Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the Assembly passed legislation that would establish the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office within the Department of Law to investigate allegations of corruption, fraud, use of excessive force, criminal activity, conflicts of interest or abuse in local law enforcement agencies throughout the state (A.10002-B, Taylor).
Recent events, both across the country and in New York have further illustrated the need for increased transparency in law enforcement, said Speaker Heastie. This legislation will help ensure that there is transparency and oversight of these entities so that New Yorkers can have confidence in the law enforcement serving their communities.
Establishing the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office will bring increased transparency to law enforcement just as we have brought transparency into other aspects of our society, said Assemblymember Al Taylor. This legislation is essential to hold law enforcement agencies accountable for their operations and activities.
The Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office would be headed by a deputy attorney general appointed by the attorney general. The head of a law enforcement agency is required to refer complaints to the office for review when an employee receives at least five complaints from different individuals on five or more separate incidents within two years. In addition to their other investigative duties, the office will investigate these complaints to determine whether the subject has engaged in a pattern or practice of misconduct, use of excessive force or acts of dishonesty. They would then determine whether disciplinary action, civil or criminal prosecution or further investigation by a federal, state or local agency is warranted, and would assist in such investigations if requested by the agency. The state inspector general, Metropolitan Transportation Authority inspector general and the Port Authority inspector general would be granted similar powers to investigate police officers and agencies under their jurisdiction.