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This entry was published on 2021-04-09
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SECTION 70-B
Office of special investigation
Executive (EXC) CHAPTER 18, ARTICLE 5
§ 70-b. Office of special investigation. 1. There shall be established
within the office of the attorney general an office of special
investigation. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the office of
special investigation shall investigate and, if warranted, prosecute any
alleged criminal offense or offenses committed by a person, whether or
not formally on duty, who is a police officer, as defined in subdivision
thirty-four of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, or a peace
officer as defined in section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law,
provided that such peace officer is employed or contracted by an
education, public health, social service, parks, housing or corrections
agency, or is a peace officer as defined in subdivision twenty-five of
section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law, concerning any incident in
which the death of a person, whether in custody or not, is caused by an
act or omission of such police officer or peace officer or in which the
attorney general determines there is a question as to whether the death
was in fact caused by an act or omission of such police officer or peace
officer.

2. The attorney general has investigative authority and criminal
jurisdiction under this section at the time of the death of the person
and the attorney general retains investigative authority and criminal
jurisdiction over the incident unless the attorney general determines
that such incident does not meet the requirements of this section. If
the attorney general determines the incident does not meet the
requirements for the attorney general to have investigative authority
and criminal jurisdiction pursuant to this section, the attorney general
shall, as soon as practicable, provide written notice of such
determination to the district attorney for the county in which the
incident occurred.

3. In connection with any particular incident encompassed by this
section, the attorney general shall conduct a full, reasoned and
independent investigation, including but not limited to: (a) gathering
and analyzing evidence; (b) conducting witness interviews; (c) reviewing
and commissioning any necessary investigative and scientific reports;
and (d) reviewing audio and video-recordings. The attorney general shall
be empowered to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, examine
them under oath before himself or herself or a magistrate and require
that any books, records, documents or papers relevant or material to the
inquiry be turned over to him or her for inspection, examination or
audit, pursuant to the civil practice law and rules, in connection with
such incident.

4. The attorney general shall have criminal jurisdiction over any
criminal conduct arising from any incident herein, and shall exercise
all of the powers and perform all of the duties with respect to such
actions or proceedings that a district attorney would otherwise be
authorized or required to exercise or perform, including all the powers
necessary to prosecute acts and omissions and alleged acts and omissions
to obstruct, hinder or interfere with any inquiry, prosecution, trial or
judgment arising from the incident. The criminal jurisdiction of the
office of special investigation shall displace and supersede the
jurisdiction of the district attorney where the incident occurred; and
such district attorney shall only have the powers and duties reserved to
him or her in writing by the attorney general.

5. The attorney general shall designate a deputy attorney general for
special investigation to exercise the powers and duties of the office of
special investigation, who shall be in the exempt class of the civil
service. The deputy attorney general may designate deputies or
assistants, who shall be in the exempt class of the civil service, as
necessary and appropriate. The other employees of the office of special
investigation within the department of law, who are not otherwise
exempt, shall all be in the competitive class of the civil service and
shall be considered for purposes of article fourteen of the civil
service law to be public employees in the civil service of the state,
and shall be assigned to the appropriate collective bargaining unit.
Employees serving in positions in newly created titles shall be assigned
to the same collective bargaining units as they would have been assigned
to were such titles created prior to the establishment of the office of
special investigation within the department of law by this chapter. The
deputy attorney general for special investigation may appear and conduct
proceedings in person or by his or her deputy or assistant before any
court or grand jury in connection with proceedings under this section.

6. (a) For any incident under this section, the office of special
investigation shall issue a public report and post the report on its
website whenever the office of special investigation initiates an
investigation and (i) the office of special investigation declines to
present evidence to a grand jury or (ii) the office of special
investigation does present evidence to a grand jury but the grand jury
declines to return indictment on any charges. The report will include,
to the extent possible and lawful, the results of the investigation of
the incident.

(b) The report shall also include: (i) with respect to subparagraph
(i) of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, an explanation as to why the
office of special investigation declined to present evidence to a grand
jury; and (ii) any recommendations for systemic or other reforms arising
from the investigation.

7. Six months after this subdivision takes effect, and annually on
such date thereafter, the office of special investigation shall issue a
report, which shall be made available to the public and posted on the
website of the department of law, which shall provide information on the
matters investigated by such office during such reporting period. The
information presented shall include, but not be limited to: the county
and geographic location of each matter investigated; a description of
the circumstances of each case; racial, ethnic, age, gender and other
demographic information concerning the persons involved or alleged to be
involved; information concerning whether a criminal charge or charges
were filed against any person involved or alleged to be involved in such
matter; the nature of such charges; and the status or, where applicable,
outcome with respect to all such criminal charges. Such report shall
also include recommendations for any systemic or other reforms
recommended as a result of such investigations.