CITY COUNCIL VS. S.V.U.

April 16, 2018 at 6:45 pm

The New York Police Department’s sex crimes unit is under fire from the City Council for being understaffed and undertrained. Council Member Donovan Richards is here with the details.

Aired on April 16, 2018.

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>>> MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO HAS
OFTEN CALLED NEW YORK CITY THE
SAFEST BIG CITY IN AMERICA, BUT
IT SEEMS HE'S NOT JUST IN
AMERICA ANYMORE, SINCE ACCORDING
TO RECENT STATISTIC, LONDON HAD
MORE MURDERS IN FEBRUARY AND
MARCH THAN DID THE BIG APPLE, A
FIRST IN THE MODERN ERA.
IT'S BEEN GENERALLY ACCEPTED
THAT THE STEEP FALL IN THE CITY
CRIME RATES IN THE PAST 25 YEARS
HAS BEEN CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS
THAT NEW YORK HAS ENJOYED DURING
THAT SAME PERIOD OF TIME, BUT IS
THAT CONNECTION AS OBVIOUS TO
CURRENT ELECTED OFFICIALS AS IT
WAS TO THOSE OF THE PAST?
AND DO THEY AGREE THAT IT'S THE
NYPD RANK AND FILERS AND THEIR
LEADERS THAT MERIT THE LION
SHARE OF THE CREDIT FOR TURNING
THE CITY'S CRIME STATS UPSIDE
DOWN?
RECENTLY THE CITY COUNCIL
COMMITTEES ON PUBLIC SAFETY AND
ON WOMEN HELD A JOINT, FIVE-HOUR
HEARING WITH THE NYPD BRASS
DURING WHICH A NUMBER OF MEMBERS
EXCORIATED THE TOP COPS OVER THE
STATE'S VICTIMS DIVISION.
WHAT WAS IT ALL ABOUT AND A MORE
CONTENTIOUS RELATIONSHIP IS
ABOUT TO BECOME THE NEW NORM.
JOIN US WITH ANSWERS IS COUNCIL
MEMBER DONOVAN RICHARDS, THE NEW
CHAIR OF THE SAFETY COMMITTEE.
>> COUNCIL MEMBER, THANKS SO
MUCH FOR JOINING US.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
>> COUNCIL MEMBER, YOU RECENTLY
WROTE AN OP ED TITLED WHAT THE
NYPD OWES THE PUBLIC?
WHAT DOES IT OWE?
>> TRANSPARENCY AND
ACCOUNTABILITY AND FOR FAR TOO
LONG.
FIRST OFF, LET ME START BY
SAYING THE NYPD DESERVES A HECK
OF A LOT OF CREDIT FOR CRIME
REDUCTIONS AND ROLLING OUT
COMMUNITY POLICING AND WE WANT
TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE THINGS THAT
THEY'RE DOING RIGHT.
>> THAT'S THE FIRST SENTENCE OF
THE ARTICLE.
>> ALWAYS, BECAUSE WE HAVE TO
GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE, BUT
HOW CAN WE MAKE IT BETTER AND
THAT'S THE JOB OF THIS COMMITTEE
AND THAT'S THE JOB OF THE
COUNCIL TO PLAY AN OVERSIGHT
ROLE WHICH WILL ONLY STRENGTHEN
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE
COMMUNITIES AND THE POLICE
DEPARTMENT.
>> BUT AS YOU KNOW, COUNCIL
MEMBER, SOME CRITICS OF THAT
FIVE-HOUR HEARING SAY THAT,
LOOK, MAYBE YOU SAY THAT YOU
CREDIT THEM WITH HAVING HELPED
THE RENAISSANCE OF THE CITY, BUT
THE WAY YOU TREATED YOU, AND YOU
AND YOUR COLLEAGUES TREATED THE
NYPD IT SEEMS TO SIGNAL THAT
MAYBE THEY'RE NOT DOING AS GOOD
A JOB AS THEY DID OVER THE LAST
25 YEARS?
>> IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE
FOCUS VICTIMS AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
VICTIMS AND YES, WE SHOULD BE
PASSIONATE WHEN YOUNG WOMEN OR
WOMEN AND MEN OUT THERE ARE
BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AND
BEING VICTIMIZED AND THEY'RE NOT
BEING GIVEN THE NECESSARY
RESOURCES THAT THEY DESERVE.
>> THEY TALK ABOUT -- TALK ABOUT
WHAT THE ACTUAL CONTENT OF THAT
HEARING WAS ABOUT AND WHAT THE
PROBLEM AND THE DIFFERENCES
BETWEEN THE CITY COUNCIL AND THE
NYPD WAS.
>> OBVIOUSLY, WAS THERE A
DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION'S
REPORT THAT WAS RELEASED AROUND
TWO WEEKS AGO, THAT SHOWED THAT
THE NYPD HAS BEEN HISTORICALLY
UNDERSTAFFING THEIR SVD UNIT FOR
OVER A DECADE.
AND WHAT TRAUMA HAS THAT CAUSED
FOR WOMEN AND MEN WHO GO TO THE
NYPD WHETHER THEY'RE RAPED OR
BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AND TO
SEE 67 OFFICERS, SOME WHO ARE
NOT EVEN DETECTIVES AND SOME WHO
ARE WHITE -- AND SOME OF THEM
DEALING WITH THE MOST
TRAUMATIZED IN THE CITY AND WE
TAKE UMBRAGE WITH THAT.
WE HAVE AN ISSUE WITH PEOPLE
GOING TO DOWN TO THE PARTICULAR
DEPARTMENT LOCATIONS AND THEM
NOT HAVING ADEQUATE FACILITIES
FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS AND LET'S
TALK ABOUT THE DETECTIVES LIKE
CHIEF OSGOOD WHO DOES SOME GREAT
WORK WHO ARE SEVERELY
UNDERSTAFFED.
67 DETECTIVES FOR 5600 CASES AND
HOW MANY OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS
HAVE WALKED AWAY WHO HAVE BEEN
VICTIMIZED NOT ONLY BY THE
PERSON BUT THEM AS WELL.
>> THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT POINT
OF VIEW.
THEY SAY THAT THAT'S INCORRECT.
THAT, IN FACT, THE TRAINING OF
THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THAT
DIVISION IS THE LEADERS IS EIGHT
YEARS, OTHERS SIX, SIX AND A
HALF YEARS AND THAT THEY ARE
ADEQUATELY STAFFED.
THAT'S THEIR POSITION, WE DON'T
HAVE TO DEBATE IT HERE.
>> LET ME JUMP IN TO THAT FOR A
SECOND, AND THROUGH THAT
INVESTIGATION AND THE DEPARTMENT
OF INVESTIGATION SEES NEARLY 30
OR 40 DOCUMENTS, INTERNAL MEMOS
THAT THE NYPD WERE GOING BACK
AND FORTH INTERNALLY ON AND
CLEARLY, THE CHIEF OF THAT
DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN SAYING, WE
ARE SEVERELY UNDERSTAFFED.
OUR DETECTIVES ARE OVERLY
STRESSED AND WE NEED MORE
SEASONED PROFESSIONALS AND WE
NEED BETTER TRAINING AND WE NEED
BETTER FACILITIES.
>> SO YOU CALLED FOR ANOTHER
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO LOOK
AT THE NYPD.
YOU SAID IN THE MODEL OF THE
COMMISSION AND THOSE ARE TWO
COMMISSIONS THAT LOOKED AT
RAMPANT -- WHAT WAS IT?
EXACTLY.
CORRUPTION OF THE NYPD IN THE
'70s AND THE '90s RESPECTIVELY.
THE NYPD IS NOWHERE NEAR THAT
KIND OF CRISIS.
THEY TAKE UMBRAGE TO THAT AND
THEY SAY THERE'S MORE OVERSIGHT
NOW OF THE NYPD THAN EVER?
>> LISTEN, THIS IS A VERY
PRELIMINARY CONVERSATION AND
OBVIOUSLY, WE'RE LOOKING AT
HISTORICALLY HOW DID PEOPLE
RESPOND WHEN THERE WAS A CRISIS.
OBVIOUSLY, WE ARE CONCERNED
ABOUT A LOT OF THE STORIES WE'VE
SEEN COMING OUT EVERY DAY ON THE
LACK OF DISCIPLINE, QUESTIONABLE
PROMOTIONS GOING ON IN THE
DEPARTMENT AND IT IS SOMETHING
THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO
ENTERTAIN AND HAVE A
CONVERSATION AROUND.
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DEBATE
AROUND THE 58th LAW IN ALBANY
AND WE NEED IT SEE MORE TR
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
BECAUSE THAT'S THE ONLY WAY TO
STRENGTHEN COMMUNITY AND POLICE
RELATIONS.
WE HAVE TO HAVE A DEPARTMENT
THAT IS RESPECTFUL OF THE
COMMUNITY AND A COMMUNITY THAT'S
RESPECTFUL OF THE DEPARTMENT AS
WELL, BUT WITHOUT SUN LIGHT,
IT'S VERY HARD TO CURE THE DARKS
THAN IS STILL WITHIN THE
DEPARTMENT.
>> COUNCIL MEMBER RICHARD, THANK
YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US
TODAY.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.