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Report finds lack of disciplinary action for NYPD’s use of chokeholds

After a Staten Island grand jury did not indict an NYPD officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner, the Office of the Inspector General launched an internal review.

Members of the New York City Police Department have been prohibited from using chokeholds in their police work since 1993. The report noted:

“A chokehold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”

Despite the prohibition, the report detailed 10 circumstances of police using chokeholds and found that disciplinary action taken against officers who broke this rule were inconsistent with the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s (CCRB) recommended punishment.

According to the report, “CCRB recommended Administrative Charges in [six cases], but none of these substantiated chokehold cases ever went to trial before a NYPD Trial Commissioner.” In each of the six instances, the “Police Commissioner rejected the disciplinary recommendation of CCRB, imposing a less severe penalty than that recommended by CCRB or deciding that no discipline was warranted at all.”

The report outlined four recommendations for future occurrences including an increase in “coordination and collaboration between NYPD and CCRB” and a provision of transparency when it comes to Police Commissioner’s disciplinary decisions.