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.
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.
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.”
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.
At the time of Michelle Cusseaux’s death, she was 50, lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. On August 14, 2014, Cusseaux grew agitated when a cab didn’t show up to take her to the hospital; just a week earlier, she’d filed a grievance on previous transportation failures. Cusseaux called a Southwest Network health facility, and Office Manager Jamey Helms found her comments to be threatening. Due to House Bill 2105, passed in April of that year, neither Helms nor anyone else affiliated with Southwest Network—which claims to be “one of the largest community behavioral health providers in the U.S.”—have to check in on patients personally. Instead, Helms called the police to make what is formally known as a mental health petition. (Police are frequently first-responders in calls like this, which in ideal situations end in a psychiatric care facility; the actual trip itself is referred to as a mental-health pickup.)
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.
A Rikers Island corrections officer assigned to prisoners accused of serious violent crimes claims she was sexually assaulted by an inmate and was threatened with termination for fighting off his advances. “He violated me,” Rikers corrections officer Samantha Moscoso told ABC New York. “And I screamed and I screamed for him to let go, for him to get off, for him to let go, for him to stop.”
Did you know that police officers lie under oath—or talk about doing so—often enough that the practice has its own slangy portmanteau? (It’s called “ testilying.”) What happens when an otherwise good officer is really bad with his gun? Do cops give a shit if you protest that you’re being arrested unfairly? Once again, Gawker’s anonymous cop is here to answer all your law enforcement questions.
The last tweet Anthony Hill sent read, “Never say never.” Two hours later, around 2 p.m. on March 9, he was shot dead. Reports and video footage, captured moments before his death, spotlight Hill’s erratic behavior: the 26-year-old Air Force veteran had been wandering The Heights apartment complex naked, crawling on the ground, knocking on doors, and hanging from a balcony. When approached by Dekalb County police officer Robert Olsen, Hill charged the officer despite Olsen’s pleas for him to stop. Though Olsen, who is a seven-year veteran of the police force, was equipped with a taser, he fatally shot an unarmed Hill twice.
On December 3, the Wikipedia article on the death of Eric Garner read in part: "Garner raised both his arms in the air and was then put in a chokehold from behind by officer Daniel Pantaleo." Later that day, it changed almost imperceptibly: Garner didn't just raise his arms, he flailed them, and Pantaleo's takedown may have been a headlock, not a chokehold. The subtly pro-cop edits didn't come from some impartial third party, but an IP address registered to the NYPD. They weren't the only ones.
On Tuesday evening, 69-year-old William Groomes, a retired corrections officer, was riding a Brooklyn-bound 4 train when he got into a confrontation with two younger men. The specifics of their quarrel aren't totally clear, but two things are certain: Groomes shot Gilbert Drogheo dead, and he wasn't arrested for it. Why not?
Matt Darisse, a sergeant in the Surry County Sheriff's Department, was sitting in his patrol car on the morning of April 29, 2009. Darisse was monitoring northbound traffic on a stretch of Interstate 77 near Dobson, North Carolina. He says that just around 8:00 a.m. he saw a Ford Escort pass his car. According to Darisse, the driver looked nervous, staring forward and gripping the steering wheel, so he decided to pull onto the road and follow the car. After a few miles, Darisse says the Escort approached some traffic and braked. That's when he noticed that one of the car's brake lights, the right one, was out. It was all the reason he needed, he thought, to initiate a stop.