Office of Special Investigation

The Office of Special Investigation (OSI) investigates deaths caused by police officers or peace officers, including corrections officers. When OSI’s investigation shows that a crime was committed, OSI presents evidence to a grand jury. If the grand jury returns an indictment, OSI prosecutes the case. When OSI’s investigation shows that an officer caused a death, but that a crime cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, OSI publishes a report on our website detailing the facts disclosed by the investigation and explaining why the evidence would not demonstrate proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

OSI also makes recommendations for improvements to policing and corrections in its published investigative reports.

OSI is staffed by attorneys, investigators, analysts, and family and community liaisons. OSI conducts over 200 investigations annually and publishes an annual report on its work every October 1. The annual report summarizes the indictments OSI is prosecuting and the investigative reports it has published. The annual report also contains OSI’s recommendations for improvements in policing and corrections, and provides comprehensive demographic and other data on all the matters OSI investigates, including deaths at the state’s prisons and jails, including Rikers Island.

OSI’s authority comes from Section 70-b of New York’s Executive Law (Section 70-b), which went into effect on April 1, 2021. Before April 1, 2021, OSI’s predecessor unit, the Special Investigations and Prosecution Unit (SIPU), conducted investigations and prosecutions under an executive order issued in 2015 by the governor.