Civilian Complaints Against New York City Police Officers

This free download is a database of more than 12,000 civilian complaints filed against New York City police officers.

After New York state repealed the statute that kept police disciplinary records secret, known as 50-a, ProPublica filed a records request with New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates complaints by the public about NYPD officers. The board provided us with records about closed cases for every police officer still on the force as of late June 2020 who had at least one substantiated allegation against them. The records span decades, from September 1985 to January 2020.

We have published, and are releasing for download here, a version of the data that excludes any allegations that investigators concluded did not occur and were deemed unfounded.

We chose to include the basic information disclosed by the CCRB about allegations that investigators deemed unsubstantiated. Unsubstantiated means the CCRB, which has limited investigative powers, was not able to confirm that the alleged incident happened and that it violated the NYPD’s rules.

We also chose to include cases where an investigator found that what a civilian alleged did happen but the conduct was allowed by the NYPD’s rules. The Police Department’s guidelines often give officers substantial discretion, particularly around use of force. Those cases are classified as “exonerated.”

All this information can help readers examine the records of officers who have been the subject of a pattern of complaints.

Each record in the data lists the name, rank, shield number, and precinct of each officer as of today and at the time of the incident; the age, race and gender of the complainant and the officer; a category describing the alleged misconduct; and whether the CCRB concluded the officers’ conduct violated NYPD rules.

Every complaint in the database was fully investigated by the CCRB, which means, among other steps, a civilian provided a sworn statement to investigators. The CCRB was not able to reach conclusions in many cases, in part because the investigators must rely on the NYPD to hand over crucial evidence, such as footage from body-worn cameras. Often, the department is not forthcoming despite a legal duty to cooperate in CCRB investigations. The CCRB gets thousands of complaints per year but substantiates a tiny fraction of them. Allegations of criminal conduct by officers are typically investigated not by the CCRB but by state or federal prosecutors in conjunction with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau or the FBI.

The download includes the information on this page, a layout table and basic glossary for the fields included.

Updated 7/27/20: Download was updated to include expanded documentation and shield numbers.


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Part of these collections:

Police Officers, Police Districts, New York, Race, and Policing

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