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Date:January 28, 2015

Police Disciplinary Process

Listen to Andrew Stoll and Leo Glickman discuss the policy disciplinary process…

Notable Quotes on the Police Disciplinary Process:

“If you have to train a police officer to not be racist you’re starting out from behind..”

“Even just like just good old conversational skills, cops have to call it verbal Judo.”

“…police officers also have to know that bad conduct, unconstitutional conduct, bad policing is going to be met with punishment.”

Transcript from the 1/28/2015 Redistribution Radio Show

He’s asking also a lot of questions about the police disciplinary process and so we were–

The what?

Exactly. And so we thought why don’t we talk about that a little bit today. As you know, Andrew, as a person who not only is a litigator, but in a prior lifetime as someone who’s been involved with helping make policy for elected officials and the area of civil rights and police– there’s sort of a popular political bromide is training. We need to just train police.

We just need better training.

Right. And as you know, and I think I’ve probably said it on the show, but I have my doubts about training. I mean, I feel that if you have to train the police officer to not be racist, you’re starting out pretty from behind.

Right, right.

And clearly there are things you could do to help police officers learn how to deescalate situations using conversation rather than physicality.

Of course, even good conversation–

Say it.

Even just like just good old conversational skills, cops have to call it verbal Judo.

They turn conversation into combat.

Yeah.

It never occurred to me before how ridiculous. I used to be charmed by that term. But Jesus, they’re turning conversation into combat.

Right.

Verbal Judo.

And that probably can be helpful. But then again, I think if you have the mindset that you’re going in like gangbusters in every situation, I think that’s just your personality. And I don’t know if that’s a matter of training. So for us, I think we all agree in our office that really the only answer is accountability.

Accountability, yeah, yeah.

You have to let police officers know– and again, we believe that good police work should be well rewarded– but police officers also have to know that bad conduct, unconstitutional conduct, bad policing is going to be met with punishment.

Right.

And as we know, that’s just not how it is today. But it’s not just today. This is a story that’s as old as the police department itself, is that sort of lack of accountability and the institutional resistance to elected officials, to civilians, to the public building any accountability for police actions into the system.

Right.

So Andrew, I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Because as you know, I’ve been working on this project looking back at Frank Serpico, and his life, and what he did. And that was in the early ’70s. And so I’ve been thinking a lot about history and how that really informs where we’re at today. And you just have to start wondering.

There’s this thing where every 20 years, it’s not that there’s corruption or some sort of a pattern of brutality developed, it’s just that for whatever reason the media gets involved with it and it sort of becomes an issue again.

Right, right.

And then we appoint these commissions. But I’ve been thinking a lot about, to what extent that, what is it about policing? What is it about the institution that makes it so resistant to accountability?

So I was looking back in the ’60s when New York City tried to institute a civilian complaint review board. The PBA were sending out mailers. I’m sorry.

The cop union.

The police union, Police Benevolent Association started sending out mailers saying that the CCRB advocates who were trying to Institute this are infiltrated by communists.

Fascinating, right?

And put out, really, these mailers also that were just complete race baiting. One, a white woman emerging into like a dark street from the subway saying, a policeman is the only thing that stands between you and a hooligan, criminal, or some other addict.

So sending the message that if you’re a white woman, you know. And so therefore, if you’re a white women, and you’re by yourself, you’re in danger but for a police officer.

And how that exactly connected to holding police officers who engage in corruption or brutality accountable for their actions–

Right.

But it didn’t matter. They couched it in terms of pro police and anti police.

Right.

So fast forward to the early ’90s when we have David Dinkins who advocated himself to institute a civilian complaint review board. And that was– as you know, Andrew– New York City’s first black mayor. That was about 10,000 police officer showed up in City Hall, led by Rudy Giuliani, to protest the policy.

I didn’t know that.

Yeah, and he gave a rousing, fairly incensed, inflammatory speech which had the effect of encouraging police officers to do things like– well, to our first black mayor, like holding watermelons in the air. And saying–

Jesus.

Yeah.

I missed that. Wow.

Yeah. And literally with placards using the N word. And I mean it was just a completely–

Wow.

–out of control.

Yeah. Well that’s not like 1965, that’s 1995, right?

Right, it was ’93. So we’re going to– thank you, Richard. Richard’s come back to the studio. But that’s just a little history about the resistance of the police department to allowing anything that would hold police officers accountable for unconstitutional action or for corruption.

And so here we are today. And we do have a CCRB finally.

Yeah.

And I think after the song we’ll perhaps talk a little bit about the CCRB and the discipline as it stands today.