During a news conference at City Hall last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced Richard Emery as the new chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

“From protecting New Yorkers inside our buildings to protecting their rights as they walk on our streets, the leaders joining our administration today have the skills and experience to deliver for the people of this city,” said de Blasio, during the conference at which he also named Carmen Beauchamp and Barry Cozier as chair and co-chair, respectively, of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. “These folks know the city and know how things operate, are committed to serving New Yorkers in every community and will work to build a stronger, safer and fairer New York.”

“I am honored to continue working to protect New Yorkers’ rights, ensuring everyone is treated fairly,” said Emery. “We will tirelessly work to safeguard our collective values of justice and mutual respect.” As chair of the CCRB, Emery will be held responsible for leading the agency’s efforts to investigate complaints by New Yorkers against allegations of misconduct by NYPD.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton sang his praises. “Richard Emery is highly regarded within New York City’s legal community,” said Bratton in a statement. “He has a very good knowledge and understanding of local police issues and practices. The NYPD looks forward to his leadership role at CCRB.”

Emery is a founding partner at the boutique litigation firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, which handles civil rights, commercial and criminal matters, including litigation against the city. Before that, Emery served as a staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union from 1977 to 1987 and was a counsel and partner at Lankenau Kovner & Bickford. He is currently a member of the Commission on Judicial Conduct and a member of the City Club of New York.

Joo-Hyun Kang, of Communities United for Police Reform, said Emery gives him hope that the CCRB will have more teeth. “We applaud the appointment of Richard D. Emery as chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board,” said Kang in a statement. “His strong, consistent commitment to justice has challenged government action when necessary and fought to uphold the fundamental civil rights of New Yorkers. His track record includes a significant history challenging NYPD brutality and misconduct, as well as participation in efforts to hold police accountable to the public.”