Head of NYC Police Watchdog Agency Resigns Amid Scrutiny

The chairman of New York City's police watchdog agency has resigned a day after being sued by its executive director.

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Richard Emery resigned Wednesday as chairman of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Emery said in a statement that a "confluence of recent circumstances" would preclude him from continuing in his post.

The executive director of the watchdog agency, Mina Malik, filed a lawsuit against Emery on Tuesday alleging he used a gender-based slur against her and was undermining her authority.

The lawsuit claims he said of Malik and another female employee during an argument, "I don't know why everyone is acting like a bunch of p------."

The attorney for the women said Emery also retaliated against his clients by "undermining their credibility, taking away different job opportunities and the like."

The attorney, Douglas Wigdor, told NBC 4 New York the goal of the lawsuit was to get Emery out and they were pleased he had resigned. 

"It sounds a loud and clear message to other women in the workplace who may be undergoing harassment," said Wigdor. 

Emery has not directly responded to the allegations but in his resignation letter, he explained his decision, saying, "The issues of inhibitions on my law practice, several of my recent public statements and recent litigation have created daily distractions from the success of the CCRB." 

It's not clear whether the women plan to pursue their lawsuit. 

Emery had also come under scrutiny because his law firm represented some clients who were suing the city police department. When police unions complained about it, Emery told The Daily News they were "squealing like a stuck pig," a remark for which he later apologized. 

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the rank-and-file NYPD officers' union, said in a statement, "The next CCRB chairperson should be held to the same high standards that police officers are. Our hope is that whoever replaces him will be a fair-minded and reasonable person who has a basic respect for police officers and the difficult job that they do." 

The CCRB investigates claims of misconduct by police, but the NYPD has the final say on whether discipline is imposed.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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