The NYPD Files

Investigating America’s Largest Police Force

ProPublica reporters uncover abuse and impunity inside the NYPD, using confidential documents and insider interviews, giving the public unprecedented access to civilian complaints against officers.

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It Wasn’t the First Time the NYPD Killed Someone in Crisis. For Kawaski Trawick, It Only Took 112 Seconds.

Trawick was alone in his apartment when an officer pushed open the door. He was holding a bread knife and a stick. “Why are you in my home?” he asked. He never got an answer.

The NYPD Files: Search Thousands of Civilian Complaints Against New York City Police Officers

After New York state repealed a law that kept NYPD disciplinary records secret, ProPublica obtained data from the civilian board that investigates complaints about police behavior. Use this database to search thousands of allegations.

Other Entries

After NYPD Found “No Wrongdoing” in Officer’s Killing of Kawaski Trawick, a Watchdog Finds Fireable Offenses

New York City’s police oversight agency brought disciplinary charges against the officer who killed Kawaski Trawick. While the NYPD found no wrongdoing, ProPublica published footage showing it was the cops who escalated the situation.

“City Hall Put the Kibosh on That”: The Inside Story of How de Blasio Promised, Then Thwarted NYPD Accountability

Bill de Blasio once pledged powerful oversight of the police. Then he became mayor. Insiders reveal what happened next.

Inspecting the NYPD “Puzzle Palace”

Withheld records. Canceled interviews. Slow-walk requests. The Inspector General keeps hitting walls while trying to probe problems in the NYPD. “There’s a reason people call 1 Police Plaza the puzzle palace,” one city official said.

A Police Union Contract Puts Taxpayers on the Hook to Defend Officers When the City Won’t

A little-known labor contract provision obligates New Yorkers to help pay officers’ legal bills in lawsuits that city lawyers won’t defend.

As New York City Moves to Address Racialized Policing of Sex Work, Advocates and Lawyers Say It’s Not Enough

In the wake of a 2020 ProPublica investigation, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for convening a task force to address problems with how the city polices the sex trade. “But it feels like planning to make a plan,” one attorney said.

Only Two NYPD Officers Face Serious Discipline From a Watchdog’s Investigations Into Abuse of Black Lives Matter Protesters

After ProPublica detailed the lack of disclosure about protest cases by New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, the agency has revealed how little progress has been made on many of the investigations.

Over 700 Complaints About NYPD Officers Abusing Black Lives Matter Protesters, Then Silence

Emails show New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board leaders discouraged staff from confronting the NYPD about a lack of cooperation on abuse investigations. The agency declined to disclose how many officers are facing misconduct charges.

A Federal Appeals Court Has Ruled in Favor of Releasing NYPD Discipline Records

On Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit rejected unions’ appeal to keep NYPD discipline records secret. ProPublica published thousands of those files last year. “The cat is not only out of the bag, it’s running around the streets,” one judge noted then.

New York City Council Proposes Sweeping NYPD Reforms

The council has announced a package of bills to reshape the NYPD and improve officer accountability. A City Council member cited a “direct line” from ProPublica’s coverage to the proposals.

Still Can’t Breathe

How NYPD officers continue to use chokeholds — which can be deadly and are explicitly prohibited by the department — on civilians, while officers with substantiated claims of abuse go without any meaningful punishment.

New York City Paid an NBA Star Millions After an NYPD Officer Broke His Leg. The Officer Paid Little Price.

“When are people going to be held accountable?” asked NBA guard Thabo Sefolosha. A ProPublica review found New York has paid more than $1 billion in recent years to settle suits against officers, who are rarely punished.

“Nobody” Hurt, “Just a Perp,” Say Officers After NYPD Shot and Killed Man in His Own Home

The comments were captured in body-worn camera footage the NYPD recently disclosed, 20 months after Kawaski Trawick was shot in his apartment while holding a bread knife.

Calls Increase for NYPD Commissioner to Be Stripped of Absolute Authority Over Officer Discipline

Recently released documents show that NYPD commissioners have used their authority to reject the civilian review board’s recommendations and even guilty pleas from officers themselves.

New York Lawmakers Demand NYPD Halt Undercover Sex Trade Stings

A dozen city and state officials also called for the disbandment of vice, the primary division that polices the sex trade; some want investigations into misconduct allegations against the unit, including withholding of evidence.

What It Looks Like When the New York City Police Commissioner Has “Unchecked Power” Over Officer Discipline

While a civilian board can prosecute misconduct cases involving NYPD officers, the police commissioner has the final word. Frequently, that power is used to reduce penalties.

NYPD Cops Cash In on Sex Trade Arrests With Little Evidence, While Black and Brown New Yorkers Pay the Price

Some NYPD officers who police the sex trade, driven by overtime pay, go undercover to round up as many “bodies” as they can with little evidence. Almost no one they arrest is white.

The NYPD Said the Killing of Kawaski Trawick “Appears to Be Justified.” Video Shows Officers Escalated the Situation.

Footage shows the killing of the 32-year-old Black man in his home by a white officer — over the objections of his Black, more-experienced partner. Both officers are still on duty.

Over a Dozen Black and Latino Men Accused a Cop of Humiliating, Invasive Strip Searches. The NYPD Kept Promoting Him.

The men said Assistant Chief Christopher McCormack touched them inappropriately during searches or ordered others to do so. Eighty-six NYPD leaders have at least one credible misconduct allegation on file. McCormack has the most.

The NYPD Is Withholding Evidence From Investigations Into Police Abuse

The NYPD has regularly failed to turn over key records and videos to police abuse investigators at New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. “This just seems like contempt,” said the now-retired judge who ordered the NYPD to use body cameras.

The Complaint Files NYPD Unions Don’t Want You to See

ProPublica partner THE CITY has exclusively obtained more than 250 civilian reports alleging police abuses, from bullying to brutality. Read details from some of the records law enforcement groups are waging a court battle to keep confidential.

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