Nearly two-thirds of complaints accusing New York City police officers of mistreating young people involved male minorities, a civilian oversight panel said Monday.
From January 2018 to last June, "males of color between the ages of 10 and 18 were a complainant" or victim in 64.8 precent of police misconduct claims made by young people, Civilian Complaint Review Board findings revealed.
The interactions tended to be for minor offenses with "officers stopping youth for seemingly innocuous activities, such as playing, high-fiving, running, carrying backpacks, and jaywalking," the oversight panel said.
“Across the nation, Americans are experiencing a collective mourning that affects all of us, including our youth," board chairman Fred Davie said in a statement.
"Sadly, after years of witnessing news about police misconduct and possibly experiencing it themselves, even the youngest among us have an awareness of the tension that too often exists between the police and civilians."
The New York City report comes two weeks after George Floyd, a Minneapolis man accused of passing a suspicious $20 bill, died in police custody. Four police officers were arrested after video showed one of them kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd, who was in handcuffs, repeatedly said, "I can't breathe."
While the incidents detailed in the Civilian Complaint Review Board report came well before protests against systemic racism broke out across America, Davie said young minority New York residents have always known about discrimination.
“As young New Yorkers lead the way in calling for change in our city following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others, it’s time for the NYPD to re-consider how officers police our youth, address disparities in law enforcement, and commit to swift discipline when officers engage in misconduct," Davie said.
The NYPD said it accepts the panel's findings and will pursue changes.
“A top priority Commissioner (Dermot) Shea has set for the NYPD is to reimagine doing all we can to protect and serve New York City’s kids," according to an NYPD statement.
"After careful review, we accept each of the CCRB’s thoughtful and constructive recommendations — some of which are already in the process of being implemented and all of which will strengthen our new Youth Strategy.”