New York City police officers appear to have made false official statements in about two dozen cases in 2014, The New York Times reported, citing a report by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The number of false statements noted by the independent oversight agency, while small, has grown in an age of easy and widespread video and audio recording by civilians, the newspaper said.
The board found 26 instances last year in which it believes an officer gave a false statement to investigators, a number equal to the total of the previous four years.
One officer drew his gun on a bystander holding a mobile phone but denied using a racial obscenity.
After watching a video of the encounter, the officer later admitted to using a racial slur.
In another case, an officer told investigators he had not shoved a handcuffed man into a door while escorting him away from a bar fight but that the man tripped and became more compliant afterward.
However, after the interview, investigators found video showing the officer shoving the man.
In another encounter, an officer who was asked for his name so the person he had stopped could file a complaint said, “Go ahead,” and then gave the name Smith.
When presented with audio of the incident, the officer replied that he had said, “Good night, Mr. Smith.”
Neither the officer nor the person in the car had that surname.
“It is more likely now than ever that the officers’ lack of truthfulness is going to be captured, documented, and that is a function of video,” the newspaper quoted Richard Emery, the chairman of the review board, as saying.
He emphasized that such instances are far from the norm.
“What we’re trying to highlight is that when it happens, it should be taken seriously,” Emery said.
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