The nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020 shined a spotlight on misconduct within America’s policing system in the wake of the officer-involved deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor that year.
One of the largest police oversight entities in the nation, the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) revealed on Thursday that 319 active complaints — including 12 complaints against then Bronx-based police officers — allege misconduct by police throughout New York state during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. CCRB officials said 269 cases have been closed, with 187 substantiated allegations filed against 104 members of law enforcement and that the highest level of discipline for the most serious allegations of misconduct, against 61 police officers, could result in an administrative trial run by the CCRB’s Administrative Prosecution Unit (APU).
Recommendations are updated through the police watchdog’s bi-monthly updates.
Of those 187 allegations, the board substantiated 65 complaints of misconduct and recommended serving charges against 61 officers, severe command discipline for 18 officers, and lesser command discipline for 25 officers.
But the NYPD has only imposed discipline on 10 officers, leading to a concurrence rate of just 42% between CCRB recommendations for discipline and what the NYPD’s imposed. While all 12 of the Bronx police precincts were hit with a complaint — marking just 0.11% of all complaints across the city — the board recommended severe discipline for only 42nd Precinct officer Evgeny Kramar, who patrols the Morrisania section which includes the Claremont, Crotona Park East and Crotona Park neighborhoods.
Kramar, who joined the police force in 2019, has since been reassigned to Brooklyn’s 94th Precinct which includes Greenpoint. According to the NYPD database, Kramar has not faced any disciplinary action.
Discipline has not been recommended for officer Toby Lau, who formerly patrolled the Fordham, University Heights, Morris Heights and Mount Hope neighborhoods, or Deputy Chief James McCarthy, a former Bedford Park officers who have been assigned to Patrol Borough Manhattan South.
“I would like to thank the CCRB investigators for their continued dedication to diligently investigating these 319 cases for over 18 months,” said Arva Rice, interim CCRB chair. “New Yorkers have waited a long time to see accountability for the misconduct that occurred in the 2020 protests and we hope to work closely with the Department to improve NYPD adoption of CCRB recommendations and rebuild police community relations.”
Bronx officers Evan Angles and Joshua Jimenez (46th Precinct); Stephen Cantore (no precinct listed); Eric Dym (Melrose’s Police Service Area 7); Joshua Garcia (52nd Precinct); Vincent Harris (46th Precinct); Adam Mellusi (Strategic Response Group 2 Bronx); John Migliaccio (Police Service Area 7); and Michael Pilecki (Patrol Borough Bronx Task Force) also had allegations brought against them.
The CCRB’s jurisdiction includes excessive and unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and use of offensive language.
CCRB is faced with meeting a May 4 statute of limitations deadline for all protest-related complaints and other cases that arose during emergency pandemic orders executed by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell has ultimate authority over disciplinary action.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to the Bronx Times’ request for comment.
Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.