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Feds are investigating NYPD Special Victims Division in NYC, DOJ says

Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation by the NYPD’s Special Victims Division to probe whether the embattled sex crimes unit was involved in a “pattern or practice” of gender-biased policing, it was announced Thursday.

Investigators will investigate reported systemic problems with the department in the country’s largest police force that have persisted for more than a decade, the Justice Department said in a news release.

“The department received information regarding alleged deficiencies in SVD, which have existed for more than a decade and deprive survivors and the public of the prompt, thorough and effective investigations needed to protect public safety,” officials said.

“These shortcomings allegedly include failing to perform basic investigative steps and instead embarrassing and abusing survivors and re-traumatizing them during investigations,” they added.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell address the media at the scene of a shooting involving a 20-year-old woman who was shot in the head while she was carrying a child in the E. 95th St. between Third Avenue and Lexington Avenue and was declared deceased.
Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell have pledged to cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation.
Daniel William McKnight
Breon Peace, the EDNY's US Attorney, alleged that the NYPD's Special Victims Division was suffering "historical problems."
Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, claimed the NYPD’s Special Victims Division suffers from “historic problems.”
AP Photo/John Minchillo
The NYPD Special Victims Division office in the East Village, Manhattan.
The NYPD Special Victims Division office in the East Village, Manhattan.
Paul Martinka

The investigation comes nearly a year after more than a dozen New York City sexual assault survivors wrote a letter to the DOJ urging it to investigate the embattled division.

“Because we wanted to protect others from the kind of harm we suffered and to seek justice for ourselves, we reported our attacks to the NYPD,” the letter, signed by 19 people, reads.

“We expected that the well-funded, technologically advanced police department in the country’s largest city would respond to our attacks with professionalism and with thorough, skillful, truth-seeking investigations,” the letter said.

Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women, called out alleged abuse at the NYPD's Special Victims Unit.
Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women, called out allegations of abuse in the NYPD’s Special Victims Division.
Taidgh Barron

“What we experienced was the opposite.”

Jane Manning, a former sex crimes prosecutor who helped organize the letter last year, told The Post on Thursday that the probe was a “victory” for sex crimes survivors.

“Today, the Justice Department is siding with equal protection for sexual assault survivors. This is a victory for survivors, for women and for fair justice. Above all, this is a victory for the brave survivors who have spoken out about their abysmal mistreatment by the NYPD,” she said.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, addresses the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and market manipulation matters during a news conference at the Department of Justice Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, claimed the NYPD’s Special Victims Division failed to conduct “an impartial investigation.”
AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

The investigation is being conducted jointly by investigators from the Southern and Eastern counties of New York and the Special Litigation Division of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

“Sex crime victims deserve the same rigorous and impartial investigations into their cases that the NYPD accords to other categories of crimes,” Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, said in a statement.

“Over the past several months, we have received historical information from a variety of sources about how the Special Victims Division has been conducting its investigations for many years,” added Breon Peace, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District.

Women's rights activists previously called on then-Mayor Bill de Blasio to reform the NYPD's Special Victims Division on March 2, 2020.
Women’s rights activists previously called on then-Mayor Bill de Blasio to reform the NYPD’s Special Victims Division on March 2, 2020.
Taidgh Barron

The NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but federal authorities said they had alerted Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Mayor Eric Adams, who pledged to cooperate in the investigation.

https://nypost.com/2022/06/30/feds-probing-nypd-special-victims-division-in-nyc-doj-says/ Feds are investigating NYPD Special Victims Division in NYC, DOJ says

JACLYN DIAZ

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