U.S. probes New York City police unit over 'gender-biased policing'

"I believe any constructive review of our practices in the Special Victims Division will show that the NYPD has been evolving and improving in this area but we will be transparent and open to criticism as well as ideas in the process," Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement. The probe will include a review of how SVD interacts with survivors and witnesses, how it collects evidence and completes investigations, and any steps the NYPD has taken to address deficiencies in its handling of sexual assault crimes, the Justice Department said.


Reuters | Updated: 01-07-2022 00:29 IST | Created: 01-07-2022 00:29 IST
U.S. probes New York City police unit over 'gender-biased policing'

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a probe into a division of the New York City Police Department looking at whether it engages in gender-biased policing, including how it handles investigations of sexual assault and treatment of survivors, the department said on Thursday. The Justice Department said in a statement that it received information alleging deficiencies at the NYPD's Special Victims Division (SVD) that have "persisted for more than a decade."

The alleged deficiencies include failing to conduct basic investigative steps and instead shaming and abusing survivors and re-traumatizing them during investigations, the Justice Department said. The probe will include a comprehensive review of the policies, procedures and training for SVD investigations of sexual assault crimes, the department said.

"Based on information provided to the Justice Department, we find significant justification to investigate whether the NYPD's Special Victims Division engages in a pattern or practice of gender-biased policing," said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "Victims of sex crimes deserve the same rigorous and unbiased investigations of their cases that the NYPD affords to other categories of crime," the Justice Department said.

The NYPD said it welcomed the review. "I believe any constructive review of our practices in the Special Victims Division will show that the NYPD has been evolving and improving in this area but we will be transparent and open to criticism as well as ideas in the process," Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement.

The probe will include a review of how SVD interacts with survivors and witnesses, how it collects evidence and completes investigations, and any steps the NYPD has taken to address deficiencies in its handling of sexual assault crimes, the Justice Department said. The Justice Department said it will also reach out to the public to learn about their experiences with the SVD.

The department said it that in addition to notifying the police commissioner, it has notified New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix, who have agreed to cooperate with the investigation. The mayor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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