Abner Louima Could've Told You This…


A Times op-ed argues that New York's ten-year-old Civilian Complaint Review board has done little to check abuses of police power. Not terribly surprising when you consider that the mayor and police chief get to appoint 8 of the board's 13 members. Shades of Archibald Cox…


NEXT: e-Lection Season

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  1. I have one question.

    What exactly does a “Civilian Complaint Review Board” review? I was not aware of any widespread abuse of people by soldiers, sailors, airmen or marines.

    Otherwise I get the impression that someone thinks policemen are part of the military.

  2. This by-the-book idiocy has made policing worse rather than better. There can be no book to guide the staffers of Reason much less the officers of a police force.

    Good sense once dictated an understanding that police work occupied a grey zone between the legal and the illegal. One neither brute nor saint would describe a good police officer.

  3. This is why I support public cameras. Provided they are placed not out on the street, but in every public, (read GOVERNMENT), building first.

    Put cameras in every police station, every patrol car, and every elected officials office.

    All hooked up to the internet and broadcasting 24 hours a day.

    If we want to use them to catch criminals, we should use them to catch those in positions to do the most damage. A person running a red light or snatching a purse may harm a few people, but government officials, elected, appointed or hired, can destroy the lives of everyone under their authority.


  4. Well, there is the AP Stylebook, but point taken…

  5. Maybe they should staff this board with people older than 10.

    (Sorry, that joke sucked. I’m posting it anyway).

  6. Excellent proposal, Tom Wright. You won’t mind if we send you the bill for all the stuff, ok?

  7. A civilian complaint review board can be a great asset for a police department, but allowing frivilous complaints to be dismissed credibly, without the taint of self-protection by the police or political establishment. But this isn’t going to happen if the board isn’t truly independent. It’s a missed opportunity for the NYPD and Mayor’s office.

  8. So Giuliani, Maple, compstat et al take over and bring crime in New York City from nearly its highest level ever to its lowest level since 1963 in about 10 years. Yes, there must be terrible abuses of power by police. This situation cannot stand!

  9. ^Boston had similar success over the same period, except instead of exacerbating racial tensions and community-police relations, they improved.

    Then again, Boston’s mayor was a Democrat.

  10. Boston is also not blessed with the constant presence of Al Sharpton and his traveling circus of race hustlers.

  11. It is also worthwhile to notice that in the period since the incorporation of the “toothless” Civilian Complaint Review Board, New York City has achieved almost indescribably dramatic reduction in serious, violent crime. Compare the trajectory of New York’s crime statistics with those of San Francisco or Washington DC and learn the value of empowering police to maintain civic order.

    Amadou Diallo should not have to be shot; Abner Louima should not have been raped; nor should Anthony Cordero (?) have to have been choked to death by the police in order to achieve this near-miraculous reclamation of the city streets. Serious cases of police misconduct must be vigorously prosecuted with individual officers suffering the same consequences as those who commit assault and battery as private citizens.

    But, too often, civil liberties complaints are hijacked by agitators interested in furthering a reflexive, virulent, anti-cop ideology. That sucks because (1) it’s unfair and (2) it creates a “crying ‘wolf'” effect.

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