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March 8, 2018

New York City police officer who filed fabricated complaints with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board dismissed from the department

New York City police officer who filed fabricated complaints with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board dismissed from the department
Artiles v Kelly, 2018 NY Slip Op 01435, Appellate Division, First Department

Wilkyn Artileswas terminated from his position as a New York City police officer after he was found guilty of impersonating four individuals to file false complaints with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board [CCRB], and making a false report of police corruption to the police department's Internal Affairs Bureau [IAB].

The Appellate Division found that substantial evidence supported the administrative disciplinary determination dismissing Artiles, which included he following findings:

1. The fabricated complaints filed with the CCRB were sent from an IP address corresponding to Artils' home, at a time when he was off-duty;

2. The IAB's report indicated that the claims Artiles had filed were unsubstantiated as the alleged victim denied the allegations.

The hearing officer's determination was also in accord with due process, having been made after a seven-day hearing, at which [Artiles] was represented by counsel and had the opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses, and at which 17 witnesses testified and 28 exhibits were introduced.

In the course of the disciplinary proceeding Artils complained that "one box of evidence was lost and could not be produced" and that a proposed witness, who had moved to another state, refused to testify despite being served with a subpoena. The Appellate Division, however, determined that the missing evidence related to a prior IAB investigation that was not the basis for the decision terminating Artils and "was relevant only insofar as it gave [Artils] a motive to make the false complaints." In addition, said the court, Artils' motive was corroborated by his own testimony, and by the testimony of several other police officers. The Appellate Division concluded that Artils' rights to due process had not been violated by the omission of this evidence.

Ruling that the penalty of dismissal is not disproportionate to Artils' "serious misconduct so as to shock the conscience," the court observed that "[i]n matters of police discipline, [courts] must accord great leeway to the Commissioner's determinations concerning appropriate punishment, because [the Commissioner] ... is accountable to the public for the integrity of the Department."

The decision is posted on the Internet at: