NYPD’s Sex Crimes Division Faces An Investigation

Good morning. Today is Friday. We will be looking at a Justice Department civil rights investigation that will look at the Special Victims Division of the Police Department. We will also receive the latest updates on the Pennsylvania Station upgrade.

The Police Department’s special anti-victims division, the real-world sex crime unit mirrored by the TV series “Law & Order: SVU”, is the subject of an extensive federal investigation into “omissions” has “existed for more than a decade,” the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The department has long faced disturbing accusations from people who have reported assaults. Now, prosecutors in New York and Washington will investigate allegations that officers “failed to take basic investigative steps and instead shamed and mistreated survivors and survivors.” hurt them during the investigation”, according to judicial.

My colleagues Ashley Southall and Troy Closson writes that the federal investigation is the latest setback for the Police Department, which has been subject to decrees agreeing to administer the agency’s surveillance activities and quick stop action. And Letitia James, state attorney general, looking to appoint a supervisor to monitor changes in the way it handles protests for abuse during the social justice protests in George Floyd in 2020.

The Justice Department has announced its investigation – the first to focus on sexist claims since Merrick Garland became attorney general last year – 10 months after more than a dozen victims signed a letter calling for such an investigation. Many of them spoke of their experience with investigators who lacked sensitivity and the time to properly handle their cases, even after the #MeToo movement spurred a nationwide reckoning. on rape charges in 2017.

A few months later, the Police Department, which is facing scrutiny over its handling of sex crime allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, countered the findings of a 2018 report from City Bureau of Investigation. That report said that the Special Victims Division was “understaffed and under-resourced”.

City investigators also found that some detectives had ignored the victim’s story and that several cases of “acquaintance rape” had been sent to local wards, which had left liability. for follow-up work following an arrest with “county detectives not trained in investigating sex crimes.”

Police officials initially refused to accept many of the recommendations in that report, and while they later changed course, many of the proposed reforms have yet to pass.

Mary Haviland, former executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said the Justice Department investigation “must happen” and can only be conducted at the federal level.

“The NYPD has never taken responsibility for doing the right thing for victims of sexual assault,” she said. Police commissioners have for years “promised us that there would be change, but the efficiency of the department has declined.”

Keechant Sewell, the police commissioner, said in a statement on Thursday that she believes the Justice Department will find that the department is “developing and improving” its operations, adding that she set a goal for the sex crime department to become a “model nation.”

Max Young, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams, said in a separate statement that City Hall welcomes the review and will continue to take steps to “fix issues that have been taken over decades.” century”. He added, “There is no higher priority for law enforcement than ensuring that victims of sexual assault receive the justice they deserve and the care, support and treatment they deserve.” treatment they need.”


A sunny day is expected with lows in the 90s. Late at night, chance of showers and thunderstorms in places.


Valid until Monday (Independence Day).

Last year, after Governor Kathy Hochul of New York said that Pennsylvania Station should be named for New Yorkers rather than a “neighboring state,” someone on Twitter called it “If Hell there is hell”. As my colleague Patrick McGeehan wrote recently, Nearly everyone agrees that something needs to be done to fix the chaos (and possibly grimace and dirt) at the nation’s busiest transit hub. The question is, what? I asked him to update us on possible renovation plans.

Amtrak has just awarded a design contract for a $12 billion expansion project that requires the demolition of the entire Midtown Manhattan neighborhood, including a more than 150-year-old church. What does Amtrak want?

To add some tracks and platforms to Penn Station, to accommodate additional trains that will arrive via a new tunnel under the Hudson River. The tunnel will be built as part of the massive Gateway project being planned by Amtrak and transit agencies in New York and New Jersey.

If it is completed, the tunnel will double the number of trains that can cross the river between the two states.

Currently, there’s nowhere for those trains to go in New York City. Amtrak proposed building about eight tracks below the south block of the station. That block is filled with buildings, including Roman Catholic Church St. John the Baptistwhich will probably have to be demolished.

But a separate New York State plan has faced resistance from community leaders. What does the state want?

Amtrak’s expansion of Penn Station is believed to predate the station’s renovation. But Hochul, who called Penn Station a “hell hole,” didn’t want to wait. She urges renovations first, before expanding Amtrak.

Her plan, similar to that proposed by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, is to allow developers to build several super-tall towers around Penn Station in exchange for payments. help cover renovation costs. The plan has been met with opposition from community groups, who have questioned the need for office buildings and the viability of funding.

Are Amtrak and bang on the same page? Can opponents stop or stall Amtrak or state?

Amtrak’s main concern was completing the Gateway, so its operators agreed to New York’s insistence on fixing the station before expanding it. But both plans rely on some federal funding and are still subject to review by federal agencies. That process involves soliciting input from the public, so a large number of significant objections from community groups could still derail the plan.

How overloaded is Penn station?

Penn Station has long served more passengers than it was designed to handle. Its platforms and stairs were built decades ago when double-decker trains carried a lot of passengers. Before the pandemic, more than 600,000 people passed through the station every day of the week. Noisy commuters trying to get on the train home every evening are frustrating.

How soon can the renovations start and how much will they add to the daily headache of commuting through Penn Station?

The real work of the renovation will not begin for at least a year. By the time it starts, Penn station could be as busy as it was before the pandemic, and all the construction will have to be done while passengers are jostling on and off the train each day. In short, things will probably get worse before they get better.


Dear Diary:

Two summers ago, I was on a tourist’s visit to the Statue of Liberty when I started to feel overwhelmed.

On the return trip to Manhattan, instead of going sightseeing with my son, I snuck downstairs to take a nap, and the sound of the engine lulled me to sleep.

Andrew G. Raymond

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