New York City Police Department corruption and misconduct
Over 12,000 cases of police brutality and misconduct by the NYPD has resulted in lawsuit settlements totaling over $400 million during a five-year period ending in 2014. Here are some highlights...
Prospect Park alleged police sodomy incident
On October 15, 2008, five officers attempted to arrest Michael Mineo for smoking marijuana in a Brooklyn subway station. Days later, Mineo made accusations claiming he was sodomized with a police radio antenna by the officers. On December 9, 2008, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced that three of the officers, Richard Kern, Alex Cruz, and Andrew Morales, were indicted on criminal charges. According to the District Attorney, officer Kern sodomized Mineo with his expandable baton after the officers handcuffed him. Officer Kern was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and assault, and faced up to 25 years in prison, and officers Cruz and Morales were charged with hindering prosecution and official misconduct, and faced up to 4 years in prison. All three officers were acquitted of all charges.
NYPD Retaliates against NYPD officer
In May 2010, Adrian Schoolcraft, a former NYPD officer, publicized recordings he made in secret while on duty, showing a pattern of corruption and retaliation against him for refusing to cooperate. Officers detained citizens without charges to meet quota and failed to report serious crimes, including rape, to make their department appear to be reducing crime rates. When the NYPD learned that Schoolcraft was privately investigating such corruption, concern for his mental health was used as an excuse for armed officers to kidnap and imprison him in a hospital. In 2010 he was suspended without pay and was filing suit against the NYPD. In further retaliation, lawyers for the city of New York on behalf of the NYPD served a subpoena on Graham Rayman, the journalist who reported about Schoolcraft's secret recordings, attempting to abridge the journalist's First Amendment rights by accessing Rayman's records. The city's subpoena to Rayman was seen as a way for the NYPD to gain access to Schoolcraft's tapes. The requests in the subpoena "were made without particularity and essentially seek widespread access to all of Rayman's files." However, a federal judge ruled that the city of New York could only access limited materials. In September 2015, the portion of the lawsuit against the NYPD settled, with Schoolcraft to receive $600,000 in compensation. The portion against Jamaica Hospital was settled in November 2015.
NYPD v. OWS
Occupy Wall Street activist Michael Premo was arrested on December 17, 2011 and charged with assaulting an officer. Prosecutors argued and the arresting officer gave sworn testimony that Premo "charged the police like a linebacker, taking out a lieutenant and resisting arrest so forcefully that he fractured an officer's bone."
The defense located video that was taken by freelancer Jon Gerberg which contradicted the sworn testimony, instead showing officers "tackling [Premo] as he attempted to get back on his feet". Prosecutors claimed no video of Premo's arrest existed, yet the Gerberg video clearly showed an NYPD officer also filming Premo's arrest. Nick Pinto of Village Voice wrote that "information provided by the NYPD in the trial was fabricated to such a degree that the allegations made by the police officers have turned out to be quite literally the opposite of what actually happened.
In March 2013, Premo was acquitted of all charges.
Matthew Shepard memorial march
When the LGBTQ community in New York City organized a solemn, memorial march one week after Matthew Shepard died of injuries sustained during an attack in what was called a hate crime, the NYPD responded in riot gear and on horseback, arresting 96 mourners and using some violent tactics, triggering at least one federal, constitutional rights violations lawsuit.
Police killing protests
In 2014, large-scale protests took place in New York City following the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Akai Gurley in Brooklyn. The protests got bigger after grand juries in Ferguson and in Staten Island separately decided not to file criminal charges against the police officers, who were involved in the chokehold death of Garner and the shooting death of Brown, respectively. In response to these protests, the NYPD made large numbers of arrests and deployed the uses of pepper spray and mobile LRADs to disrupt activists, long regarded by many as controversial. Use of LRADs by the NYPD triggered legal objections on the basis that there may have never been "formal guidelines for the devices’ use".
Political pressure to address fatal interactions with the NYPD escalated after the Daily News reported statistics that showed that, in the time between the 1999 slaying of Amadou Diallo and the 2014 shooting death of Akai Gurley, on-duty NYPD officers were involved in 179 fatalities.
Should We Trust Police Officers?
Are police officers allowed to lie to you? Yes the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lie to the American people. Police officers are trained at lying, twisting words and being manipulative. Police officers and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. So don’t try to “out smart” a police officer and don’t try being a “smooth talker” because you will lose! If you can keep your mouth shut, you just might come out ahead more than you expected. Related article: 46,000+ American citizens are currently serving time for crimes that they did not commit
Gun smuggling scandal
In October 2011, five current NYPD police officers and three retired police officers were arrested and charged with trafficking guns into New York state in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash. Six of those implicated worked, or once worked, at the 68th Precinct.
Ticket fixing scandal
In October 2011, 16 NYPD police officers were charged with offenses related to ticket fixing. Though only 16 NYPD officers were facing trial, news reports show that hundreds of NYPD police officers were involved, "caught on a phone tap asking for scores of tickets to disappear."
Lawsuits against NYPD officers
The New York Daily News revealed that 55 officers had each been sued for misconduct 10 or more times since 2006, resulting in settlements and judgments that totaled over $6 million of the $1 billion paid during the period to cover all civil suit judgments/settlements against the NYPD. Only one to two percent of people who believe they were mistreated by the police actually file lawsuits.
Narcotics detective Peter Valentin was sued 28 times for misconduct from 2006 through early 2014, resulting in $884,000 in settlements. The lawsuit allegations included the running of slash-and-burn raids that resulted in few criminal convictions.
Federal corruption investigation of top NYPD officers
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton reassigned four top NYPD officers as a consequence of a Federal corruption investigation of the NYPD being led by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Deputy Chief Michael Harringon, Deputy Inspector James Grant, Deputy Chief David Colon, Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez were each disciplined by being given desk jobs even before the outcome of the Federal corruption investigation was made clear. The investigation of the NYPD was reportedly connected to probes of two businessmen with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Although the complete nature, and identity of all of the targets, of the Federal investigation were not made clear, it was noted that agents of the FBI's political corruption unit were participating in the probe.
As part of the wide-ranging, Federal investigation into alleged misconduct and corruption at the NYPD, Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Brooklyn public safety patrol volunteer Shaya (Alex) Lichtenstein for attempting to bribe an undercover officer with almost $1 million if the undercover officer would expedite permits for approximately 150 guns. One prosecutor described Lichtenstein as an "arms dealer." Three NYPD officers, who worked in the Licensing Division, the departmental unit that processed gun permits, were transferred to other posts.
The Federal corruption investigation has also reportedly focused on former Chief of Department Philip Banks, who allegedly received gifts from one of the two businessmen with close ties to Mayor de Blasio.
NYPD Reform Game
After Eric Garner's July 2014 chokehold death, the Department of Investigation issued a report, examining ten cases where CCRB substantiated complaints about officers using chokeholds. The report showed that the NYPD rejected recommendations for discipline in a majority of the examined cases, raising concerns about the lack of accountability for police misconduct. Philip Eure, the inspector general of the NYPD, told The New York Times, “Obviously, we are going to be looking at a broader sample of cases to see if it’s more systemic. But people should be troubled by the disconnect that we determined exists already in the disciplinary process.”
An independent 2015 investigation into the transparency of New York government agencies showed that the NYPD were resistant to revealing even basic information about itself. A request filed under the state's Freedom of Information Law seeking the names of the NYPD's employees was denied on the basis that a list of employees was information that was not in the "possession, custody, or control" of the agency. The investigation, conducted in joint cooperation between the transparency Web site MuckRock and the news publication The New York World, surveyed 86 municipal and state agencies. The worst-performing agency was the NYPD, which received the grade of "F" for its resistance to disclosing information about itself.
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