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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli, the Bronx Defenders attorneys who came under fire for appearing in a rap video that made explicit reference to killing NYPD officers, resigned from the firm this week, the New York Post reports. Bronx Defenders Executive Director Robin Steinberg, who signed off on their participation, was suspended without pay.
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.
In recent weeks, the White House has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening "community policing" around the country. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has coalesced around the same theme, releasing a report days ago with recommendations for community policing measures to be adopted nationally. The suggestions for building better "relationships" and boosting "trust" are comprehensive but, for a national crisis brought on by the killing of unarmed black people, there's one thing conspicuously absent from the public policy solutions: the acknowledgement of racism.
Recently, a group of attorneys with the nonprofit law firm Bronx Defenders made the monumentally poor decision to involve themselves in a music video for a song that mentions killing cops. They'll almost certainly be punished for it—they may even lose their jobs—but that isn't enough for Patrick Lynch, the police union's unhinged president, who'd like to see the entire firm shut down.