July 24, 2020

Evaluating the credibility of testimony given at a disciplinary hearing

Three New York City correction officers were served with disciplinary charges alleging that each had submitted false or misleading reports concerning retaliatory force used by a captain against an inmate. 

New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings [OATH] Administrative Law Judge Astrid B. Gloade found that two of the correction officers were in positions whereby they were able to observe the use of force by the captain and did not credit their claims that they did not witness the event. 

The third correction officer testified that he did not include the captain's use of force in his report because the inmate was able to prevent the captain's blows "from landing." Judge Gloade rejected the third correction officer's explanation, finding that the New York City Department of Correction’s "Use of Force Directive" requires that an attempted use of force by another officer on an inmate be reported regardless of whether the attempted use of force against the inmate was successful or not. 

The ALJ found that the three correction officers' failure to include the captain’s use of force  on an inmate in their respective incident reports rendered their reports incomplete and inaccurate and recommended that each officer be suspended without pay for 15 days as the disciplinary penalty to be imposed for their filing incomplete and inaccurate reports of the event. 

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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