In 2007, the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, initiated a civil investigation of the policies and practices of the Yonkers, New York Police Department (YPD), pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3789d.
On June 9, 2009, the DOJ issued a substantial 41-page Technical Assistance Letter (PN-NY-0041-0001
). The letter noted concerns and made recommendations in the following areas: the content, organization and overall structure of the YPD Policy and Procedure Manual; use of force policies and procedures; investigation of citizen complaints; supervisory oversight structure; training program and materials; community relations; and personnel issues.
The report led to many years of negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement. According to the City of Yonkers, the investigation was officially completed in April of 2012. From 2012-2016, while the negotiations were ongoing, the City worked to make changes to its programs.
On November 14, 2016, the DOJ, the City of Yonkers, and the YPD reached an agreement. The agreement included provisions regarding use-of-force policies; evaluation, documentation, and review of uses of force; stops, searches and arrests; a misconduct complaint process; discipline; management and supervision; community policing; and training; review, reporting, and implementation.
More specifically, the provisions regarding use-of-force policies stated that YPD would: maintain use-of-force policies that define terms clearly, clarify use-of-force options available to officers, limit use of force to circumstances in which it is reasonable, provide that unreasonable force may yield consequences, and explicitly prohibit particular types of use of force.
The provisions regarding stops, searches and arrests specified that YPD would: maintain and implement clear policies on investigatory stops and detentions; permit such stops and detentions only where the officer has reasonable suspicion that criminal activity or a violation of law has been or is about to be committed.
Per the agreement, YPD agreed to develop a system to collect data on investigatory stops and searches, which will require recording specific details (including the officer’s name and badge number, the subject’s apparent race, ethnicity, gender and age, and the reason for the stop). Consultants would conduct compliance reviews to ensure that YPD has implemented the measures in the agreement and issue public reports based on their reviews.
The agreement was set to be terminated once two years had passed, provided that compliance was maintained for no less than 12 months.Richard Jolly - 11/29/2014
Julie Singer - 03/10/2017