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Report: 10 Of 1,100 NYPD Chokehold Complaints Substantiated Over Last 5 Years

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD protects cops by altering the definition of a chokehold and only prosecutes the most serious cases, according to a scathing report by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which was leaked to the New York Post.

The report said that only 10 cases out of 1,100 complaints were substantiated over the past 5 1/2 years. The worst discipline dished out was the loss of 10 vacation days, according to the report.

The CCRB calls for better training, discipline and tracking of problem cops.

Report: 10 Of 1,100 NYPD Chokehold Complaints Substantiated

The 120-page report is set to be released this week.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, dismissed the findings.

"Any report based on unsworn, unsubstantiated and poorly investigated complaints that were filed by criminals is totally meaningless," he told the Post.

The report comes in the wake of the July death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner in police custody.

Report: 10 Of 1,100 NYPD Chokehold Complaints Substantiated

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died after he had been stopped by police for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

In cellphone video of the incident, an officer is seen placing his arm around Garner's neck in a chokehold and then taking him to the ground after Garner refuses to be handcuffed.

Garner is heard saying repeatedly, "I can't breathe!"

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who was seen on video placing Garner in the apparent chokehold, and another unidentified officer were placed on modified reassignment pending the outcome of the case.

Four emergency workers were suspended without pay pending an investigation.

The medical examiner's office ruled Garner's death a homicide, caused by the officer's chokehold as well chest and neck compressions and prone positioning "during physical restraint by police." Asthma, heart disease and obesity were contributing factors, the medical examiner said.

A grand jury is weighing evidence in the case.

Chokeholds are banned by the NYPD, but allowed under state law.

At a rally on Staten Island on Saturday, many retired police officers defended the officer who took down Garner.

"He went to work that day, and all of a sudden, he's going before grand juries ... (and) they have to surround his house," Bud Harrington told 1010 WINS' Roger Stern. "What kind of crap is that?"

"That was not a chokehold," another ex-cop said. "You're fighting -- a 165-pound guy fighting a 340-pound guy. You take him down the best way you could."

But at a different rally in Brooklyn, protesters complained about police tactics.

"They don't treat us as human," a woman said. "They think we're animal. No, it doesn't work like that."

"Confidence and trust are ruptured," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y. "That is wrong. They have to fix it."

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