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.
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.