New York, NY – The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) is mad because the New York Police Department (NYPD) gave a veteran sergeant a 10-day penalty after it had recommended twice as much.
NYPD Sergeant David Grieco was accused of having stopped an Uber driver unlawfully on Jan. 17, 2018 in the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn, the New York Daily News reported.
The Uber driver – 25-year-old Nash Martin – complained that Sgt. Grieco had claimed to smell marijuana in the car and asked him if he was afraid of his two passengers.
Officers searched the vehicle and Martin’s passengers and didn’t find any contraband, and they were released without being issued any citations, the New York Daily News reported.
A video of the incident provided to CCRB didn’t clearly show the officer who made the stop but the civilian panel prosecuted Sgt. Grieco anyway.
Sgt. Grieco testified that he didn’t think he was the officer in the video, the New York Daily News reported.
“I don’t believe that’s me,” he said at the hearing.
The sergeant said that one of the other officers under his command had probably used his unmarked police vehicle after he left for the night, the New York Daily News reported.
But Martin testified that Sgt. Grieco – who has the nickname “Bullethead” – was the officer who stopped him that day and the judge believed him.
Judge Josh Kleiman found Sgt. Grieco guilty of having made an unlawful vehicle stop, the New York Daily News reported.
CCRB recommended that the sergeant should lose 20 vacation days for his misdeed.
But on June 29, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea approved a 10-day penalty for Sgt. Grieco, in accordance with NYPD’s new disciplinary matrix, the New York Daily News reported.
CCRB was outraged and claimed that the matrix called for Sgt. Grieco to be penalized for twice as long, so they took their case to the media.
“The CCRB believes that the NYPD’s disciplinary matrix is made less effective if the disciplinary system fails to adhere to it,” it said in a statement. “Furthermore, the CCRB believes it proved that there were several aggravating factors, including Sgt. Grieco’s rank, that warrant the imposition of an aggravated penalty.”
NYPD disagreed and said the 10-day penalty was “is in line with the discipline matrix,” the New York Daily News reported.
The guidelines for calculating discipline using the matrix are in a 57-page guidebook.
“Presumptive penalties can be adjusted based on mitigating or aggravating factors,” NYPD Sergeant Jessica McRorie told the New York Daily News.
Sgt. Grieco, a 15 year veteran of the police force, has been the recipient of at least 80 medals during his career.
Records showed he has also received at least 69 CCRB complaints, 12 of which were substantiated as legitimate, the New York Daily News reported.
New York City has paid out more than $600,000 in settlements related to complaints against Sgt. Grieco, which have included allegations about improper use of force, police department records showed.
NYPD called Sgt. Grieco an active police officer who is effective at taking guns off the street, the New York Daily News reported.
An NYPD officer told The Police Tribune that CCRB’s push for a harsher penalty against the veteran officer and the statement it released to the media showed what the group was really about.
“CCRB is showing their hand,” the officer said. “They’ve given it up that they’re not an impartial agency like they’re supposed to be.”
“They don’t really want fairness, they want as much blood as they can get. If they don’t like it, they’ll go to the media and try to fight us in the court of public opinion,” he added.