York- National Models of Police Oversight

Additional Sources on Police Oversight

Reports from CQ Researcher (CUNY USE ONLY)

Jost, K. (2000, March 17). Policing the police. CQ Researcher, 10, 209-240.

Glazer, S. (1995, November 24). Police corruption. CQ Researcher, 5, 1041-1064.

Worsnop, R. L. (1991, September 6). Police brutality. CQ Researcher, 1, 633-656.

Firearms Discharge Assault Reports

The NYPD Firearms Discharge Assault Reports were created as a response to Department Order SOP 9 (s. 69) - they are produced by the NYPD Police Academy Firearms and Tactics Section. These reports were discussed recently in the NY Times and obtained by the NY-ACLU from the NYPD by FOIL. See also: The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty in 2015 and 2016.

John Jay has these reports in paper form from 1986-2009, most of which were acquired as part of the James Fyfe Papers and some from the Louis Anemone Papers and the Philip McGuire Papers. We also have PDF versions available for research purposes upon request. Some are also available from the NYC and NY-ACLU websites. The NYPD aggregated some of the data from these reports 1971-2010 in charts they titled NYPD Shooting Restraint.

1997 Firearms Discharge Assault Report on the NY-ACLU website

1998 Firearms Discharge Assault Repor on the NY-ACLU website

1999 Firearms Discharges on the NY-ACLU website

2000 Firearms Discharges on the NY-ACLU website

2001 Firearms Discharge Report on the NY-ACLU website

2002 Firearms Discharge Assault Report on the NY-ACLU website

2003 Firearms Discharge Report on the NY-ACLU website

2004 Firearms Discharge Assault Report on the NY-ACLU website

2005 Firearms Discharge Assault Report on the NY-ACLU website

2006 Firearms Discharge Report on the NY-ACLU website

2007 Annual Firearms Discharge Report on the NYC website

2009 Annual Firearms Discharge Report on the NYC website

2010 Annual Firarms Discharge Report on the NYC website

2011 Annual Firearms Discharge Report on the NYcwebsite

Dr. James Fyfe was a professor at John Jay College and held various positions in the NYPD, and a was specialist in the use of excessive force by Police. Here's a selection of his articles mentioning these reports.

Use of Force. James J. Fyfe. Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement. Ed. Larry E. Sullivan, M. R. Haberfeld, Marie Simonetti Rosen, and Dorothy Moses Schulz. Vol. 1: State and Local Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference, 2005. p478-481.

 Fyfe, James J. (1981). Who Shoots? A look at officer race and police shooting. Journal Of Police Science & Administration, 9(4), 367-382.

See also:

Evaluation of the New York City Police Department firearm training and firearm-discharge review process. Rand Corporation 2008. Special Collections or Reference - HV8148 .N52 E83 2008 also available as an ebook here and free to everyone

NYPD Corruption in the News

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NYState & NYC Commissions & Committees formed to Investigate NYPD Corruption & Misconduct

There have so far been five temporary committees & commissions and one permanent board appointed on the city and state level to investigate corruption in the NYPD, all of which produced reports  which are still cited today.  The particulars of each group is descibed in brief in the Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement, available at the Reference Desk  and digitally (CUNY use only)   The Library also has many books on each of these commissions as well as on the NYPD and polic corruption. Search the CUNY+ catalog with the name of each commission. See also New York City Police Department corruption and misconduct page on Wikipedia
All five reports are re-published in:
G. Chin (ed) 1977 New York City police corruption investigation commissions, 1894-1994. Buffalo, N.Y. : W.S. Hein. Reference - HV 8148 .N52 N437 1997
See also Paul Chevigny, REVIEW OF NEW YORK CITY POLICE CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION COMMISSIONS, 1894-1994 (GABRIEL J. CHIN ED., 1997), 21 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 233 (1999),
Lexow Committee 1895.
The first body appointed to investigate NYC police corruption was created by the New York State Senate in response to a number of independant reformers allegations of vice and corruption headed by state Senator Clarence Lexow. The official name of the committee was the New York State Committee on Police Department of the City of New York
The resulting report was titled: Report and proceedings of the Senate committee appointed to investigate the police department of the city of New York.  Special Collections - HV 7597 .E3 1895 and is digitally available at the Making of America
Curran Committee 1914
Headed by Henry Hastings Curran, the Special Committee to Investigate the Police Department was commissioned by the NYC Alderman  in response to the famous murder of Herman Rosenthal by NYPD Lieutenant Charles Becker, resulted in two reports:

A Report on the Police Pension Fund of the City of New York Submitted to the Aldermanic Committee (New York: JJ Little and Ives Co) is Available in digital copy from the Internet Archive

New York (N.Y.). Board of Aldermen. Special Committee to Investigate the Police Dept.: Report and minutes of investigation of clerical and administrative work performed by uniformed members of the Police Department.  (New York, N.Y. : s.n) Special Collections Room - HV 7597 .E3 1914

Seabury investigations [also known as the Hofstadter Committee] 1932

Chaired by State Senator Samuel H. Hofstader and investigation conducted by former Judge Samuel Seabury this commission was formed in response to various reports of scandal and corruption. They exposed corruption in the NYC Magistrate’s Court including conspiracy by judges, attorneys, police and bail bondsmen to extort money from defendants facing trial. A report was issued:

New York (State). Supreme Court. Appellate Division. (1932) The investigation of the Magistrates' courts in the First Judicial Department and the magistrates thereof, and of the attorneys-at-law practicing in said courts: final report of Samuel Seabury, referee. Supreme Court, Appellate Division--First Judicial Department. [This report is available in reprint form, New York: Arno Press, 1974 Stacks - KFX2018.7 .S4 1974

New York (State). Supreme Court. Appellate Division., Seabury, S. (1932). In the matter of the investigation of the Magistrates' courts in the First judicial department and the magistrates thereof, and of attorneys-at-law practicing in said courts: final report. [New York City]: [Lawyers Press, Inc.]. is freely available on HathiTrust Library

Helfand investigation 1949-1954
The Special Investigation by the District Attorney of Kings County was headed by Julius Helfand. This 5 year investigation was prompted by newspaper reports exposing a link between corrupt police and illegal gambling. It eventually resulted in the conviction of Harry Gross, a major bookmaker, and 10 police officers, and the resignation of the Police Commissioner, William O'Brien.
Kings County (N.Y.). District Attorney's Office., Silver, E. S. (1954). Report of special investigation by the District Attorney of Kings County and the December 1949 Grand Jury: December 1949 to April 1954. New York: Case Press. Not held by JJay, available at NYPL
Knapp Commission 1972-1973
The Knapp Commission was headed by Judge Whitman Knapp and formed by NYC Mayor John Lindsay.
The Knapp Commission report on police corruption.  New York: G. Braziller Stacks - HV8148 .N52 A46 - digital copy available to borrow through Open Library/Internet Archive
Commission report : (with summary and principal recommendations, issued August 3, 1972) Stacks - HV8148 .N52 A46 1972
Summary and principal recommendations. New York: Bar Press, 1972. Stacks - HV8148 .N52 A47
The Special Collections Room holds Records of the Knapp Commission and the Whitman Knapp Papers, available for consultation by appointment. We have partnered with WNYC to make audio recordings of Knapp Hearings available.
Mollen Commission 1994
The Mollen Commission's official name was The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the Police Department, formed by NYC Mayor David Dinkins.
New York (N.Y.). Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the Police Department: Commission report, New York: The Commission. Stacks - HV8148 .N52 N488 1994 (also freely available on the internet)
New York (N.Y.). Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the New York City Police Department: Interim report and principal recommendations. Stacks - HV8148 .N52 N488 1993
The Special Collections Room holds Records of the Mollen Commission, available for consultation by appointment
CCPC (1994 - present)
The Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) was created in 1995 as a permanent board to monitor and evaluate the anti-corruption programs, activities, commitment, and efforts of the New York City Police Department. Their mandate, as issued by the Mayor of New York City is posted here.
Their annual and monographic reports  can be found by searching CUNY+ under author = New York (N.Y.). Commission to Combat Police Corruption. Most of them are also available on their website.

Office of the Inspector General of the NYPD

The Office of the Inspector General of the NYPD was formed in 2015 and has begun issuing reports and receiving complaints.

One report they issued is: Using data from lawsuits and legal claims involving NYPD to improve policing. A paper copy of this report is also available. Special Collections - HV8148 .N52 N44435 2015b

NYPD Monitor

The Southern District of New York U.S. Court trial Floyd et. al. v NYC found the NYPD rules and practice of Stop, Question and Frisk unconstitutional in 2013. The ruling also mandated the appointment of a NYPD Monitor. The monitor produces reports, also available on the NYPD website and makes many other resources related to training, procedural changes and related topics freely available on their website

CCRB Civilian Complaint Review Board

The CCRB states on its website that

"The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) is an independent city agency, with subpoena power.  It is not part of the police department.  We handle complaints about four kinds of alleged police misconduct."

CCRB Investigation Manual [10/19/18] is freely available on DocDroid

The CCRB "Data Transparency Project" began in 2016 which provides open data on civilian complaints.

The CCRB regularly publishes reports, which can be found here

 A Mutated Rule: Lack of Enforcement in the Face of Persistent Chokehold Complaints in New York City.

2019 In the Matter of the Charges and Specifications against Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo

The CCRB is also on Twitter @CCRB_NYC

Non Governmental 'Watchdog' Organizations

The NY-ACLU issues statements and reports on NYPD actions.

Police Abuse: The Need for Civilian Investigation and Oversight Special Collections - HV8148 .N52 N44 1990 is also available digitally

Arresting protest : a special report of the New York Civil Liberties Union of New York City's protest policies at the February 15, 2003 antiwar demonstration in New York City. Special Collections - HV8148 .N52 A77 2003a  is also available digitally

Criminalizing the classroom : the over-policing of New York City schools.  Special Collections - LB2864.5 .M84 2007a  is also available digitally

Federal Investigations of Police Corruption

Many federal commissions and committees were officially crime commissions, but their reports included recommendations related to police corruption of the NYPD and other police agencies.
US Congressional Hearings 
1984 Report on hearings in New York City on police misconduct : conducted by the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives, Ninety-eighth Congress, second session Reference - HV8148 .N52 U53 1984
related: NYPD (1983) Report on cases submitted during Congressional hearings on alleged police brutality Reference - HV7597 .A62 1983
Wickersham Commission 1928 -1931
U.S. President Herbert Hoover created and charged this commission in 1929, the official name of which was The National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, on May 20th, 1929. Former Attorney General George W. Wickersham headed the 11-member group charged with identifying the causes of criminal activity and to make recommendations for appropriate public policy. The commission published several reports:
Reports Reference Law - KF9223 .A845 1931a
John Jay owns the microfilm edition of the Records of the Wickersham Commission on 15 reels of microfilm Special Collections HV7419 .R4 1996
United States Commission of Civil Rights 2000

United States Commission on Civil Rights.: Police practices and civil rights in New York City [Washington, D.C. : U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2000]. Stacks - HV8148 .N52 U52 2000 also available in digital copy

NYPD response to the draft report of the United States Commission on Civil Rights--Police practices and civil rights in New York City : executive summary.  [New York, N.Y. : Police Dept., City of New York, 2000?]. Special Collections - HV8148 .N5 N47 2000a




NYPD Reports

Reports written by the NYPD arranged by date, newest to oldest

2015  The NYPD Plan of Action and the Neighborhood Policing Plan: A Realistic Framework for Connection Police and Communities.

2013 Reasonable suspicion stops: precinct based comparison by stop and suspect description. Stacks - HV8148 .N52 N439 2013a  also available online

2002 Michael F. Armstrong, et al. (January 27, 2003) NYPD Review of the Central Park Jogger Case

1996 Reports related to Governor Mario Cuomo's "Safe Streets, Safe City Program" which started in 1991, are available online

1994 Productivity Special Collections - HV 7597 .D3 1994b

1994 Precinct organization: report to the Police Commissioner Special Collections - HV 7597 .D3 1994a

1991 Policing New York City in the 1990s : the strategy for community policing Reference - HV8148 .N52 N45 1991

1990  Report to the Mayor: staffing needs of the New York City Police Department. Reference - HV8148 .N52 N45 1990