NYPD cops won’t face discipline for misconduct during George Floyd protests

Nine cops, including an NYPD deputy chief, will not face any consequences for their misconduct during the George Floyd protests — despite the police watchdog finding sustaining allegations against the cops, records show.

Outgoing Police Commissioner Dermot Shea recently broke with Civilian Complaint Review Board, imposing no discipline for five cops who were found to have used improper force during the demonstrations last year.

Those let off the hook including Deputy Chief James McCarthy, who is assigned Patrol Borough of Manhattan North, who was faced with second-tier command discipline for improperly using pepper spray, records show.

Three other cops avoided discipline by resigning from the force before the top cop decided on their case.

Another cop was let off the hook from a five-day suspension for refusing to provide his name, the records show.

Deputy Police Chief James McCarthy will not be punished for having inappropriately used pepper spray. Other officers escaped discipline by resigning from the force.

The commissioner also broke with the board on Officer Robert Rufrano in ordering training instead of the lowest level of discipline, a loss of five days, for improperly seizing somebody’s property.

News of the deviations in discipline by Shea, who has only just over a week left in the department, was revealed in the CCRB’s update to the protest investigations.

The NYPD police commissioner is required by the City Charter to provide the agency with a letter when they downgrade any sustained charges with the reasoning and post the letter online.

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea made the decision with little more than one week left in his tenure.
Stephen Yang

No letters have been published on the NYPD’s website involving cops from the protests.

CCRB Chair Fred Davie railed against the lack of discipline, saying “This is another example of why the CCRB should have final authority over CCRB cases.”

“While the CCRB has substantiated 36% of all fully investigated cases, NYPD has not imposed discipline in 9 of the 12 cases they have finalized,” Davie said. “If this continues, the CCRB’s work to increase accountability for the people of New York will be nullified.”

CCRB Chair Rev. Fred Davie
CCRB Chair Rev. Fred Davie criticized Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s decision to break with the board, and said the CCRB should have final say.
Erik Thomas/NY Post

Deputy Commissioner of Public Information John Miller defended the no-discipline decisions, saying “each matter must be looked at individually.”

“These decisions were based on common sense,” Miller said. He claimed that McCarthy, as well as three other cops who were cleared by commish, used their pepper spray on May 31, 2020, while “being pelted with bottles and other objects by a crowd that was screaming epithets and threats while closing in.”

Shea did agree with the agency on two cases, docking one cop 10 vacation days and another five days.

The cop who lost vacation days, Officer Craig McGrath, also faced an internal affairs probe for hitting a protester with a car door in Brooklyn.

Sixty-nine cops still face discipline for various sustained allegations from the protests.

George Floyd Protest
In two other cases Shea acted in accordance with the CCRB, docking vacation days from two officers, one of whom, Craig McGrath, is under investigation for hitting a protester with a car door.
Getty Images

In total, the review board has sustained charges against 80 officers stemming from 318 complaints. Eleven officers were exonerated, 31 cases were deemed unsubstantiated and four were unfounded.

Fifty-three officers could not be identified, causing the investigator to close the case.

The agency still has 80 cases open with 20 awaiting the officer to sit down with investigators.