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NYC Council Takes Steps To Monitor Police Conduct In Wake Of Eric Garner Case

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The New York City Council will formally direct the NYPD inspector general to investigate how the agency tracks, monitors and addresses abusive police conduct.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito made the announcement Wednesday in response to the apparent police chokehold that led to the death of Eric Garner.

"The City Council will be taking a comprehensive look at the steps we can take to find a positive outcome from the tragic events which led to the death of Eric Garner," Mark-Viverito said in a statement.

Mark-Viverito said the majority of NYPD officers serve honorably. She said the two-pronged effort will ensure the actions of a few "don't malign the whole.''

"We're trying to get a report that we can then analyze and have further oversight hearings on," she said.

NYC Council Takes Steps To Monitor Police Conduct

Council Member Debi Rose called Garner's death "a clear call for meaningful policy changes at several levels within our city."

"While we stand with the vast majority of officers who risk their lives to protect our city -- and do so with courtesy, professionalism and respect -- we must also make significant changes to a system that has allowed bad actors to continue to walk the beat," Rose said in a statement.

In addition, Civilian Complaint Review Board Community Outreach offices will be created across the city to make it easier for residents to file police complaints. Currently, there's one location in Manhattan.

"This request, coming from the City Council, is just one of many of our first steps to help improve the relationship between the police and our local communities," Council Member Brad Lander said in a statement.

NYC Council Takes Steps To Monitor Police Conduct In Wake Of Eric Garner Case

The council also will ask the NYPD's inspector general to review how whistle blowers are protected and how the department deals with "problem'' officers with poor track records.

"While improving police-community relations in New York City should include retraining police officers, much more must be done," Council Member Jumaane D. Williams said in a statement.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said he was "disgusted with the double talk coming out of this City Council."

"They praise police with words and then take actions that clearly demonstrate their true lack of support for the very people who protect them and make their communities safe," Lynch said in a statement. "Civilian complaints are not worth the paper they are written on because anyone can file the most baseless, sensational complaint without fear of penalty if their complaint is proven to be false."

Lynch said if the City Council wants to improve police-community relations, they should introduce a bill requiring complaints to be sworn under penalty of perjury.

"That will help to separate real complaints from flat our harassment of arresting officers," Lynch said.

Allegations of abuse of force, abuse of authority, offensive language and discourtesy are down this year, according to data by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The first half of 2014 saw a 5 percent increase, especially in abuse of authority reports, but since July when Garner died, complaints have dropped 26 percent, particularly with allegations of use of force. It was the largest decline since the complaint review board was convened in 1993.

Last week, complaint board chairman Richard Emery published on the website new city maps that break down complaints based on police precincts in the five boroughs.

He said it was an effort to make the agency's trove of data, usually buried in monthly reports, more accessible and easy to read. The maps are also broken down by allegations, like use of force and abuse of authority.

The information will be updated weekly.

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