At his first public board meeting Tuesday, Richard Emery, the recently appointed chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, found himself in the position of having to defend his vision to prioritize certain complaints and help solve them more quickly.
Several members of the public in attendance criticized Emery and the CCRB for a lack of drive to make lasting change.
"We feel a sense of anguish because too many years have passed and the problem goes on and on," said Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition. "So that's your challenge. I hope I don't have to come here next year with the same criticism that CCRB has been... lackadaisical, inefficient, it's been inept."
Emery, who was recently appointed to his post by the mayor, stressed the need for the CCRB to address any instances of misconduct, but to do so responsibly without making any judgment on culpability until the case is concluded. If this does not occur, Emery said, "the polarization will get worse."
He said he would encourage mediation as an option to solve complaints. An investigation into more than 1,100 chokehold complaints over a four-year period is still underway, he said.