Allegations made to New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board of improper frisks by New York police officers jumped 365 percent last year, says the Village Voice. The City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have agreed to a budget that restores funding for the board’s highest staffing level ever; it had been under threat of losing 24 of its 143 investigators.
The board received 6,796 complaints last year–a 47 percent leap since 2002. It’s not clear if the boom reflects a change in police tactics or the ease of making complaints through the 311 system. Most of the complaints involved “abuse of authority” (improper arrest, unnecessary searches, etc.) rather than excessive force or discourtesy. In about 10 percent of investigated cases, the board substantiated the complaint. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly tends to call for far lighter sanctions than the board wants. He gave the lightest sentence, to 60 percent of officers though the board called for tougher charges against most of them.