[The Village Voice] You Can Finally Complain About the Police at Your Precinct
The CCRB has agreed to deliver new complaint forms, but police reform activists still doubt the NYPD will act to address wrongdoing.
...Riko Guzman of the Justice Committee has seen firsthand the difficulties of the CCRB complaint system. When he approached the uninviting 48th Precinct in November 2016 — the station house sits beneath the Cross Bronx Expressway on a street that has been closed off from public traffic — he hoped to pick up a handful of CCRB complaint forms to distribute to others who would not feel comfortable going to the precinct.
After an incredulous response from several officers, however, who told Guzman he couldn’t have the complaint forms unless each person who wanted one came in and presented identification, he left empty-handed.
“I might as well have asked for, I don’t know, Bill Clinton’s date of birth or something, you know?” he recalls. “Now, as an organizer, I’m a little more knowledgeable. But that did not change the fact of, ‘Aw man, here we go, with a back-and-forth with an authoritative figure.’”
The experience left Guzman frustrated, and reinforced in him a feeling common among police reform activists that the CCRB can be inaccessible to many New Yorkers.
“There’s just so many obstacles and hurdles, it’s actually easier to just say, ‘I was a victim of misconduct but so what,’” he says.
Guzman’s thwarted attempt to get the forms is just the kind of situation CCRB honchos say they’re trying to address with the rollout of envelopes and updated informational posters to precincts. But Guzman says he remains skeptical, and called for the agency to invest more time and resources into making sure officers are properly trained to handle walk-in complaints...