III.           ALTHOUGH THE PANEL DID NOT IDENTIFY PERVASIVE FAVORITISM, THE PANEL IDENTIFIED A FEW CASES WHERE FAVORITISM MAY HAVE INFLUENCED THE DISCIPLINARY PROCESS OR OUTCOME

A.            Preliminary Analysis of Disciplinary Case Data Involving Higher-Ranking NYPD Personnel Did Not Show Pervasive Favoritism

1.              Overview

In light of concerns about favoritism in the Department’s disciplinary process, the Panel conducted a preliminary review of whether, for example, so-called “white shirts” (lieutenants, captains, deputy inspectors, inspectors, and chiefs) receive more lenient penalties than lower-ranking members (officers, detectives, and sergeants) for similar misconduct.[78] As discussed below, the Panel’s review does not support an inference that these higher-ranking NYPD personnel have consistently received more lenient treatment. In fact, at least in some cases, the opposite appears to be true.

2.              Analysis of Data Provided by the NYPD

To evaluate whether penalties are consistently applied across ranks, the Panel reviewed summaries of all formal disciplinary action taken against uniformed members of the NYPD during the years 2016 and 2017 (a total of 1,031 cases).[79] The summaries provided to the Panel identified the officer’s rank and tenure, the nature of the misconduct and penalty imposed, and prior disciplinary history, if any.

Disciplinary cases often involve multiple charges encompassing more than one type of misconduct. To maximize sample size and facilitate comparisons, the Panel considered only the most serious misconduct charge in each case and set aside any lesser charges.[80] Thus, the Panel’s findings do not account for variations in penalty that might be attributable to findings of guilt on lesser charges.[81]

In addition, because the summaries often use slightly different descriptions of the offense conduct, the Panel grouped substantially similar offenses for comparison purposes. For example, some officers were charged with “operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol,” while

[78] Of the uniformed officers, approximately 65% hold the rank of police officer, approximately 15% hold the rank of detective, approximately 13% hold the rank of sergeant, and the remaining 7% hold other ranks. See NYPD, Crime and Enforcement Activity in New York City C-1 (Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2017), available at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/pdf/analysis_and_planning/year-end-2017-enforcement-report.pdf.

[79] The summaries included all cases prosecuted by DAO and the CCRB’s APU for which there was a final post-trial disposition or a settlement.

[80] Cases in which an officer was found not guilty of any offense were also excluded from the analysis.

[81] For example, where an officer involved in an accident while driving under the influence was charged with “Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol,” “Being unfit for duty,” and “Failing to inform the department of a vehicle accident,” the Panel used for comparison purposes only the highest level of misconduct—here, “Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol”—and compared the penalty imposed to other cases involving that offense as the most serious misconduct.