Mount Vernon — Six months after NYPD officers broke through the front door, pushed 54- years-old Geneva Smith to the ground and searched her second floor Mount Vernon apartment without showing her a warrant, the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board finds NYPD Detectives John McCrossen and Michael Greaney were guilty of an Abuse of Authority, when they entered and search 57 South Terrace Avenue.
The CCRB stated in the letter, dated March 21st; Following a thorough and impartial investigation by the Civilian Compliant Review Board’s investigative staff, the Board reviewed the evidence regarding the complaint by Smith and her husband Richard (CCRB case number 201508062.) The board found the Smiths’ complaint to be substantiated (the officers committed misconduct).
“While my clients are pleased to know that the Detectives in question have been found to abuse their authority, they are disappointed with the leniency being provided to them,” Jared Rice, a New Rochelle-based civil rights attorney who represents the Smiths tells BW. “These NYPD officers are guilty of Criminal Trespass in the 2nd degree and the recommended punishment of the potential loss of vacation days is not enough. Instead, the Administrative Prosecution Unit should be using their prosecutorial authority.”
In this case the Board substantiated one or more allegations raised by the complaint. Under New York City law, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has the authority to investigate certain types of complaints against police officers, make findings of fact and forward it recommendations to the Police Commissioner.
Mina Q. Malik, the Executive Director of the NYC CCRB further explains in the letter, that ‘only the Police Commissioner has the authority to actually impose discipline against a police officers. The board recommended a Command discipline: The officers should receive discipline at the local, command level, which may range from instructions to loss of up to ten days pay.
Despite the letter from the CCRB to the Smiths, the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board website states the board has more power than the letter suggests.
However, on April 2, 2012, the NYPD and the CCRB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which conferred on the CCRB the power to prosecute substantiated cases where the board recommended “charges and specifications,” the most serious discipline.
As a result, the CCRB’s Administrative Prosecution Unit (APU) now prosecutes nearly all these cases, with limited exceptions. The trials are held at the police department, before an administrative law judge, known as a deputy commissioner for trials. If an officer is found guilty, punishment can be: a warning and admonishment, loss of vacation days, suspension without pay, a dismissal probation, or termination from the NYPD. The police commissioner retains the authority to decide the level of punishment.
One has to ask, if the Board has such powers are they referring back to making recommendation to the Police Commissioner instead of prosecuting the officers themselves and they own website says they have the power to do, especially since they find the officers abused their authority and committed police misconduct?
The incident was the second time in just over two weeks, the NYPD has come into the City of Mount Vernon without contacting the MVPD that they are in their jurisdiction. On Friday, August 28th, a gun-buy gone wrong that started off as an undercover operation in the Bronx, then spilled over the a quiet Mount Vernon neighborhood and led to Felix Kumi, a 61-year-old innocent bystander being killed in the fracas, just blocks from his home.
Mount Vernon City Council President called a press conference regarding NYPD activity in Mount Vernon, Wednesday, September 23rd.
Stay tuned to BW as we follow this developing story.