Head of NYPD Special Victims Division not fit for job, advocates say


Advocates have been already fed up with the pinnacle of the NYPD’s troubled Special Victims Division simply over a 12 months into his tenure, however after the gut-wrenching testimony from rape victims this week — they now say he’s received to go.

Inspector Michael King took the reins of SVD in August 2020 from Deputy Chief Judith Harrison and was touted by police brass for his distinctive {qualifications} to supervise the unit as a forensic nurse.

Advocates and police sources informed The Post it has change into obvious that King, who by no means labored as a detective, lacked the managerial and investigatory abilities to reform the long-embattled unit.

“Mike King has heart but I don’t know that he has the skills to run this unit,” an insider supply informed The Post. “This position needs to be held by an expert investigator and a management person to manage their staff and their cases because there will always be investigative issues.”

The NYPD declined a request by The Post to talk with King and referred to his testimony to the City Council on Monday.

Advocates and sources say King has harped on meaningless paperwork as an alternative of protecting in contact with victims, now not interviews investigators earlier than they’re reassigned to SVD and has misplaced management of who’s positioned within the unit, which has been flooded with officers, not detectives, moved out of their instructions as favors.

Advocates and police sources have said that it is apparent that Deputy Inspector Michael King, who never worked as a detective, lacked the managerial and investigatory skills to reform the SVD.
Advocates and police sources have stated it’s obvious that Deputy Inspector Michael King, who by no means labored as a detective, lacked the managerial and investigatory abilities to reform the SVD.

“I think [King’s] just taking care of people coming in,” a police supply stated. “They’re cops with a couple of years on the job who never did any investigative work and then they come there and you’re trying to train people, but there’s really not a lot of senior detectives and supervisors there anymore.”

SVD — which is charged with fixing little one abuse and sexual assaults, some of essentially the most complicated instances in police work — is staffed by 255 investigators.

That accounts for lower than 1 p.c of the uniformed police power and, as of Monday, simply over 100 of these cops have not been skilled to interview survivors alone, forcing a buddy-system strategy to investigations, in accordance with advocates and sources.

King has even been referred to as out for his poor managerial abilities by his superiors. Just weeks in the past, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison dressed him down in a closed-door assembly for shoddy paperwork within the unit.

According to sources, Deputy Inspector Michael King has been referred to as out a number of occasions for his lack of managerial abilities

Advocates did concede reform is a excessive bar within the small, beleaguered division with out assist from the highest and hope a brand new administration brings change.

“Any commanding officer is being set up to fail until they are given adequate staff, adequately experienced detectives and adequate training,” stated Jane Manning, director of the Women’s Equal Justice Project.

Mary Haviland, former government director at New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, added there was a “real investigative brain drain since [Michael] Osgood” was pressured out.

“Neither Judith Harrison nor Michael King was a detective and neither has deep investigative skills,” Haviland stated.

Those issues, advocates say, are simply the newest addition to a prolonged listing of unchanged systemic points within the unit that have been exemplified Monday when rape survivors emotionally recounted their disturbing interactions with investigators to New York City Council members.

One sufferer went so far as to say that her interplay with an SVD investigator was worse than the sexual assault itself. Another stated she came upon she was pregnant earlier than an investigator adopted up together with her.

In a stunning revelation, one girl recounted to the council {that a} sergeant had dismissed her rape declare as a result of she was sleeping when it began. He then went on to casually admit that “he has sex with his wife while she’s asleep and she’s not reporting him for rape.”

According to one rape victim who went by "Christine" one of Michael Kings officers dismissed her rape claim because she was sleeping when it started.
According to 1 rape sufferer who glided by “Christine,” one of Michael King’s officers dismissed her rape declare as a result of she was sleeping when it began.

Haviland — who requested the Department of Justice to open a probe into the NYPD’s SVD unit this summer season — stated that these “old-fashioned, outmoded” perceptions of intercourse assaults is a hurdle the division should overcome — nevertheless it isn’t distinctive to the rank and file.

“I can’t say how many times those stereotypes have been mentioned in meetings with commissioners,” stated Haviland, including that it reveals within the lack of sources “the NYPD attributes to these crimes.”

During one assembly in 2019, she recalled to The Post, then-Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea tried to put in writing off filling the unit with low-level officers as an alternative of skilled investigators.

“What you need is heart and passion,” she recalled the now-police commissioner saying in pitching the inexperienced investigators as a constructive step.

“He should have been promoting the skills of detectives,” Haviland stated.

Shea claimed again in 2018 he spearheaded reforms within the unit as the town’s prime detectives after a scathing Department of Investigations report, however advocates say a lot of what was executed was a shell sport, shifting sources from little one abuse instances to grownup sexual assault models.

And advocates now consider the results of that shift this 12 months are being seen within the uptick of little one deaths.

Manning, who can be a former intercourse crimes prosecutor, stated the shortage of reforms all falls to the management on the highest ranges of the division.

“There is someone that can fix the ongoing failures of the SVD and that person is Police Commissioner Dermot Shea,” stated Manning.

Both Haviland and Manning stated they hope for a nationwide search for a brand new head of the SVD.

“I want to hear the mayoral candidates explain what they will demand of their police commissioner when it comes to repairing NYPD response to sexual assault,” she stated.

In a press release, police spokesman Sgt. Edward Riley stated the division “is committed to ensuring that all sexual assault survivors feel the safety and support needed to come forward.”

“Special Victims Unit investigators bring a victim-centric and evidence-driven approach and work tirelessly to build the strongest possible case,” Riley stated.