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.
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.”
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.
A handful of New York City cops have contended for the dubious crown of most corrupt ever in the 170-year history of the NYPD. There was Charles H. Becker, who met the electric chair in 1915 after he successfully ordered a hit on a gambler who had threatened to expose him as crooked. Or Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who served as detectives while secretly doing the bidding of the Lucchese crime family. And then there was Michael Dowd.
On Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton urged state legislators to consider increasing the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony. The change, he argued, would help New Yorkers "get around this idea that you can resist arrest. You can't." It would also give cops an easy way to turn victims of their own worst impulses into the worst class of criminal.
The NYPD's carte-blanche to beat up New Yorkers without fear of serious punishment apparently applies even when they're not on duty—and their victim is a fellow public servant. The cop who's charged with tackling and pulling the hair of an MTA worker on a subway platform avoided felony charges for the December assault, and the MTA union is pissed.
The NYPD Inspector General—the much-discussed independent regulatory office that New York's City Council voted into existence in 2013—released its first-ever report today, and unsurprisingly, it's all about chokeholds. The IG's equally unsurprising findings: cops use the banned move too quickly, too often, and are rarely properly punished for it.