New York City unveils major police discipline reform

New York City

New York: The New York City government has unveiled a major local police discipline reform, a much-anticipated move to punish those cops who are found guilty of misconduct.

The reform, known as the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Discipline Matrix and unveiled on Friday, is expected to establish clear and consistent presumptive penalties for specific offenses and eliminate the perception of favouritism or bias that can undermine the discipline process as well as the local police department’s legitimacy, Xinhua news agency reported.

“For years, we have achieved major police department reforms and today’s announcement is just the start for the progress we will make together as a city in 2021,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“With this new cutting-edge reform, the Police Department now has clear, fair and just discipline guidelines. This is about accountability, building trust and ensuring community engagement is centred in our approach,” he said.

The reform outlines penalties for officer misconduct, including the use of excessive deadly force, racial profiling, or intentionally making a false official statement.

It “reflects my commitment that every member of the service is held accountable for his or her conduct based upon reasonable standards”, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

“The matrix is meant to be a living document, open to further improvements as the needs of the police and the public naturally evolve,” Shea added.

On August 30, 2020, the NYPD released a draft disciplinary matrix for public comment.

It was part of de Blasio’s plan to fulfil the Obama Foundation’s ‘Reimagining Policing Pledge’, which is a call for Mayors and local officials to review and reform use of force policies, redefine public safety, and combat systemic racism within law enforcement.