The Civilian Complaint Review Board issued a report that finds many police officers are only getting "slaps on the wrist" versus actual punishment after the CCRB brings cases against them. For instance, 75% of police officer who are "reprimanded for such offenses as improper searches usually got instructions on improving their conduct," which is 34% higher than three years ago. The "lenient" punishment is doled out when the offenses do not involve weapons or physical force. The NYPD says that the ability of the public to call 311 and make unsubstantiated complaint has played a part in the increase, though the CCRB says that they didn't think the complaints were to retaliate against certain officers. The Sun offered this explanation of how the CCRB works:
After a complaint is registered with the board, investigators interview witnesses, the complainant, and any police officers mentioned in the complaint. The board, which is made up of five mayoral designees, five City Council designees, and three police commissioner designees, then makes a decision on the case and recommends a level of punishment. Punishment usually ranges from verbal warnings to a period of suspension, known as "command discipline."
The police commissioner is not bound by any determination of the board, and so on receiving the determination, he makes a decision as to whether the officer is guilty — often through an internal trial system — and what punishment the officer should receive.
In June, the CCRB found that while police misconduct was down, verbal reprimands were still more likely to be given as punishment.
Related: Christopher Dunn and Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU have an essay in the Daily News that recommends the creation of " independent agency to review all on-duty police shootings of civilians."