For months it has been a favorite statistic of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton, says the New York Times: a declining number of complaints about the conduct of New York City officers. Behind the drop is an unexplained phenomenon that has puzzled both the independent agency that investigates complaints and the Police Department. At a time when complaints filed directly with the Civilian Complaint Review Board are up, complaints reported first to the police department are sharply down.
The number of people seeking to make complaints to the board rose to 12,550 in 2014 from 11,536 in 2013. The number of complaints originating at the police department declined, especially in the second half of last year, a time when the police were under increased scrutiny after the death of Eric Garner in July. The department reported receiving 1,774 complaints in 2014 that fell within the review board's jurisdiction, down from 2,784 the year before. Police spokesman Stephen Davis did not have an explanation for the decline.