After you have filed a complaint, an assigned investigator will attempt to contact you within 48 hours of receiving the assignment. This investigator will usually handle your complaint throughout the entire investigation.
If you are in need of additional services following a problematic encounter with an NYPD officer, please utilize the services listed in these brochures typically provided to complainants in-person at the CCRB
Here’s how an investigation generally progresses:
The investigator will need to interview you in person in order to get the most accurate and thorough description of the events and alleged misconduct that led to your complaint. The CCRB often conducts in-person interviews at its office, located at 100 Church St., in Manhattan. If need be, interviews are also conducted at locations in all the boroughs. The investigator will travel to you particularly in cases of hardship.
Your in-person statement is vital and will be the foundation of the investigation. When you meet with the investigator, try to bring as much information as possible relating to the complaint, including the time, date, and location of the incident, the badge numbers and names of the police officers involved if you have them, physical descriptions of the officers and any relevant paperwork, photographs, or video. Providing names and contact information for witnesses is also important.
To ensure that your case can be administratively prosecuted if the board substantiates the allegations, the investigator will ask you to sign a verification form confirming that what you have told us is truthful and accurate.
Depending upon the nature of your complaint, the investigator may offer you the opportunity for mediation, instead of a full investigation.
After speaking with you, the investigator will contact witnesses, starting with those whose names you can provide. Investigators often visit locations where incidents occurred to find video from surveillance cameras or to find other people, such as store owners or employees and neighborhood residents, who may be able to provide information or eyewitness accounts. If additional information is uncovered, the investigator might need to interview you a second time.
The CCRB has subpoena power, which enables us to obtain records from commercial establishments and medical facilities, though we cannot view your medical records without your permission. We also obtain necessary documents from the police department, some of it immediately through onsite databases. Because the CCRB has access to police department records, such as roll calls, command logs, vehicle assignments, and stop and frisk forms, we can usually identify officers, even if you cannot give us a name or badge number.
Investigators usually interview police officers who are the subject of a complaint or who possibly witnessed an incident as soon as possible after they have been identified, and the complainant and/or alleged victim has given an in-person statement. Under the NYPD’s Patrol Guide, police officers must appear at the CCRB to be interviewed and must answer investigators’ questions truthfully and fully.
After you file a complaint, your case is assigned to a CCRB investigator. The investigator will offer you the chance to participate in mediation. Mediation lets you resolve a complaint by talking with the officer face-to-face, rather than seeking an investigation. It is a process that does not lead to discipline for the officer, but can often result in mutual understanding between the civilian and the officer. Approximately 90% of mediation sessions are successful. Participation in mediation is voluntary and the mediation session is confidential.
In a mediation, you and the officer sit down as equals, in a comfortable, quiet, and private space to talk about what happened. You are not alone; the discussion is guided by a trained, experienced, and independent mediator. The goal of the mediation session is to come to an understanding. The mediator helps you and the officer to speak openly and respectfully, and to listen to each other. A mediation is successful when you and the officer agree that the issues raised by the incident and the complaint have been resolved.
Mediation gives you control over the resolution of your complaint. It gives you the satisfaction of telling the officer how his or her actions or words affected you. This often educates officers and helps them see the incident from your point of view. Plus, you get to ask the officer questions, which can help you understand his or her perspective. If you have recurring problems with one particular officer, mediation allows you to discuss all the issues, not just the one incident that led you to file a complaint. Post-mediation surveys show an overwhelming majority of people who participate in CCRB mediations are satisfied with the process and outcome.
Under guidelines set by the board, not everyone who files a complaint will be offered mediation. For example: if you have an open criminal case stemming from the incident; have filed or plan to file a lawsuit; or if the incident involved physical injury or property damage, then your complaint will not be mediated. If you want the police department to discipline the officer, then mediation is not for you. Be aware that an investigation does not guarantee punishment.
All mediations take place at the CCRB's office at 100 Church Street, in lower Manhattan. The agency provides a safe, private space for you to meet with the officer. Mediations are scheduled from Monday through Friday at times that are convenient for you.
Download the CCRB's Guide to Mediation