Alberta Spruill Hearing – January 22, 2021, 11 am Eastern

Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Alberta Spruill

SPEAKERS

  • Rapporteur Ria Julien
  • Commissioner Mr. Max Boqwana
  • Commissioner Judge Peter Herbert, OBE
  • Mr. Derek Sells, attorney for the estate of Alberta Spruill

Ria Julien  00:56

We now begin the hearing in the case of Alberta Spruill. My name is Ria Julian, and I’m the rapporteur for this hearing. Presiding over this hearing today is Commissioner Max Boqwana of South Africa, and Commissioner Peter Herbert of the UK and Kenya. The witness for this hearing is the attorney for the estate of Alberta Spruill. That is Mr. Derek Sells of the Cochran law firm. There will be 50 minutes for this hearing. The witness will testify followed by a period of questioning from the commissioners, I will call time at the 30 minute mark. And at the 45 minute mark, please excuse my interruptions. Commissioners Boqwana and Herbert. I now present to you your first witness, Derek Sells. Mr. Derek Sells, please confirm your name.

Derek Sells  01:45

Yes, it’s Derek Sells.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  01:48

Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Derek Sells  01:54

I do.

Ria Julien  01:55

You may begin.

Derek Sells  01:56

Hey, thank you. And good morning, commissioners. fellow panelists. I’m very privileged and proud to be here, speaking to you today, about my client, Alberta Spruill, the late Alberta Spruill. I want to give you a little bit of a background before I get into the facts of the case. But this is a case that I worked on with the late Johnnie Cochran Jr. of the, of the Cochran Firm. And so I was very honored and proud to to stand with him who was a great civil rights champion, someone who cared about people very, very deeply. I also want to talk a little bit about the background. Back in 2003, because this was a while ago, this was before we had cell phone videos of police brutality. This was at a time before there were body worn cameras. And so we had to, you know, prosecute, then these these types of cases much differently. Where we had to try and overcome certain prejudices that people held towards police where the police, you know, back then, their word was was not as questioned as it is today, at least by some. And so that brings us to New York City 2003. And the type of policing that was going on, that Michael Bloomberg was was the mayor. And there was a commissioner Ray Kelly, who implemented a series of, of police tactics known as stop and frisk, and broken windows policing, where individuals who were Black and brown primarily, would be stopped for no reason at all, frisked and questioned. And if some minor crime was found, or if there was probable cause for some minor crime, then people would be arrested mainly in Black and brown communities, with the hope that with these low level arrests, that individuals would be able to then provide information to lead to other arrests of maybe more substance.

This was a you know, a practice that that came into focus when when Bloomberg decided that he was going to run as a Democrat in the in the recent presidential Democratic primary, and he came under fire for, for these policies. And the Alberta Spruill case is a perfect example of that. Why, going back to December of 2000 to December 27 of 2002. There was an individual whose name has never been revealed, but who was arrested on a minor trespassing offense. He was stopped by police questioned, he was frisked, and they found a small amount of narcotics on him. He was charged, arrested with criminal trespass and possession of some narcotics. And he was given an opportunity to get a reduced sentence and a favorable plea, if he would simply provide information about higher level drug dealing that was going on. And so, this individual quickly took the opportunity. He was allowed to plead guilty simply to simple trespass. And he was given time served, which amounted to 12 hours in detention. Following that, he went to the 28th precinct, which is a police precinct in Manhattan, where he was going to provide information. He was given three dates in January of 2003, to meet with the officers in the 28th precinct, detectives in the 28th precinct to give the information that he was required to give, and he failed to show up.

Again, the next month in February of 2003, he was given three other dates, where he was supposed to show up in the 28th precinct.  And again, without explanation, or justification, he failed to show up. And so having missed six appointments, without explanation, he was deemed unreliable, and he was decertified as a police informant. The police in the 28th precinct, however, did not put this information into the system, whatever the system was back then, that would alert other police precincts that this individual was no longer certified as a confidential informant because he was deemed unreliable. The 28th precinct turned away this informant the next time that he tried to make contact with them. So he instead went to another Manhattan based precinct, the 25th precinct, where they accepted him with open arms, not knowing, not caring about the fact that he had been decertified and deemed unreliable. And in late April, early May of 2003, detectives from the 25th precinct met with this individual and got information from him that they determined was reliable. How they determine it was reliable? I’m not sure because they did nothing to ensure that the information he gave them was reliable. This information that he gave was that there was an individual named Melvin Boswell who was heavily armed and was a drug dealer, someone who was dealing drugs out of apartment 6F at 310 West 143rd Street and that he was armed and dangerous individual and that they should do something about it, essentially. Now, the police, they didn’t try and locate Melvin Boswell in their system. They didn’t check to see who lived at apartment 6F at 310 W. 143rd Street. Instead, they went to the Manhattan district attorney’s office and they got a district attorney there to have this unreliable confidential informant fill out a warrant, what’s called a no knock warrant to get into apartments 6F at 310 W. 143rd Street.

Just to give you some legal background with regard to the Fourth Amendment, and in New York, police are allowed to conduct searches of individuals homes, provided that they are able to show probable cause meaning that there’s some basis some legal basis to believe that criminal activity has taken place in a particular place, particular home. A judge is then provided with this affidavit. And if the judge is satisfied with the affidavit, then the judge will sign it. And it gives a legal basis for police to then enter a home and conduct a search. Most searches are required to be done with what’s called a knock and announce, which means that with armed with a legal search warrant, police go to a home and they knock on the door. And they announce their purpose. In order to get a no knock on the police and prosecutors are required to show the additional proof that not only was there probable cause, but also that the individual who whose places that they wanted to search presented a danger such that by knocking and announcing presence, it would put their lives in jeopardy.

And so with this unreliable confidential informant, the police and the prosecutors went to a judge in Manhattan, they had the the this unreliable person swear on an affidavit to the effect that Melvin Boswell resided in, you know this apartment 6F at 310 W. 143rd Street, and that he would be someone who was armed and dangerous and would therefore require that this be a no knock warrant. The judge signed off on it. Now had the prosecutor had the police done just a simple check. They would have realized that living at 6F at 310 W. 143rd Street was my client, Alberta Spruill, a 57 year old woman with a heart condition. Someone who had worked her whole professional life for the city of New York in their administration services. She’s someone who lives alone. Someone who is law abiding, someone who had no connection to any illegal activity, let alone drugs. Had they done another simple check on Melvin Boswell, they had checked their own records, they would have learned that Melvin Boswell was in prison, that he was incarcerated for months before this unreliable informant told them his name and the false address of where he lives. Melvin Boswell was put in jail by the same prosecutors that asked this judge to swear out or to sign a search warrant. A no-knock search warrant. The police, the NYPD were the same police that arrested and incarcerated Melvin Boswell. And so at the time that this all happened. Alberto Spruill lived in the apartment that the police would then enter with a no knock warrant. And Melvin Boswell was locked up. He was, he was not in possession of any guns or drugs.

But in any event, the judge signed off on the warrant The police on May 16 2003, at a little past 6am broke into Ms. Spruill’s apartment. They knocked the door off its hinges. They threw in a stun grenade, which is a percussion grenade so that it makes a loud flash and a bang. They sometimes they’re called flashbang grenades. Ms. Spruill at the time was getting prepared to go to work. She rode the same bus to work every morning. She was getting prepared for that when the police came busting through. And these police officers were armed to the teeth. They did not announce their presence. They simply kicked her door and threw in a flash grenade came busting in with their guns drawn. Ms. Spruill was thrown to the floor. She was violently handcuffed so violently, that in the autopsy that followed her death, it was shown that blood vessels had burst in her shoulders when Ms. Spruill was knocked to the ground. And when the police went in, instead of finding some drugs, then what they found was a neat, tidy apartment of a older woman who lived alone. When they realized by the time they realized their mistake, Ms. Spruill was in pain, she could not catch her breath. She was frightened. The police then got EMS to come to the scene.

She was taken to the hospital. And 20 minutes later, she was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest. The autopsy that followed indicated that her death was caused by a police raid, including the flashbang stun grenades, as well as being thrown to the floor. It over, it overcame her and affected her heart such that it stopped and she died at 57 years old. And so following her death and I, along with with Johnnie Cochran met with with her family. She had a son. She had two sisters. And we brought a case against the city of New York, the police department as well as the the Office of the Manhattan district attorney for their gross failures in this case. We alleged that her constitutional rights were violated. As well as the fact that there was negligence on the part of both the DA’s office and the city’s police department and the way that they conducted this raid and in the way that they killed Ms. Spruill.

And in terms of the racial aspect to this case, it’s very clear that had Mr. Boswell, I’m sorry I had the confidential informant not pinpointed Mr. Boswell, who lived in you know a New York City housing complex. But instead, had he pointed to a rich white person who lived in the Carhartt mansion in the Upper West Side of New York, that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the police department would have certainly done a much more thorough background check before they came busting the door and throwing flashbang grenades. And so this was clearly a case in our view, where race played a significant role in the misconduct that occurred. Race played a role in the stop and frisk of this confidential informant that initiated the conduct that led to Ms. Spruill’s death. Race played a role in the fact that the police did not do any background check, or the prosecutors did not do any background check on the validity not only of the confidential informant, but also of the location where they were going to go in without knocking and announcing. And so, as a result, an innocent African American woman who worked for the same city that the prosecutors and the police department folks work for, ended up dead. And so with that, I’m willing to answer any questions that you might have.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  20:57

Thank you, Mr. Sells. for your testimony. I’d like to turn it over to the commissioners now.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  21:04

Max, would you’d like to go first?

Max Boqwana  21:07

Yes, thank thank you very much, Peter. And and thanks, Derek, for for that concise presentation. And is it your view that in relative poverty, and racial segregation, and in this instance, racial profiling is the main driver that led to the death of Ms. Spruill? Because it’s quite, it’s quite interesting that this case, different from other cases gives a different perspective, where mainly the police brutality is meted out against young male African Americans, where it’s very easy to say they were threatening violence against the police, or they are running a criminal syndicate, etc. But this one is a very different one, there is no way that this woman was posing any danger to them. So my real question is that this is, in your view, is this a classical case of racial profiling, compounded by the poverty and segregated status of African Americans?

Derek Sells  22:25

You ask a very good question, Commissioner. I do believe it it has, it is nuanced, only only because when the police finally got into the apartment, they realize their mistake. But what they what they what the profiling was, initially, the confidential informant was racially profiled, he was stopped and frisked. So that was one aspect that led to what ultimately happened. The next it’s, I don’t know if it’s a racial profiling. But it’s just the the, the belief that is rooted in so many law enforcement personnel, then when you’re talking about an African American male, which in this case happened to be someone by the name of Melvin Boswell. It’s like this, like, it’s just assumed that it’s true. It’s assumed that it’s true. And so that there was no, absolutely no investigation to confirm the truth of it. It was just believed and so when the police went into Ms. Spruill’s apartment, they didn’t go in there thinking that they were going to see Ms. Spruill, they didn’t think they were going to see a 57 year old, single woman, what they believed was that they were going to confront an African American stereotypical, you know, drug dealing gunslinging male, and that’s what they were prepared to do. And so when Ms. Spruill happened to be there, she was treated as if she was part of his crew. And she was thrown to the ground, she was violently handcuffed even before they couldn’t figure out what really was going on. And so yes, even though the ultimate victim in this case, was a 57 year old, African American woman, the target was individual, a stereotypical individual who the police believed, was a Black male gunslinger and drug dealer. The fact that he was in jail already did not matter, because they believed what the narrative was, Black male gunslinging drug dealer. So I hope I’ve answered your question, but I don’t see any difference other than the fact that at the end of the day the police were mistaken in their belief that they were dealing with an African American male.

Max Boqwana  25:36

Thanks.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  25:38

Thank you. I just before I ask my question, Mr. Sells, I think you will probably know that Johnnie Cochran, the late Johnnie Cochran and his firm came to the United Kingdom in the summer of 1995, and made an enormous contribution in the race for justice conference, where we paralleled and raised together with Middleton Grounds and the National Bar Association, many of the issues that you’re currently talking about this evening, very tragic issues. And then actually, at the end of the OJ Simpson trial, he went to meet Nelson Mandela. And that was, I think, the first occasion after those 12 months, as the being an international, one of the most and probably the most well renowned legal brain and advocate in the world. He went in to have that discussion with Nelson Mandela. So I think I just wanted to draw that link, drawing back on our history from 1995. And I obviously commend your firm as well and in yourself for the brilliant work that you’re doing.

That having been said, the question I wanted to pose this is this is that these circumstances are almost exactly parallel throughout the pan African diaspora. About a year ago, we got a call from a family in East London in his Islington, where the former Prime Minister Tony Blair used to live. And there was a very similar raid committed by British police officers, Metropolitan Police officers, where there was an 81 year old woman who had a door kicked in on the basis of wrongful information from a Black informer, completely bogus, that it was a place where, which was selling and hard drugs, cocaine, heroin, and the like, that, they may expect some armed resistance. And exactly apart from the stun grenade, the same scenario took place, the lady had a heart attack, she survived, luckily enough. Her daughter, who was also on the premises, was a Church of England minister. And so the wherever we have our diaspora, we have the same appalling levels of incompetence and racism. And certainly when we met the family, we knew that there would have been double, triple treble checks, if they thought for the for one minute that this person was white. And it was a stark as that and I wanted to ask you this follow up question.

Given that synergy, for want of a better word between what happens to our diaspora all over the world and stepping back for a moment? Is it not really time that whether it’s in Canada or Brazil, or the United Kingdom, or Germany or France or Spain or Italy, where exactly the same things occur? We really need to internationalize this debate, our learning, our policies, and hold these governments to the highest possible international standards so that they do not escape, in a sense behind the latest right wing violence, or supposed terrorist attack from the Middle East. and bury this in the good news that they supposedly tell us about, that we’re experiencing from time to time. I just wanted to have your view on that. And secondly, in relation to the question I raised earlier in the week, is there not a possibility now and should there not be something canvassed to be able to have private prosecutions mounted against police officers and law enforcement? Because for me there is,  if the system fails in the United States, if the attorney general, if the district attorney decides not to prosecute, you’ve got nowhere to go but a claim for damages. And just viewed from over the water, it seems a real lacuna in the law in the US. And I’m not saying the law in the United Kingdom is perfect by any means. But at least sometimes citizens, whether it’s a domestic, DV, case or an assault, we can mount a private prosecution. If the state fails, we do it ourselves.

Derek Sells  29:45

Right. Now, you raised a couple of very important points, Commissioner and, you know, with regard to your first point, absolutely. I believe that police misconduct, law enforcement misconduct has to be addressed. on a global level, as well as on a local level. And I think that in order for policing to change, there must be as much pressure mounted on on those officers who commit wrongs against individuals as possible. And if it comes from, you know, an international tribunal, whether it comes from a local tribunal, something needs to happen in order for this to change. Now, what the second question that you posed about how to hold law enforcement officers as well as prosecutors who violate people’s rights, how to hold them accountable is an important question. Right now, prosecutors are shielded, as well as law enforcement officers, they’re shielded by, by various immunities, that — At least in the United States, there is qualified immunity, which is a defense that is raised often by police officers, especially where they are essentially allowed to violate people’s rights, as long as they believe that their actions are otherwise justified, and and not unconstitutional. So in a situation like this, where the police officers who executed the warrant, weren’t the ones that secured the warrant, they weren’t the ones that went to the judge their actions were essentially, you know, it could be justified from a legal standpoint, because arguably, they acted with the belief that they were going into a dangerous situation. And so the steps that they took, would be protected legally. And it would be for the prosecutor and whoever the police officer was that that secured the warrant and didn’t check to see whether or not it was accurate, or reliable.

 

Derek Sells  32:20

They would be the ones who really would have the finger and should have the finger pointed at that. But under our system right now, other than the lawsuit that we brought, there’s no way to hold them accountable. Again, because they’re shielded by, by immunity in terms of any type of criminal charges being leveled against them, even though this, in my view, amounts to gross and utter negligence. There’s nothing more that can be done other than for them to be sued. And so how do we how do we address that? How do we make it so that police officers and prosecutors who are in a similar situation, how do we make sure that they will actually do the work that they’re required to do in order to protect people’s lives? My response to that is that we have to hold them financially responsible, that where there is a violation of rights, that it shouldn’t be just on the taxpayers to pay for the damages that they cause. You know, there’s there’s this whole thing, this whole blue wall of silence, that that, you know, they call it the thin blue line, the blue wall of silence with police officers and law enforcement, prosecutors, they stick together to try and protect themselves from harm when they do wrong. And even though there’s probably only like, you know, a handful of really bad apples out there. What corrupts the police department is the fact that these police officers, these, these, these bad apples are all known throughout the department and the other officers who otherwise would be considered decent, law abiding officers. They pull themselves down into the muck because they do not speak out, they do not reveal the harms that these bad apples do. Instead, they’re shamed by the police unions and others. They’re shamed into, you know, toeing the line, and protecting those that commit wrongs.

And we need to change that. And I think one of the ways that we can do that is by making, you know, law enforcement responsible for paying for the damages that they cause. You know, there’s a big police pension fund, a huge one here in New York, where, you know, police officers, they pay into it, you know, the unions, they have all these pension funds that are enormous. And if there was some way that where there was a police wrong that was done. And, you know, the police officer or what have you was found to be responsible for some violation of a person’s rights, then it should, you know, it should come out of the police pension fund. And unless there’s another officer who steps up and says, you know, what, he’s the one that did it. It was a wrong, they come, you know, and they reveal it before it gets to this point, then maybe, you know, there could be some way to, to shield the fund, but there has to be some financial incentive, in my view, to require that that would, that would compel police officers to do the right thing, number one, and if they don’t do the right thing, then there should be a motivation for those officers that witness the wrong to come forward. Right now, there is no such mechanism. And police officers are not held really responsible for paying for their own harms, at least not in New York. You know, there’s a deal between the police unions and the city of New York, that police officers who do wrong can be indemnified by the City of New York, by the taxpayers to pay for their — for their unconstitutional acts. And that’s good in one sense, because, you know, it allows for those victims of police misconduct to be to be compensated. But it does not serve the purpose of motivating police officers to do the right thing. And so I think that there has to be some type of financial component that would compel officers to do the right thing.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  37:04

Thank you.

Ria Julien  37:06

I would just like to call time so far, it’s 10:37. At this point, we have 23, rather, we have 13 minutes left in the hearing.

Max Boqwana  37:16

Thanks, Ria. Thank you very much for your your clear explanation. I just want to check Who must hold this police accountable and why up until this stage, and that is not happening. And we here dealing with a systemic problem, which is a poisonous coalition between the political system, the judiciary and the prosecutorial system. And in this instance, beyond the individual police, but to include the unions, so that they all protect, provide the cover that would make sure that these police have no incentive of doing the right thing.

Derek Sells  38:02

Right. Yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, the system is. It’s, it’s, that’s the way that the system actually operates. Right? It’s, you know, we look at it, like, if you look at the system, and I’m talking about here in New York, and I guess in most other places, you know, it’s supposed to operate separately, like you’re supposed to have the judiciary, right, the judges, then you’re supposed to have the prosecutors, then you’re supposed to have the police officers, they’re all supposed to be independent and not, you know, working, working together. But in practice, what happens is that, you know, the same prosecutors see the same judges who see the same police officers on a daily basis. And as a result, this, this familiarity occurs where, you know, it’s no longer, you know, an independent operating system. You know, it’s all interconnected. The judges rely upon the prosecutors to keep their case, the case levels, manageable. They rely on the prosecutors so that they don’t have to be overworked. The prosecutors have to rely on the police officers so that they can get the paperwork done, so that they can get the hearings done, so that the police officers can be witnesses, they can bring in witnesses. And so there’s this whole system where they become very familiar with one another and they become codependent on one another. And so when one, you know, is charged or possibly charged with looking at the conduct of another, for example, where a police officer is alleged to have committed some type of crime and it’s incumbent upon the prosecutor to review the facts that surround that potential crime, you know, there’s going to be a blind eye turned.

Derek Sells  40:08

And often, in many cases, where the police officer is not going to not going to face charges, simply because they’re familiar to the prosecutors. Oh, he’s a good guy, I’m not, you know, I’m not, I don’t believe that witness, I’m not gonna believe that witness, we’re not going to charge this police officer. Similarly, if there’s misconduct on the part of a prosecutor that’s brought to the attention of a judge, the judge is going to be, you know, hesitant to, to take it to the next level. Because oftentimes, in cases where there’s attorney misconduct alleged, it’s incumbent upon a judge, to review that allegation of misconduct. And so I think that part of it has to change, there needs to be an independent body, an independent prosecutorial body that will go after misbehaving prosecutors, misbehaving police officers, and in cases where the judge is involved, misbehaving judges, so that we can be assured that there will be a neutral body to evaluate those claims of misconduct. And I think if we can get to that point, and we take it seriously enough, so that we go after the people that are in law enforcement, then we can have a cultural change in that regard.

Max Boqwana  41:35

Thanks, Derek.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  41:38

I just wanted to ask, and I’m not sure if you have the answer off the top of your head. But are there any statistics which appear on the scale or lack of it, of involvement of African American police officers themselves? I know that somewhere at the scene with Eric Garner, I know that there were some officers of color that were responsible in the cases that we’ve heard. But what I don’t have is an overall picture of to what extent the presence or otherwise of African Americans within police forces has had a beneficial effect, either not at all, or only marginal effect, given the statistics, either in California, or in the US as a whole?

Derek Sells  42:21

Yeah, that’s a good question. I, you know, I don’t know what the statistics are. But I think what you’re touching upon is a very important point. And I think the point and you’re touching upon is something that that I refer to, and it’s commonly referred to as community policing. Right? So community policing, has a definition in New York, where the police officers who are assigned to a particular community are supposed to live in that community. Right. And so it could be that, you know, if there’s a police officer, who is assigned to patrol, let’s say, in the Bronx, New York, then that officer is required to live in the county of the Bronx. Now, I have a problem with that definition of community policing. Because it could be that that police officer who’s assigned to live, you know, and patrol the Bronx, he might have come from, you know, a community out in Long Island somewhere. Where, you know, you might have a white police officer assigned to a predominantly black community in the Bronx or Hispanic community in the Bronx. But simply by moving him from, let’s say, Suffolk County, and placing him in the Bronx, is not gonna make him more familiar with the people from the Bronx that he’s assigned to patrol. What I would prefer, is I think what you’re talking about, where if you want to have a better protection of civilians, from police brutality, then you need to have police officers who actually grew up and lived in the community, that they are now asked to patrol. If you have an individual, let’s say, who is from, you know, a particular housing project, let’s say that they’re supposed to patrol in the Bronx, and you actually recruit individuals. If, you know, the NYPD actually recruited individuals from that housing project and made them police officers for that housing project, then we would have a lot better and safer. interaction between police and the community, I say that because if the police officer who is going to police his own community, if they know the individuals, and they’ve grown up with them, then they have a better way of being able to de-escalate situations. If they know an individual who, let’s say, is having a bad day, as opposed to who is just, you know, completely violent, then they would have a better way of talking and communicating with that individual and not have to resort to, you know, a use of force, a gun or, you know, a taser or what have you, because they know the individual, and they know how to how to, you know, de-escalate or they might know what, what’s going on with individual. So I think if we were able to do that, when we could get more police officers from the community in which they live to police their own community, then we would we would have a much safer system.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  46:12

We just have three minutes remaining in the hearing if there is a final question from the commissioners.

Max Boqwana  46:22

I think he has covered it properly. Unless Peter has got the last question.

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE  46:30

Um, I think the what I in a sense, would would like to see if it’s feasible, is a national U.S, database, kept by civil society, of police officers who are guilty of misconduct, that that be shared and posted. And I hear the difficulties that might bring about legal action. But that can be outsourced. I mean, there must be a way that if the government of the United States will not protect the communities, and will allow police officers to act with impunity, then the international progressive and pan-African community must be able to highlight those people on a database and hold them to account. And, that especially with the power of social media, I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of, of our technical ability within our communities all over the world, whether they’re Brazilian, or whether in the United Kingdom, or Germany, or Sweden or France, the stories are dreadfully similar. And clearly, yes, the United States and maybe Brazil has the largest number of killings. But really, this should be these days, their faces should be on some gallery, rogues gallery, if you like. And that’s what I would dearly like to see even if that is takes a year or two to organize, but it must be done.

Derek Sells  47:53

Well, you raise a great point. And I am so lucky. My wife, Nina Malik, she used to be the head of CCRB here in New York, she was the head of the CCRB. And one of the things that she implemented while she was there was a data transparency initiative, where she kept the database, she wanted to keep a database of, of just what you’re talking about, you know, so that so that it would be transparent, what officers have had the most allegations against them, and thereby allowing for, you know, a red flag to show up, where, you know, the same officers keep coming out with the same charges. And so even if it’s a situation where, you know, an officer has been exonerated, from certain, you know, charges, whether it be because a witness was intimidated and didn’t come forward, or because a witness, you know, at some point did not follow through what was required, that the allegations against the officer would trigger a red flag so that you would know who the bad apples are. And I think that is something that could be done locally. And then the local information could be shared in a more global fashion. And I think we could achieve what it is that you’re talking about.

Ria Julien  49:24

Thank you, Mr. Sells. This concludes the hearing. This concludes the hearing in the case of Alberto Spruill. We will now have a short break hearings will resume on the hour with the case of Jason Harrison. Thank you very much.

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