A group of NYPD officers allegedly forced a man to rap for his own freedom. According to a lawsuit filed against the department and obtained by the Post, 28-year-old Quinshon Singles was handcuffed in the Brooklyn apartment of a friend after police entered the home without a warrant. “The defendant officers then told the plaintiff Quinshon Shingles to show them some 'spits and bars,' specifically to perform a rap song, and that if he was ‘hot’ they would let him go," the lawsuit states. Singles says he performed, and police took off the handcuffs.
The lawsuit alleges that no contraband was found in the search, and that at least one of the officers who entered the apartment was being investigated for other illegal searches.
Why sue the department instead of reporting police misconduct to the Civilian Complaint Review Board? Among other reasons, the NYPD has increasingly ignored cases of wrongdoing substantiated by the CCRB. According to a recent CCRB report [PDF], the department declined to prosecute 28% of all substantiated cases closed by the CCRB from January to August of this year, an increase of 13% over last year.
From the report:
During this time period, there were specific allegation categories with a higher than average Department Unable to Prosecute (DUP) rate (33%). For example, the department declined to prosecute 75% of offensive language allegations (3 out of 4), 58% of all discourtesy allegations (11 out of 19), 46% of vehicle stops and searches (17 out of 37), and 42% of physical force allegations (5 out of 12). In the area of stop and frisk, the department declined to prosecute 58% of questions (7 out of 12), 35% of stops (30 out of 85), 17% of frisks (9 out of 54) and 28% of searches (8 out of 29). Premises entered and or searched had a 37% DUP rate (7 out of 19).
The department declined to prosecute 25% of cases in which the Board recommended Charges and Specifications (33 out of 134), 33% of cases in which the Board recommended Command Discipline (22 out of 67) and 38% of cases in which the Board recommended Instructions (9 out of 24). Since May, with the implementation of the APU, two thirds of the declined cases are those in which the Board recommended Command Discipline or Instructions.
The CCRB recently gained more funding and prosecutorial power to try cases before administrative judges, but the NYPD Commissioner still has the final say as to whether an officer will be disciplined.
“When the department dismisses a case, a police officer who has been found to engage in misconduct by the CCRB is going to go unpunished,” NYCLU associate legal director Christopher Dunn told the New York World. "In short, it means an officer walks away scot-free even though they did something wrong.”
In fiscal year 2012, taxpayers shelled out $151.9 million in settlements related to lawsuits against the NYPD for civil rights violations or misconduct.