The NYPD is frequently deceitful, but rarely is it as hilariously so as it was yesterday, when Commissioner Bill Bratton, during a press conference about the perceived dangers of synthetic marijuana, showed video he said was of “out-of-state” officers arresting a man under the influence of the drug, but which was actually a dude on PCP pulled from a 2003 episode of COPS.
It seems fairly easy to be a corrupt cop in America these days and still hold down a job. Don’t do anything insanely horrendous or stupid and you’ll probably be fine. Hell, do something both horrendous and stupid and you’ll still probably be fine. Officer Wardell Johnson of the New Orleans Police Department did both but, well, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be fine.
The above video, shot on April 3 or 4 and published this week, shows a group of Philadelphia police officers punching, kicking, and tasering an unarmed black man. By the end of the clip, at least a dozen officers have arrived to the scene. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, police have launched an internal investigation into the incident.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has consistently and petulantly undermined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio since the mayor took office, but the feud only recently went on the record. Following an Albany legislative session in which Cuomo blatantly denied de Blasio various legislative victories — and cynically attempted to attack the more liberal mayor from “the left” — Cuomo rubbed salt in the legislative wound by delivering a brutally critical appraisal of Mayor de Blasio’s legislative acumen and political savvy. This came in the guise of a Daily News interview with “a top Cuomo administration aide.” (At least, that is what everyone believes, and what the governor has not denied.)
You’re driving home from work on a stretch of road you’ve driven hundreds of times before, and without even thinking, you start to push the speed limit, just a little. You do it practically every evening without problems, so why should tonight be different? But as your rearview lights up with blue and red, you realize with chagrin that it’s the last day of the month.
On the morning of Freddie Gray’s funeral—during the service itself—the Baltimore Police Department issued a statement claiming that it had become aware of a “credible threat” that members of the Crips, Bloods, and Black Guerrilla Family gangs had teamed up in an effort to “take out” cops. At the time, both the timing and the intent of the statement felt questionable: Even if it was true, what was it supposed to accomplish, other than inciting fear and provoking public sympathy for the department? And couldn’t it have waited until after the funeral? Now, a new report suggests that the “credible threat” may not have been credible at all.
On Twitter this morning, an ex-Baltimore police sergeant named Michael A. Wood detailed a litany of abuses he witnessed or participated in while on the job. Even if your faith in cops to do the right thing has been completely demolished over the past several years—or if it was never there to begin with—you’ll almost certainly find something new that turns your stomach.
In November of last year, rookie NYPD cop Peter Liang shot and killed Akai Gurley in the stairwell of the Brooklyn public housing building where he lived. Four months later, a retired correction officer named Willie Groomes shot and killed Gilbert Drogheo on a Brooklyn subway platform. Because Groomes wasn’t indicted for his killing, Liang is arguing in court, he shouldn’t be indicted either.
Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who placed Eric Garner in the chokehold that killed him last year, has a round-the-clock security detail stationed outside his Staten Island home, he divulged in court papers this week. And his protectors aren’t just any rent-a-cops—they’re badge-and-gun carrying NYPD officers, paid for by the citizens of New York City.
Since Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York ten days ago, the prison has been on lockdown—meaning the inmates they left behind have hardly been allowed out of their cells, if at all. According to the New York Department of Correction and Community Supervision, that may change this week.
The horrors of life inside Rikers Island are well-documented—and many of the people who are subjected to them have never been convicted of a crime. A week after the suicide of Kalief Browder, the New York Post reports on a man who has spent the last six years and eight months at Rikers awaiting trial.
In an interview with the Guardian about diversity and the NYPD, department commissioner Bill Bratton said something that at first seems baffling in its racism and stupidity: “We have a significant population gap among African American males [in the NYPD] because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them.”
With the thousands of soldiers, countless police, and CNN trucks, West Baltimore in April looked very different than it had just a few months before. When Governor Larry Hogan strolled in—mic and camera in tow—he claimed he was looking out for the best interests of residents. He boasted of being the only politician who would come to rough neighborhoods and talk to locals. Hogan even moved his base of operations to Baltimore, stating in a press conference that he was “taking over the situation.”
At a court hearing on April 22, a Kentucky judge ordered that Adam Horine be transported from the Carroll County Detention Center to a Lexington hospital for a mental health examination and treatment. Horine, who’d been arrested for disorderly conduct and making verbal threats, was hearing voices and had thoughts of suicide. Hours after the court order, police picked up Horine from the jail, but instead of taking him to the hospital, they put him on a Greyhound bus with a one-way ticket to Florida—a 28-hour ride away. What happened?
Dealing with the fallout after one of your colleagues kills an unarmed person in the line of duty is awfully stressful work. The NYPD knows this better than most. So it only made sense that after protests engulfed Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, New York’s finest were there to lend a sympathetic ear to the city’s police.
Just how large of a threat do New York City’s cops pose to its citizens—especially those who live in public housing? Large enough that the city’s housing authority ordered its employees to wear bright orange vests on the job, just in case an NYPD officer in a dark project stairwell mistakes a worker for a resident and shoots him dead.
Her name was Shaka and we were in the fifth grade when I decided to kick her square in the stomach. Even though I had a huge crush on her, Shaka’s pain did not matter to me. It didn’t matter to our laughing peers either. Shaka’s pain was irrelevant as I asserted my prepubescent norms of courting. Television shows like The Wonder Years and The Cosby Show jokingly conveyed to me that it was normal for boys to hit and degrade girls to get their attention.