4-99 NYCLU Strengthens Campaign Against Police Brutality

January 14, 1999 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

ACLU News Wire: 1-14-99 NYCLU Strengthens Campaign Against Police Brutality

/rbline.gif” ALIGN=”BOTTOM”>

NEW YORK — With complaints against the New York City Police Department up by 4.3% last year, as reported today by the New York Times, the New York Civil Liberties Union has beefed up their new Task Force with the addition of former police whistleblower Frank Serpico to their ranks.

More than 25 years after his whistle-blowing as a young officer exposed widespread corruption in the New York Police Department, Serpico joined the NYCLU’s Campaign to Stop Police Brutality, the Times reported.

“Although there’s been a drop in reported crimes around the country, in its place there is a national epidemic of police brutality,” Serpico told the New York Times at a January 11 press conference held at the NYCLU headquarters.

On January 14, Norman Siegel, Executive Director of the NYCLU, told the Times that over the next three years, his organization plans to give presentations about police brutality to community boards across the city and distribute more than one million palm cards advising people what to do if they are stopped by the police.

“We can, in New York, have effective law enforcement — we want it — and respect for civil liberties and civil rights,” Siegel told the New York Times. “They are not, I repeat, not, mutually exclusive.”

Siegel told the Times that he was very troubled after hearing about the increase in complaints against the NYPD. While there were fewer complaints last year than there were in the middle of the decade, there were still 39% more complaints than the 3,580 filed in 1993, the year the complaint review board became independent from the Police Department, said the Times.

“The Police Department and the Mayor should stop engaging in spins and denial,” Siegel told the paper. “That is not going to assist us in addressing the reality of too many complaints filed by New Yorkers about police misconduct.”

Source: The New York Times, January 11 and 14, 1999

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.