New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) watered down the conclusion and recommendations of its own report on police use of Tasers, after a "collaborative" process of revisions with the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio's office.
CCRB had released a draft of the report earlier this year which concluded that in most of the reviewed cases, police were using Tasers on unarmed people. The board's initial recommendation was to end the deployment of Tasers on handcuffed detainees, but both that proposal and much of the language emphasizing how prevalent the use of Tasers is on unarmed suspects was excised from the final report, according to The New York Times'.
The executive summary of the report's original draft also recommended the department create an annual comprehensive report detailing each time a Taser is used by an officer, but the final report buried that recommendation on the very last page.
The Times reports:
The draft, in describing the roughly 30 percent of Taser complaints that came while a subject was in police custody, observed that "these were the most troubling." That sentence was removed. Also removed was a statement that "a review of several of the police custody complaints supports the perception that the Tasing may have occurred unnecessarily."
Elsewhere, the draft report found that "there is also evidence" that Tasers were being used in response to unruly or obstinate behavior by suspects. That phrase was changed in the final version to say that "there is concern."
CCRB senior adviser Jerika Richardson was quoted by The Times' as saying that revisions like this are typical and "changes were made to the superfluous language that skewed its findings," but some critics think the CCRB is failing in its mission as a supposedly independent oversight agency.
Police reform advocate Josmar Trujillo described CCRB as an "ornamental agency" that is far too cozy with the department it is meant to place a check on, and whose recommendations for officer discipline and greater departmental accountability are all too easily dismissed by the NYPD and City Hall.