Grantees investigate oversight of little-known police agency for shelters in New York City

A team of journalists reporting for MuckRock and New York Focus uncovered what happens when 'peace officers' misbehave — and how long their behavior can go unchecked. | Kelly Kauffman for MuckRock News

With support from the Fund, Sammy Sussman, Annika Grosser and Sanjana Bhambhani obtained disciplinary records of New York City’s Department of Homeless Services Police, a little-known law enforcement agency that uses non-lethal weapons to maintain security in city-owned shelters. For an investigation for Muck Rock and New York Focus, the team focused on 31 officers and found that a small number of them repeatedly reoffend: Three officers committed around a third of the total offenses. They also found that the lengthy disciplinary process — usually taking over six months for a formal suspension — allows officers to return to work even after injuring shelter residents to the point of hospitalization. In some cases, officers awaiting suspension committed additional misconduct.