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Queens Chronicle

Jamaica Estates’ Chu heads police watchdog panel

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Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2011 12:00 pm

   Daniel Chu of Jamaica Estates last week was named chairman of the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, the group that investigates allegations of police misconduct.

   Chu, a criminal defense and civil litigation attorney with a private practice in Manhattan, has been on the CCRB since 2008. He replaces Ernie Hart, who had served as chairman since 2009. Hart said he was stepping down because of a new job at Queensborough Community College in Bayside as substitute administrative officer for academic operations.

   The CCRB is made up five members named by the mayor, five designated by the City Council, who must come from each of the boroughs, and three named by the police commissioner. Chu was picked by the mayor. The Queens representative is Bishop Mitchell Taylor, who heads the Center of Hope International Church near the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City.

   In announcing Chu’s appointment, Mayor Bloomberg pointed to the new chairman’s experience as a prosecutor and an attorney, who “brings valuable experience and perspective to the board.”

   Chu called serving on the CCRB “a great privilege and responsibility.”

   The CCRB handled almost 6,500 cases last year, a 15 percent drop from the previous year because fewer complaints were filed by the public. There were more than 7,000 cases closed last year with more than 2,000 full investigations.

   Some cases were held over and many were resolved through a mediation program, while others were dropped by the complainants. “The CCRB provides a forum for people to vent,” Chu said. “There is a very high satisfaction rate.”

   Once a decision is rendered by the board, it is sent to the police commissioner who must decide what to do about the offending officers. “He has been disciplining officers,” Chu said. “We have a good relationship with the NYPD.”

   Board members receive $315 per every six hours on duty, averaging $20,000 a year, while the chairman averages $46,000. There are monthly meetings plus regular sessions in which three members hear and discuss cases. “The amount of time spent on CCRB work varies, but it is a working board,” Chu said. “Most of the members have day jobs.”

   People who feel they have been mistreated by the police can go to the CCRB office at 40 Rector St. in Manhattan to file a complaint, call 311 or download the form from the website, nyc.gov/ccrb.

   Prior to going into private practice, the new chairman served as an associate in another law firm and as administrative law judge at the Taxi and Limousine Commission. He started out as an assistant district attorney in the Queens District Attorney’s office.

   Chu, 40, is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo and earned his law degree at St. John’s University. He grew up in Fresh Meadows and attended PS 173 and JHS 216 and is a graduate of Bronx High School of Science.

   Married with a 5-month-old son, Chu said he thinks of himself as a “kid from Queens,” who decided to stay in the borough. “I live very close to where I grew up,” he said.

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