AN ONLINE LIBRARY ABOUT MARIJUANA POSSESSION ARRESTS,
RACE AND POLICE POLICY IN NEW YORK CITY AND BEYOND
Scandals of the NYPD
• QUOTAS, QUOTAS, QUOTAS - new
• SCANDALS OF THE NYPD - NEW
& THE NYPD TAPES - NEW
• DECRIMINALIZATION (coming)
SCANDALS OF THE NYPD
New York City is in the midst of a developing crisis about the leadership and policies of the NYPD. This page tracks the extraordinary number of NYPD abuses and scandals since just October of 2011.
Particularly noteworthy stories – especially those that focus on systemic abuses by NYPD policies and commanders – are highlighted in red.
Highlights of some of the scandal stories excerpted and linked to below....
- Newspaper stories reported that NYPD narcotics officers had planted drugs on innocent people and then arrested and charged them to meet arrest quotas. Police officers who did this testified about others who also did so. All said the practice was common and widespread.
- The NYPD commander, whose pepper-spraying of peaceful protesters became a youtube sensation, was transferred to a post near his home, substantially reducing his commute.
- Manhattan's Borough President called for a federal investigation of NYPD's stop and frisk practices. “We want the stops to be constitutional,” Stringer said. “We don’t want one group being targeted.”
- The NY Times reported on the growing militarism of police departments such as the NYPD which "adopt military-style tactics and equipment, and come off more like soldiers as they face down citizens."
- 16 New York police officers were arrested on ticket-fixing charges, with more to officers to be charged.
- After repeated requests, the NYCLU filed a law suit requiring the NYPD to release the daily schedule of police Commissioner Kelly, as is done routinely for the NY Governor and the US President.
- A Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for the Miami Herald (Florida) wrote a story about police routinely violating the civil rights of people in New York City.
- Veteran journalist Michael Powell reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers. Reporters with The Associated Press and The Daily News were arrested while taking notes.... At least since the Republican National Convention of 2004, our police have grown accustomed to forcibly penning, arresting, and sometimes spraying and whacking protesters and reporters."
- 90% of the summer school students arrested by the NYPD were young people of color, mainly blacks and Latinos.
- A report from the Citizens Crime Commission found: "Seven narcotics investigators are convicted of planting drugs on people to meet arrest quotas. Eight current and former patrol officers are charged with smuggling guns into the state. Another is charged with making a false arrest, apparently as a favor for his cousin. Three more are convicted of robbing a perfume warehouse." None of these cases was discovered by the NYPD, but by external agencies and investigators. The Citizens Crime Commission called for more independent oversight and control of the NYPD -- as is common in other large U.S. cities.
- A college student from Pittsburgh on a class trip was arrested and held by the NYPD for 36 hours because she had left her ID back in her hotel, only a few blocks away.
- A Brooklyn Judge talked about the "cowboy culture" of NYPD narcotics police testifying in his court. a number of whom had planted drugs on innocent people. Justice Reichbach described a widespread "culture of corruption endemic in its drug units" and said, "Even this court was shocked ... by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct."
- New York City police officers stopped and questioned 684,330 people last year, a record number since the department started producing yearly tallies of the tactic. The total marked a 14% increase over 2010.
- Police officers risked punishment to revealed routine pressure from NYPD commanders to not report crimes, or to downgrade them to minor offenses, so as to keep crime stats low. The president of the National Latino Officers Association said "For police officers it’s gotten to the point of what’s the most diplomatic way to discourage a crime report from being taken.”
- New Yorkers told reporters about encounters with police officers at police stations who will not take their information when they try to report crimes.
- A 14 year veteran police officer from the Bronx filed suit alleging the 42nd precinct's illegal arrest quota system had turned cop against cop.
- News stories reported that Facebook pages of white NY police officers described black residents in Brooklyn as "animals" and "savages." A reporter found the page and told the NYPD.
-Patrick V. Murphy, former NYPD Commissioner and widely-admired police leader and innovator, died at the age of 91. Murphy took over the NYPD following the scandals revealed in the Knapp Commission in 1972, and substantially increased police training and supervision. He believed in "good arrests" not high numbers, and in his 70s became an opponent of the drug war, and an advocate for drug decriminalization.
- The NY Daily News reported that the NYPD arrests 5 public students a day, 94% of them black or Latino, and that black students were 6 times more likely to be arrested than white students.
- A virulently anti-Muslim film, "The Third Jihad" was shown to a thousand officers as part of an NYPD training.
- The NYPD top spokesperson, Paul J. Browne, first denied and then revealed that the department and Commissioner Kelly helped make the anti-Muslim film, and then showed it on a continuous tape loop for months.
- The NYPD finally discovered that a 7 year veteran police officer had been working as pimp. Over the years the officer had been the subject of nine investigations including for menacing people and "official misconduct."
- The NYPD was sued for illegally searching and detaining many livery cab drivers, who are overwhelmingly black and Latino.
- A new book -- The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation -- by two criminologists, one a former NYPD captain, presented overwhelming evidence documenting the NYPD's routine downgrading of arrests from felonies to misdemeanors. Under Raymond Kelly and Michael Bloomberg, the NYPD has manipulated the arrest and crime statistics in order to show crime decreasing.
- The NYPD refused to reveal ordinary crime statistics for the 81st precinct, where officer Adrian Schoolcraft had accurately testified that crimes were being downgraded or not reported. The NYCLU filed a suit to obtain the statistics.
- Numerous residents in the 79th precinct told reporters that they are afraid of the police. The president of the precinct's advisory board said: “Everyone complains to me about the Police Department, that when you call, you become the victim, so you don’t want to call.”
- The NY Times investigated some of the 1400 arrests a year the NYPD makes for "the most minor crime: sitting improperly on a subway seat." Many of the arrests, made in empty trains at 2 AM or later, are of tired workers going home who fell asleep. People were arrested because a foot, arm or bag extended into or over another seat.
- Police continued to assault reporters as seen in a NY Times video when "A linebacker-size officer grabbed the collar of Mr. Devereaux, who wore an ID identifying him as a reporter. The cop jammed a fist into his throat, turning Mr. Devereaux into a de facto battering ram."
- A Belgian college student visiting NYC with his family was arrested at gun point and charged with a crime that had not actually occured. He was walking from the subway to the Cloisters museum in Washington Heights and instead wound up as the only white person in a jail cell with 10 people arrested for possessing marijuana.
- A police Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit (SNEU) shot and killed Ramarley Graham, 19, in the bathroom of his home. They broke into his apartment because one officer believed he had seen a suspicious bulge when Graham was on the street. The teenager had only a small bag of marijuana. Numerous commentary linked the killing to the NYPD's marijuana possession arrest crusade.
- A federal court ordered NY City to pay $15 million for illegally arresting people on false anti-loitering charges
- Members of the NY State legislature actively discussed legislation to monitor, investigate and police the NYPD because it has shown repeatedly that it is unable to regulate itself.
- The NYPD stopped and frisked a record 684,330 people in 2011, a 14% increase over 2010.
- The Associated Press reported in a multi-part series that for years the NYPD has been conducting surveillance operations on Muslim students in several states and at numerous college and universities.
- Officer Craig Matthews, a 14-year veteran, revealed that Bronx police precincts have enforced "a strict quota system that requires officers to produce a minimum number of arrests, summonses and street stops each month."
- 30 organization have united under the name Communities United for Police Reform, or CPR, to more effectively challenge the NYPD stop and frisks and other racially-biased policies, and to work for greater civilian oversight and control of the police department. The police department says this is not necessary.
- Four police officers were accused of drinking on the job and sexually assaulting a waitress in Washington Heights. An attorney for one officer said his client did not assault the waitress, but admitted that the officer did take her panties.
- The US Attorney General announces that he is to begin an investigation of the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims -- a practice not permitted under federal law.
- A repeated Freedom of Information act suit finally forced the NYPD to reveal a two-year old, 85 page report confirming the charges of police officer Adrian Schoolcraft, as revealed in 2010 in a series of award-winning articles in the Village Voice, by reporter Graham Rayman. In addition, more than 100 retired police commanders had told researchers that intense pressure for annual crime reductions had led some officials to manipulate statistics.
- In addition to other papers, the NY Post reported that: "The NYPD kept hidden a report for nearly two years that validated a whistleblower officer's claims -- showing that officers misplaced, misclassified, altered and rejected crime reports in Brooklyn's 81st Precinct." The NYPD completed the report in June 2010 substantiating accusations made by officer Adrian Schoolcraft.
- The Mayor and the NYPD continued to refuse to answer any questions about this report or about anything having to do with Adrian Schoolcraft and his tape recordings showing routine police abuses and illegal practices by NYPD supervisors and commanders.
- Members of the FBI openly criticized the NYPD surveillance of Muslims.
- A number of prominent officials expressed serious concern and criticism of the NYPD's surveillance of ordinary Muslim Americans. Among those concerned were U.S. Attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr; Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark.
- The Associated Press reported that NYPD Infiltrated and spied upon liberal political groups.
- A police officer, "William Eiseman — who had been assigned to train new officers — pleaded guilty to lying to cover up unjustified street stops and seizures and illegally searching cars." His punishment for illegally searching and arresting people, though not for training others to do the same, was 12 weekends in jail.
- Prosecutors in Queens have been intercepting unrepresented suspects on their way to court and directing them into an interrogation room without attorneys. The NYCLU pointed out that this is unconstitutional and unethical.
- An NYPD sergeant, a 19-year veteran, reported that police systematically downgraded and misclassified serious crimes to pad crime stats. He tape recorded a conversation with a victim to back up his allegations and showed his commanders. He was then punished.
- 18 months after it began, and nearly a year after it was promised, the NYPD and Commissioner Kelly have not released a report by a panel of former federal prosecutors who studied the integrity of the department’s internal crime-reporting system.
- The NYCLU filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD charging that police have made thousands of unjustified stops inside privately owned buildings. Residents of these privately-owned buildings report that "taking the garbage out or checking the mail can result in being thrown against the wall and humiliated by police.”
- Data from NY State reveals that the NYPD did not reduce illegal marijuana arrests since Commissioner Kelly's announcement in September. A study from the Bronx Defenders found that illegal arrests increased in the months following Kelly's announcement.
- Ten Democrats in the US House of Representatives, including a member of the party’s leadership and lawmakers who oversee intelligence and homeland security matters, criticized New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his “underhanded and unprofessional” response to criticism of the New York Police Department’s spying programs.
- New York Times editorials criticized the NYPD's continuing marijuana arrest crusade and stop and frisk crusade.
- CNN Radio investigated the NYPD stop and frisks, and the Associate Press received a prestigious journalism award for its series of articles about the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims.
- New York Magazine published a long expose about low morale in the NYPD because of the quota system for stop and frisks, summonses, and arrests for minor offenses. Police officers reported that the department's obsession with numbers drives police officers to make rushed and bad judgments, resulting in cases like the shooting death of Ramarley Graham in February over a bag of marijuana.
- Top supervisors of an elite NYPD anti-gun unit repeatedly referred to black suspects with harsh racist language while treating white suspects much more civilly.
- Police tried to trick a Brooklyn Bodega clerk into selling beer to an 18 year old. When he wouldn't make the sale, police arrested and jailed him anyway, and the DA's office prosecuted. A video tape has vidincated the clerk, but not before he plead guilty for fear of going to jail on Rikers Island.
This page contains full publication information, links to the original articles, and excerpts from key or revealing passages.
"Cops Bust Bodega Worker Ismael Duran for Not Selling Booze to Minor" By Victoria Bekiempis, Village Voice, April 25, 2012
If you sell alcohol to a minor, you can get arrested. And if you do not sell alcohol to a minor, you can apparently also get arrested. No, really.
The Daily News tells the story of Ismael Duran, a father of three who immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic three years ago. Duran works at the Giselle Mini Mart in Brownsville. When 18-year-old undercover cop Anthony Harriott tried to buy Smirnoff Ice, Duran checked his I.D. and refused, as Harriott is a minor.
Another customer, 51-year-old Stanfiel Collymore, bought the Smifnoff Ice and then gave it to Harriott outside, the News reports.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office claims that Collymore agreed to take Harriott's money in front of Duran -- but the clerk's lawyer counters that he was busy with other customers...
Duran got slammed with charges of selling alcohol to a minor and unlawfully dealing with a child....
Duran, unaware that video surveillance present in the store clearly supports his claims of innocence.... fearing time in Rikers', he pleaded guilty and paid a fine.
The Bodega Association of the United States is pressuring prosecutors to vacate the plea. The Voice reached out to the New York Police Department and the Brooklyn D.A. to see what's up. We'll update if we hear back.
Corruption Case Shines Light On NYPD, by Tom Hayes, Associated Press, April 23, 2012
NYPD badges out, Kelvin Jones and the other armed men turned up out of nowhere at a New Jersey warehouse and began barking orders.... The men herded about a dozen employees into a tiny back office and tied them up.
By then, it was obvious something was amiss. "We were kind of shocked," one worker recalled. "We were like, why is the NYPD coming in here like this?" Another blurted: "You're not cops."
But Jones was indeed an NYPD officer. In fact, he had held an elite undercover position. Two with him were also part of the NYPD. A third was a former officer. But these were hardly "New York's Finest." What they'd set up to look like a police raid was instead a brazen, $1 million robbery.
Eventually, the 30-year-old Jones would face trial. And his case, though largely overlooked, isn't isolated. In the past two years, prosecutors have accused officers of planting evidence in drug investigations, of running illegal guns, of robbing drug dealers, of routinely fixing traffic tickets as favors.
Still, Jones stands out because of his background as an undercover operative for the NYPD's Intelligence Division. The department credits the unit with thwarting numerous terror and other threats against New Yorkers. Recent stories by The Associated Press have detailed how the unit also sought to infiltrate and monitor mosques, Muslim student organizations and left-wing political organizations — even beyond city limits — using methods that critics say infringe on civil rights, though the department denies it.
How Jones became an undercover and the exact nature of his assignment weren't made public at his trial in Newark in 2010, and police officials won't discuss it. But court documents offer hints: They show the NYPD authorized the Caribbean-born Jones to use the aliases Michael Kingston and Kelvin Johns. And in a handwritten journal, he made cryptic references to assignments in cities far from New York. That was before he was demoted to ordinary patrol — a transfer that still gave him access to an internal police database he used to help hatch the warehouse holdup....
While not commenting directly on Jones, the NYPD insists it carefully vets candidates for undercover work, especially those assigned to Intelligence Division.
"Three in Elite NYPD Anti-Gun Unit Accused of Treating Black Suspects Like 'Animals'. Explosive charges in federal discrimination lawsuit" By John Marzulli, New York Daily News, April 16, 2012
Top supervisors of an elite NYPD anti-gun unit allegedly handled white suspects with kid gloves while treating blacks like “animals” deserving of a bullet to the head, the Daily News has learned.
The explosive charges appear in sworn depositions from three members of the firearms suppression unit: two current NYPD detectives and a retired first-grade detective. Their testimony, part of a federal discrimination lawsuit, details how Capt. James Coan and Lt. Daniel Davin created a hostile environment for both their black detectives and suspected minority-group gun traffickers, said the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Eric Sanders. Davin used the N-word to address black suspects, while Coan considered the unit’s minority-group targets almost subhuman, the depositions indicate.
“Capt. Coan would tell the field team . . . ‘They are f-----g animals. You make sure if you have to shoot, you shoot them in the head. That way there’s one story,’ ” said the retired detective. The ex-cop, identified only as Undercover 7988, said Coan’s racist rant came before every search warrant executed in Brooklyn’s Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York from 2008 to 2010. “They didn’t care if it was kids in there, they didn’t care if it was women in there, naked women,” the detective said. “. . . They treated them as if they had no rights whatsoever. It was disgusting."
In contrast, search warrants on predominantly white Staten Island were handled without kicking in doors, said the undercover. The two detectives still on the job testified that Davin hurled the N-word at suspects — and at one of them. “On a search warrant which I was present with him and several members of the team, while working in firearms, he called one of the perpetrators a n----r,” said Detective Al Hawkins. On another occasion in 2005, Hawkins recalled, he walked into an apartment where Davin was instructing white officers, “If you have to shoot a n----r, do what you gotta do.” “I just walked out of the room and shook my head,” Hawkins said.
The accused captain and lieutenant remain on the job, although in different positions. The detectives testified last month in a discrimination lawsuit brought by Detective Debra Lawson in Brooklyn Federal Court. She alleges minority-group members in the unit were passed over for good assignments and career advancement. The unidentified undercover, before his retirement, had also filed a discrimination complaint against Davin. The lieutenant was “reinstructed” about his offensive comments in 2010, according to court papers. Detective Gregory Jean-Baptiste, who was demoted from second-grade to third-grade detective after clashing with Davin, testified that the lieutenant called him a “black bastard.”
OUTSIDE WHILE BLACK, Youtube, April 15, 2012
[Video of young black men just given "Disorderly Conducts" tickets for standing in front of a boarded up building. The young men talk about what the police just did and how the police usually treat them. ]
“What’s Eating the NYPD?” By Chris Smith, New York Magazine, Apr 8, 2012
More worrisome, to the functioning of the department and the maintenance of public safety, now and in the future, was the anger rumbling just below the surface of the NYPD — and, on a couple of occasions, bursting out into plain view. In September, cops contributed to a Facebook discussion on the raucous West Indian Day parade that labeled marchers “animals” and “savages.” In October, scores of cops converged on the Bronx County courthouse as sixteen of their colleagues were arraigned on ticket-fixing charges, waving signs reading JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS.... The accumulation of woes and discontent made it look as if Commissioner Ray Kelly was suffering from something more than third-term drift. It looked as if he were losing control of his department....
The collective NYPD mood is surprisingly dark. There’s
something different about the current discontent. The complaints
aren’t about the old standby, low pay; they’re about the systems the
NYPD uses... The disaffection from the public and anger at the
department ... are widespread, stretching across boroughs and ranks
— and cops say that the acrimony is a by-product of the
numbers-obsessed systems that Kelly has perfected. The commissioner
inherited CompStat, the innovative marriage of computer-analyzed
crime stats and grilling of field commanders. But in the Kelly era,
CompStat has filtered through every facet of the department, and
making a good show at those meetings has become an obsession. Few
cops talk openly about the NYPD’s troubles: Some are wary of the
media, some fear punishment from the department. “The job is getting
smaller all the time — more demands, less autonomy, less respect,” a
recently retired Bronx detective says mournfully. “The aggressive
management culture has been really effective, but it’s also
“Ninety percent of the stress on our job is internal,” a twenty-year veteran says. “Crime is down as much as you can get it, you’re doing as much as you can with fewer people, and if you ask for more, what you’re going to get is corruption, people fudging numbers, locking people up just to do it. And that’s where the city is now. Everybody’s attention is so focused on the numbers nobody cares about each other. You can’t. The human element is gone. It’s why so many cops are so miserable.”
...Two cops — Adrian Schoolcraft of Brooklyn and Craig
Matthews of the Bronx — have taken the rare path of filing lawsuits
alleging that they were persecuted for complaining about statistical
manipulation and quotas. Schoolcraft says he was handcuffed by
fellow cops and committed to a hospital psychiatric ward for six
days. Others play along, saying they have come to know what’s
expected. “You show up to someone who had their iPhone snatched, but
you don’t put it over the air because you don’t know if it’s gonna
be a crime yet,” a Manhattan cop says. “We have to bring the victim
back to the station, where he’s gonna be waterboarded by the
sergeant: ‘Are you sure you didn’t drop your phone?’ Next thing you
know, it’s lost property. ‘Hey, maybe I left it on the train! Maybe
it fell out of my pocket when I got punched in the face!’ ”
"AP investigative series on NYPD [is awarded]” The Associated Press, Apr 4, 2012
“Dead Board Awakening?” By Len Levitt, Huffington Post, April 4, 2012
Contrary to the New York Times headline: "New Powers to
Prosecute New York City Police Officers," the CCRB [Civilian
Complaint Review Board] has gained no new powers. Police department
judges will remain the judges of accused cops. Kelly will remain the
final arbitrator, accepting or rejecting the judges'
recommendations. The minuscule difference is that if Kelly
overrules a trial judge, he must explain his reasons in writing.
“NYPD Sgt. Sentenced for Drug Conspiracy” By North Country Gazette, April 4, 2012
In February of 2010, Jimenez and Rivera met with a
second government informant whom Jimenez and Rivera believed to be a
large-scale cocaine distributor. During the meeting, Rivera — who
was armed with an NYPD-issued 9mm handgun — told the second
informant that if stopped by the police, “I just show my I.D. and my
shield … they always say, ‘Get out of here.’”
“Did the NYPD Suffocate a Mentally Ill Woman to Death While Trying to Cuff Her?” By James Thilman, The Gothamist, April 3, 2012
A disoriented [woman] suffocated in her Jamaica, Queens home as officers attempted to handcuff her — they had been called to the home by her family, who had requested medical attention. Francis was apparently frightened and confused when officers arrived at her home and pleaded for them to leave .... Francis's parents have filed suit ... requesting the release of evidence surrounding their daughter's death.
"We were stonewalled for weeks only to have details
leaked to the Wall Street Journal by anonymous sources. Why were
those details not made available to the family?" asked the family's
attorney, Steve Vaccaro, "Only when we announced this press
conference did IAB return our call wanting to speak to the family."
“NYPD's 'Stop, Question and Frisk' policy is Racial Profiling, Critics Say” By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN Radio National Correspondent, April 3, 2012
Every time a cop car slows down near him, Djibril Toure worries that he's about to be stopped and questioned. Not because he did anything wrong -- the 39-year-old businessman and activist was born and raised in New York, attended Cornell University and said he's never committed a crime....
Toure, who is black, lives in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant
neighborhood, a predominantly African-American section of the city
with a history of high crime rates. He said he's been stopped and
questioned by police more than a dozen times since the late 1990s,
and he believes it's because of the way he looks. "I felt a
combination of angry and humiliated," Toure said. "There was no
reason for them to stop me. I hadn't done anything. "Honestly, it
makes young people mistrustful of the police. I think it makes them
feel like the police are their enemy."
Ten House Democrats, including a member of the party’s leadership and lawmakers who oversee intelligence and homeland security matters, have criticized New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his “underhanded and unprofessional” response to criticism of the New York Police Department’s spying programs.
The Associated Press has reported for months that the NYPD systematically spied on Muslims neighborhoods, using informants and undercover officers to serve as “listening posts” in mosques and businesses in New York and New Jersey. Police documented the details of sermons, even when they were innocuous and peaceful, and infiltrated Muslim student groups on college campuses. NYPD officers catalogued where Muslims ate, eat and prayed — with no mention of criminal activity — and targeted Mosques using techniques typically reserved for criminal investigations. In a March 22 letter to Bloomberg, members of Congress called for an end to the NYPD’s out-of-state spying. Lawmakers said they were troubled by the tactics and by the city’s response to concerns.
“Stop and Frisk, Continued,” New York Times Editorial, April
The Bloomberg administration and its police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, have been disturbingly dismissive of complaints about the city’s program of stops, frisks and arrests that is ensnaring hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year. Civil rights lawsuits may now force the administration to examine this policy, which has largely focused on minority neighborhoods and has created anger and distrust among black and Hispanic New Yorkers who feel that the police view them as suspects, not citizens.
The latest suit, filed last week by the New York Civil Liberties Union in federal court on behalf of 13 plaintiffs, focuses on private rental buildings whose owners have given the police permission to patrol the halls.
According to the complaint, thousands of residents in buildings enrolled in the Clean Halls program are subject to being stopped and illegally ticketed or arrested for trespassing in their own buildings if they fail to produce identification when they take out the garbage, check the mail, duck out to the store for a quart of milk. Young people growing up in these buildings, lawyers say, are routinely searched without legal cause and detained. The lawsuit, which charges the city with violating the Fourth Amendment and the Federal Fair Housing Act, is similar to one filed two years ago against the New York Police Department and the city’s public housing agency, which is alleged to have employed a similar patrol system.
oversight” By Brian Fishman, New York Daily News, Monday, April 2,
The NYPD essentially asks Americans to trust in their good judgment. That is not good enough in a democracy — particularly because Commissioner Raymond Kelly has shown poor judgment on related issues, especially by appearing in an inflammatory video suggesting that a broad swath of American Muslims are waging an underground war on the United States.
The New York State Legislature showed good sense when it exempted people convicted of low-level marijuana possession from having to submit DNA to the state database, unless they have been convicted of a previous crime. Still, the state must do more to curb the arrests of tens of thousands of people each year in New York City for minor possession of marijuana, despite a 1977 state law that decriminalized it.
State data show that the New York Police Department
arrested more than 50,000 people last year for low-level possession,
with about 30 percent having no prior arrest record. More than
11,700 of those arrested were 16- to 19-year-olds; nearly half had
never been arrested before and 94 percent had no prior
convictions.... Civil rights lawyers say that many of those stopped
by city police were arrested after officers told them to empty their
pockets, which brought the small amount of drugs into view.
"New York Police Officers Defy Order To Cut Marijuana Arrests: Nearly half of people charged with marijuana posession were reportedly not displaying the drug when they were stopped" By Alice Brennan, The Guardian, March 30 2012
Police officers in New York are "manufacturing" criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders....
The Bronx Defenders teamed up with attorneys from the law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton to review police records and personal accounts from 517 people arrested for marijuana possession in the borough in the months before and after the Kelly order. According to the survey, the percentage of illegal stop-and-frisks increased from 31% before the order to 44% after the order. Similarly, the percentage of manufactured misdemeanors increased from 33% to 44%. One in three respondents said police had forced them to take the marijuana out of pockets or from under clothes and produce it into public view.
"Welcome To NYC: Cop Accidentally Shot Japanese Tourist" By Ben Yakas, The Gothamist, March 30 2012
Early yesterday morning, it was reported that an NYPD officer accidentally shot a woman in the downstairs Brooklyn apartment where a drug raid had been going on. It turns out that plainclothes narcotics Officer Mosquera Washington had accidentally grazed a 25-year-old Japanese tourist who was sleeping on a couch in the apartment below....
The Wall Street Journal claims that the officer had his gun drawn when he entered the apartment, and it just fired accidentally. The bullet went through the floor and grazed the sleeping tourist in her left arm.
"Data Shows Percentage of Wrongful Marijuana Arrests Rose After Kelly's Order: Bronx Public Defenders" By Ailsa Chang, March 29, 2012
Public defenders in the Bronx said more than 40 percent of the marijuana arrests they investigated in their borough between May and October 2011 show violations of constitutional rights and problems with evidence. Many of these unlawful arrests, defense lawyers said, were made after an internal NYPD order was issued directing all officers to follow the law when making marijuana arrests. Scott Levy, who heads the project, said their data demonstrates Kelly’s order did nothing to change police conduct, at least in the Bronx....
“For our clients, it’s very disheartening to see the disconnect between what they’re seeing reported in the news about the Kelly order and what they’re actually experiencing on a daily basis — the behavior that they actually see from police officers in their neighborhood,” Levy said.
"Ex-Spitzer Adviser on Jury Reportedly Derailed NYPD Rape Case" By Joe Coscarelli, NY Magazine, March 30, 2012
[this is actually a Manhattan DA scandal -- the DA failed to notice a juror who socially knew DA Cyrus Vance and former NY Governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and who then derailed the rape case against a NYPD officer who sexually assaulted a young teacher while on duty.]
NYPD Officer Michael Pena was convicted this week of sexually assaulting a young teacher on her first day of work. And yet an eight-man, four-woman jury could not come to a decision on the rape charges against him, resulting in a mistrial and partial verdict. This, despite the victim's testimony that "it hurt," multiple eyewitness accounts, and Pena's semen in her underwear, led the Daily News to ask on its front page yesterday, "What does a woman have to do to prove she was raped?" Today, the paper reports that three jurors, led by former Eliot Spitzer confidant turned tell-all author Lloyd Constatine, focused "on really odd points" during deliberations, like the victim's inability to recall the color of a car near where she was attacked. "If she doesn't remember these details," one juror said, "how does she know she was penetrated."
"Who Is On The Secret NYPD Press Email List?" By Jake Dobkin, The Gothamist, March 29 2012
The NYPD's Department of Public Information (DCPI) accidentally CC'd their entire email list on a routine press release. Normally this list of about 230 email addresses is BCC'd. This list is very interesting, because it tells who the NYPD is informing about major crimes— a who's who list of the "credentialed" NYC media establishment. This is not an easy list to get on. Even after we received our Press Passes, it took Gothamist more than a month of daily phone calls (and a few requests by our lawyer) before we were added. The NYPD wouldn't tell our lawyer, Norman Siegel, what the precise qualifications for being on the list were, and still hasn't— that's something Norman has been discussing with them for the last several weeks. Coincidentally, this is also the same information that we'd requested with a Freedom of Information Act request a few months ago. The NYPD said they'd let us know about that... in July.
"Trayvon Martin and the NYPD's Stop-and-Frisk Fixation" By Dan Collins, Huffington Post, March 29 2012
You don't have to be a die-hard [Police Commissioner]
Kelly critic to feel that this would be a good time to put in his
papers, accept the accolades for crime and terror-fighting that he's
bound to receive, and move on. People who stay in difficult,
high-responsibility jobs for a long time tend to acquire critics at
a faster rate than new friends. It's harder and harder for them to
give up tactics that they feel have worked well in the past. They
run out of new tricks. It's not something that's unique to the
police chief. His boss, Michael Bloomberg, is in the same zone. But
having a police commissioner who's been in the job too long is in
some ways more dangerous for the city than having a mayor who's
overdue for a change. I don't know exactly what to do about the
stop-and-frisk controversy. I just know that Kelly's not the guy to
In 2011, there were 50,684 marijuana possession arrests, the top arrest in New York City and second highest number of marijuana arrests in City history, despite a directive issued to police officers by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly last year, ordering them to end such arrests.... "For a mayor who celebrates diversity as a key staple of the city, he sure has a horrible way of demonstrating his appreciation for certain communities in our City," said Kassandra Frederique, policy coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance. "Black and Latino New Yorkers cannot walk down the street without fear of being stopped, frisked, illegally searched, and then falsely charged and arrested for something that was decriminalized over 30 years ago. This is costing us millions of dollars as taxpayers. It's an insult, and must end now."
"New York Police Dept. Is Sued Over Stops in Private Buildings" By Al Baker, New York Times, March 28, 2012
A civil rights group [the New York Civil LIberties Union] filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the New York Police Department of illegally stopping tens of thousands of people in privately owned buildings across the city.... Police officers routinely arrest people on criminal-trespass charges with no justification, the suit says, creating what some residents describe as a police state in which they feel compelled to carry identification while performing mundane tasks like picking up mail or doing laundry.
And the practice has isolated many residents because
friends and relatives are leery of visiting for fear of being
stopped by the police, the suit says. The latest suit, filed on
behalf of 13 plaintiffs by the New York Civil Liberties Union in
Manhattan Federal Court, claims that residents and their guests are
subject to arbitrary enforcement practices that violate
antidiscrimination provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act, as
well as their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search
Abdullah Turner, 24, was arrested on a trespassing charge as he waited on the sidewalk outside a building in the Bronx where a friend had stopped to drop off a sweater, the suit said. He never entered the lobby, the suit says. “I don’t come out at night — not because I’m afraid of getting hurt, but because of the police,” Fawn Bracy, 50, a plaintiff and a resident of the Bronx, said on Wednesday at a news conference in Manhattan.
“NYCLU Sues Over NYPD Program That Allows Cops To Stop Tenants Inside Buildings" By Joe Kemp, New York Daily News, March 28, 2012
A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the NYPD, claiming cops have made thousands of unjustified stops inside privately owned buildings. The class-action suit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union in Manhattan Federal District Court claims that many residents feel under seige by cops enforcing Operation Clean Halls.
The 20-year-old program — which includes a written agreement between cops and the landlords of about 16,000 buildings in the city — allows officers to enter and stop individuals who appear suspicious.... But several residents say the invitation inside has led to many officers harassing them while getting the mail, doing laundry or even making a run to the store. “For residents of Clean Halls buildings, taking the garbage out or checking the mail can result in being thrown against the wall and humiliated by police,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU.
“I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched the police throw my son and his friends against the wall,” said Fawn Bracy, 51, who shares her E. 163rd St. apartment in the Bronx with her 17-year-old son. “They can’t even go out to play basketball without being harassed by the police.”Bracy said her friends and family quit visiting her over a year ago, because they are often stopped by police and accused of trespassing.The lawsuit demands the NYPD change itspolicies to reduce the number of unjustified stops and arrests, along with awarding compensatory damages to several residents.
"NYPD Cop Arrested For Beating Man Into Coma At Inwood Nightclub" By Kirstan Conley, New York Post, March 28, 2012
An NYPD cop has been arrested for viciously beating a man into a coma at a troubled Inwood nightclub, police said. The Internal Affairs Bureau arrested rookie Ariel Frias, 27, this morning on misdemeanor assault charges in the Jan. 8, off-duty beating of Edwin Veloz at Mamajuana Café on Dyckman Street. The beating left Veloz with brain damage, court records show.... Dramatic video allegedly shows the cop and a pal punching the victim out cold.
"CCRB Gets [Limited] Power To Actually Prosecute NYPD Officers" By John Del Signore, The Gothamist, March 28, 2012
According to the Citizens Union, from 2002 to 2010, the CCRB [Civilian Complaint Review Board] recommended that 2,078 officers receive the most severe penalty, but that recommended punishment was given to only 151 officers....
The Civilian Complaint Review Board [CCRB] has been given the power to prosecute NYPD officers suspected of wrongdoing, according to an agreement reached by the City Council, the Mayor, and the NYPD Commissioner....
CCRB's incisors still aren't razor sharp. According to the City Council, the Police Commissioner will still have the power "to remove CCRB’s authority to prosecute such cases".... The CCRB must now establish a unit of qualified and experienced attorneys and support staff; funding for that will be taken up at the next City Council meeting.
"Activists Decry NYPD Monitoring Of Liberal Political Groups" By Tom Hays, Associated Press, March 28 2012
NEW YORK -- A coalition of politicians and civil rights activists criticized the New York Police Department on Wednesday for monitoring political groups that they say pose no threat to New Yorkers.... "We need some checks on the police department," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has called for the federal government to monitor the department....
The NYPD's Intelligence Division has been the subject of a series of Associated Press articles that illustrated how the department monitored Muslim neighborhoods, catalogued people who prayed at mosques and eavesdropped on sermons around the city and beyond.
Documents obtained by the AP show that the unit also kept close watch on political groups with no links to criminal activity. One document reveals that in 2008, an undercover NYPD officer traveled to New Orleans to attend the People's Summit, a gathering of liberal groups organized around their shared opposition to U.S. economic policy and the effect of trade agreements between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
“NYPD Sergeant Says Police Manipulated Crime Stats In Queens (with Video) ”By Christopher Robbins, March 26, 2012
An NYPD sergeant and 19-year veteran of the force says that cops systematically downgraded and misclassified serious crimes in Queens' 100th Precinct to pad crime stats, then transferred him to a graveyard shift in retaliation. "I just couldn't take it anymore," Sergeant Robert Borrelli told ABC of the pressure to manipulate crime statistics. "There came a point I finally broke and I'm like, you know, this has to stop." Sergeant Borrelli turned in hundreds of incident reports from the Precinct in the Rockaways to the NYPD's quality assurance bureau, and was told that only four of them were misclassified, and all due to "typical administrative errors"....
Borrelli taped a conversation with a crime victim, who
tells him she was urged to rush through the act of filling out a
police report — "keep it short and sweet,"— and also a conversation
with quality assurance officer who assure him that there was in
fact, egregious misclassifications. A police source tells the Post
that Borrelli's instance on accurate record-keeping is likely
responsible for the 100th Precinct's 144% jump in burglaries, 66%
rise in felony assaults, and 31% increase in robberies. “You could
correlate when he started looking at the [complaints] to the
increase in crime in this precinct."
“Whistleblower NYPD Cop Robert Borrelli Claims He Has Proof of Bogus Crime Statistics. Sergeant taped conversation with theft victim to back up his allegations” By Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News, March 26, 2012
An NYPD sergeant who complained his precinct was fudging crime statistics taped a conversation with a victim to back up his allegations. A Queens woman who reported her ex-boyfriend stole two flat-screen TVs told Sgt. Robert Borrelli that officers urged her not to write down what was taken.... Borrelli has told internal investigators that supervisors at the 100th Precinct cooked the books by classifying felonies as misdemeanors that wouldn’t affect the command's crime rate....In addition to the conversation with the waitress ripped off by her ex, Borrelli recorded conversations with investigators from the Quality Assurance Division in which he reported that crimes were not being documented.
“Gothamist Guide: How To Really Get An NYPD Press Pass” By Jake Dobkin, The Gothamist, March 26, 2012
Gothamist had to work tirelessly for nearly eight years to obtain official NYPD-issued press credentials. During that time, we learned a few things that might come in handy if you have to go through the process.
“Cop: I Was Punished For Blowing Whistle On Crime Stats” By Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News, March 25, 2012
An NYPD whistleblower says he’s been transferred to the graveyard shift at Bronx Central Booking in retaliation for raising red flags about crime reports at his old Queens precinct.
Sgt. Robert Borrelli told internal investigators that cops in the 100th Precinct in the Rockaways routinely downgraded crimes to keep the crime rate artificially low — and turned over the shady paperwork as proof.
The department’s Quality Assurance Division opened a probe last May, sources said, and already upgraded some of the crimes from misdemeanors to felonies — a development that Borrelli says earned him the unwanted transfer and shunning from fellow brothers in blue....
Borrelli told Quality Assurance Division investigators
that the crime report shenanigans flourished under now-retired
Deputy Inspector Thomas Barrett and continued under current precinct
commander Capt. Scott Olexa. “There is this constant pressure to
change crime reports,” Borrelli told the Daily News. “The numbers
are what the numbers are. I’m not going to change a report to make
it something it is not. “It’s wrong, and it has to stop.”
“After Detective’s Firing, Tensions Linger in Bell Case” By Al Baker, NY Times March 25, 2012
The dismissal of the undercover detective who fired the first of the 50 police bullets when Sean Bell was killed more than five years ago may close the final chapter of that drawn-out story.
But on the Queens streets near the site of Mr. Bell’s shooting, residents expressed anger, and resentments that remain unresolved. Some said it had taken far too long for the New York Police Department to punish the detective, Gescard F. Isnora. Others [observed that] ... the dismissal came just as the killing of a black teenager in Florida was stirring memories of the Bell case... [Police Commissioner] Kelly decided to accept the recommendation of an administrative judge who presides over police disciplinary cases that Detective Isnora be terminated, and he forced the retirements of three other officers who were involved in the shooting of Mr. Bell, 23, outside a club on Nov. 25, 2006, his wedding day.
On the blocks in Jamaica, Queens, near where Mr. Bell died, there was no shortage of opinions about Mr. Kelly’s decision. “It’s long overdue,” said Reina Alvarez, 30, a teacher from Rosedale. “It took too long for those guys to lose their jobs.” Rodney Travis, 31, who lives two blocks from where the shooting occurred, asked: “Why now? I don’t get it. It takes so long to get justice?”
Mr. Travis, a nurse’s aide, said that he did not think the police had changed their tactics since the Bell shooting, and that officers stop and frisk a lot of local residents. “I lived in this neighborhood a long time and there’s a lot of harassment,” Mr. Travis said. “It’s a regular thing over here. It’s not easy living in a neighborhood like this.”
Marion Spady, 45, a carpenter sitting outside a deli on Sutphin Boulevard, said that in light of the killing of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch member in Sanford, Fla., Mr. Kelly’s announcement was timed to “soothe people’s minds.” “A lot of people out here feel the New York City police force is overstepping their boundary with a lot of us; Sean Bell; frisking,” Mr. Spady said. “They did this to try and get the media off them.”
“Sean Bell killing: NYPD forces out four officers” By Dalina Castellanos, LA Times, March 25, 2012
More than five years have passed since New York police officers rained 50 bullets upon Sean Bell and two friends the day before Bell's wedding, killing the would-be bridegroom.
On Friday, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly fired Det. Gescard Isnora and fellow detectives Marc Cooper and Michael Oliver, and Lt. Gary Napoli will resign, after a department administrative trial that found they acted improperly that night in November 2006, the Associated Press reported.
“Young White Men Say Stop & Frisk Targets” By Simone Weichselbaum, New York Daily News, March 24, 2012
The 90th Precinct ranked fifth on the New York Civil Liberties Union’s top-10 list of precincts where the NYPD stopped, questioned — and sometimes frisked — the most in 2011. The NYCLU broke down the 17,566 stops by race, finding that whites in Williamsburg made up 10% of the [stop and frisk] reports.... The latest U.S. Census figures showed that whites make up about 59% of the 90th Precinct....
NYCLU stats showed that 88% of the Williamsburg stops involved blacks and Latinos.
“Protesters Speak Out Against NYPD Tactics At OWS Rally (Video)” By Lindsey Christ, NY 1 March 24, 2012
“Occupy Wall Street Demonstrators March To Protest Against Police Violence. Hundreds of demonstrators march from Zuccotti Park to Union Square chanting anti-police slogans” By Ryan Devereaux, The Guardian, March 24, 2012
Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators marched to protest against police violence and demand the resignation of New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly on Saturday afternoon.... One protester appeared to suffer an injured ankle and a plainclothes officer was seen blocking the camera of a New York Times photographer as he attempted to document an arrest....By early evening, there had been 14 arrests.
City councilman Jumaane Williams, a supporter of the
Occupy movement, was on hand for the march and attempted to
de-escalate confrontations between police and the protesters. "My
primary job is to make sure everybody's rights are protected and
nobody is harmed," Williams said. "I think we're seeing the
frustration and anger raised on both sides, the protesters and the
police and I blame that squarely on the mayor and the commissioner,"
he added. "They refuse to address the issues that we're trying to
discuss. They refuse to acknowledge there's a problem with the
culture within the NYPD."
"Family Of Ramarley Graham, Unarmed Black Teen Killed By NYPD, Rallies For Justice In The Bronx" (PHOTOS), By Huffinton Post, March 23, 2012
The family of Ramarley Graham, the unarmed Bronx 18-year-old shot and killed by an NYPD officer in February, says they will hold rallies and marches every Thursday for 18 weeks to demand justice, CBS reports....
Security footage from the February incident shows
Ramarley Graham entering his grandmother's home and police following
him shortly thereafter. Cops said they had witnessed Graham
participate in a drug deal and thought he had a gun. They illegally
entered the home without a search warrant.
Many have attributed Ramarley's death to the NYPD's aggressive "stop-and-frisk" progam, which disproportionately targets low-income minority neighborhoods, and to the NYPD's penchant for arresting low-level marijuana offenders. In 2011, the NYPD stopped and frisked more than 500,000 New Yorkers, 87 percent of them black or Latino.
“NYPD Infiltrated Liberal Political Groups, According To New Documents” By Associated Press, March 23, 2012
Undercover NYPD officers attended meetings of liberal political organizations and kept intelligence files on activists who planned protests around the country, according to interviews and documents that show how police have used counterterrorism tactics to monitor even lawful activities… In April 2008, an undercover NYPD officer traveled to New Orleans to attend the People's Summit, a gathering of liberal groups organized around their shared opposition to U.S. economic policy and the effect of trade agreements between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
“Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer Among Those Blasting NYPD For Providing 'Muddled' Data On Cop Stops. Outcry comes in response to NYCLU report listing nabes where controversial practice is widely used” By Simone Wechselbaum, NY Daily News, March 22, 2012
“The data doesn’t back up the rhyme or reason to random stop and frisk,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, whose borough counted one precinct on the NYCLU list. “We want the stops to be constitutional,” Stringer said. “We don’t want one group being targeted.”
“As NYPD’s Mission Widens, So Does Its Rift With FBI, Sometimes With Security Consequences” By Associated Press, March 21, 2012
The relationship between the FBI and the NYPD — particularly the NYPD Intelligence Division — is among the most studied collaborations in all law enforcement. In the New York media, the fighting and personalities are frequently covered like a dysfunctional celebrity marriage, with perceived betrayal and reconciliation spilling into the news.
The dispute is not trivial. At its core, it is based on fundamental disagreements between the nation's largest police force and the nation's premier counterterrorism agency. As the NYPD has transformed itself into one of the nation's most aggressive intelligence agencies and has spied on Muslims in ways that would be prohibited for the FBI, the rift has widened.
The result is that, in America's largest city, the NYPD and FBI are at times working at cross-purposes. Documents show that the NYPD conducted surveillance on mosques outside its jurisdiction, recording license plates of worshippers as they came and went. On its own, the NYPD has tried its hand at counterintelligence, the clandestine world that within the United States is run by the FBI under a presidential order....
The FBI, for example, says it was neither involved with nor aware of a 2007 NYPD intelligence operation that photographed and catalogued every mosque in Newark, N.J., and eavesdropped inside Muslim-owned businesses there. The FBI also did not know that the NYPD was in Paterson, N.J., collecting license plates outside a mosque and taking pictures as people arrived for Friday prayers. "They think their jurisdiction is the world. Their jurisdiction is New York City," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the state's former top federal prosecutor, said recently. "My concern is this kind of obsession that the NYPD seems to have that they're the masters of the universe."
"NYCLU Rips Grilling of Repless Susps in Qns [suspects without lawyers].” By Thomas Zambito, New York Daily News, March 20, 2012
“Any program where legally trained prosecutors intercept unrepresented suspects on their way to court and direct them into an interrogation room is unconstitutional and unethical,” said NYCLU lawyer Taylor Pendergrass. “The program should be ended immediately.”
“Occupy Wall Street Marchers Demand Police Commissioner's Resignation At NYPD Headquarters” By NY1 News, March 20, 2012
After police arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street participants over the weekend, protestors marched to New York City Police Department headquarters today to demand the resignation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "On Saturday night, as I simply sat in a park, I was violently arrested with my friends and watched as blood-thirsty cops stomped on their faces, knelt on their necks, pulled them by their hair and slammed them into windows," said Occupy Wall Street protestor Jen Waller.
“Top 10 Spots Where Cops Have Stopped, Questioned, And Frisked: New York Civil Liberties Union analyzes NYPD data” By Simone Weichselbaum, NY Daily News, March 19, 2012
Cops flooded high-crime city neighborhoods last year in Brooklyn and Uptown stopping and questioning hundreds of thousands of people - but gentrifying communities were also hammered with the controversial policing practice. The New York Civil Liberties Union gave The News an early look into its upcoming report analyzing NYPD’s stop and frisk program -- boiling down the department’s 2011 684,000 stops to the top ten precincts where the policy is used the most.
“Watch Ray Kelly And City Councilmember Lock Horns” By John Del Signore, The Gothamist, March 16, 2012
Remember that "heated" and "combative" City Council meeting with Ray Kelly we told you about? Now there's video, thanks to Azi Paybarah at Capital New York. The video, which might as well be titled "Ray Kelly Being A D*ck," shows that tense moment in yesterday's hearing where Kelly refused to answer Councilmember Robert Jackson's question about NYPD spokesman Paul Browne's credibility. In case you can't make it out, Kelly's initial response is to mutter "I won't even bother."
"For Detained Whistle-Blower, a Hospital Bill, Not an Apology" By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, March 15, 2012
It was not until 6 in the morning on Nov. 1, 2009, that
Officer Adrian Schoolcraft finally had access to a telephone. The
night before, he had been brought to the psychiatric emergency room
at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on the orders of his police
"At City Council Hearing, Police Commissioner Fights Back" By Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, March 15, 2012
For the last few weeks and months, Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner of New York, had taken his lumps over various issues, from his department’s handling of Occupy Wall Street to its surveillance practices and its reliance on stop-and-frisk tactics.... Mr. Kelly rebuked Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has accused the Police Department of racial profiling. Mr. Kelly suggested that it was he, and not the elected officials before him, who best represented the hope of the city’s African-American clergy who are concerned about seemingly intractable violence.
Mr. Williams has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the street-stop policies, which are being challenged in court. And at one point, Mr. Williams disputed the commissioner’s contention that the stop-and-frisks were succeeding in their stated purpose of intercepting armed criminals and discouraging people from carrying guns.... When Mr. Williams cited the results of a recent gun buyback program in his district — in which the authorities pay cash for guns with the tacit understanding that participants will not be prosecuted for possessing them — Mr. Kelly seemed slightly disdainful of the efficacy of such buybacks, even though they are a stalwart of the department’s gun-control strategy, and Mr. Kelly had earlier during his testimony cited such programs as successes.
“NYPD Stop-And-Frisk: NYC Councilmen Peter Vallone And Jumaane Williams Debate The Pros And Cons” By Christopher Mathias, The Huffington Post, March 14, 2012
New Yorkers are divided on the issue of NYPD stop-and-frisks. An effective tool in curbing crime and keeping guns off the streets? Or an invasion of civil liberties that disproportionately targets minorities? A new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday shows 49 percent percent of New York voters disapproving of the practice, with 46 percent approving. Broken down by race, white voters approve 59 - 36 percent, while disapproval is 68 - 27 percent among black voters and 52 - 43 percent among Hispanic voters … Below Councilman Williams argues against NYPD's current use of stop-and-frisks, while Councilman Vallone -- who, it should be noted, is the Chair of the City Council's Public Safety Committee -- defends it.
“An Officer Had Backup: Secret Tapes” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, March 13, 2012
One night in October 2009, a team of police officers,
led by a deputy chief, raided the home of a police officer named
Adrian Schoolcraft, and dragged him out of his bed and to the
psychiatric emergency room at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. He
was held for six days in a locked ward. No judge was involved. There
was no hearing. The decision to take him to the hospital was made
solely by armed men who happened to be his superior officers in the
Police Department with a vested interest in shutting him up.
“Poll: Most New Yorkers Say Muslims Treated Fairly” By Chris Hawley, Associated Press, March 13, 2012
The poll showed New Yorkers are more divided about the
policy of "stop-and-frisk," in which police can stop and question
people exhibiting suspicious behavior, such as moving furtively or
acting like lookouts. Of the 684,330 street stops last year, 87
percent of those targeted were black or Hispanic. The poll found
that 46 percent of New Yorkers approve of stop-and-frisk, while 49
“Bronx DA’s office convenes grand jury over cops shooting unarmed teen Ramarley Graham. Will determine whether to bring criminal charges” By Kevin Deutsch, New York Daily News, March 13, 2012
The Bronx district attorney's office has convened a grand jury to weigh possible criminal charges against cops involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen, sources said. Ramarley Graham was killed by Officer Richard Haste in his parent's Williamsbridge apartment Feb. 2 after cops thought they spotted him with a gun and chased him there. After bursting into the apartment, Haste confronted the teen in the bathroom and fired the fatal shot as Graham's grandmother and 6-year-old brother looked on.
Only a bag of marijuana was found near Graham's body.
“NYPD Treating Protesters Like Muslims” By Joe Coscarelli, New York Times, March 12, 2012
It's no longer a secret that Muslims anywhere near New York City have been extensively tracked and cataloged by the NYPD, whether or not they pose a threat to security. Today, the New York Times reports that Occupy Wall Street protesters ... are being treated in much the same way, at least according to their lawyers. "Not only are the police disrupting people's rights to free expression," said an attorney for a group of demonstrators who were arrested — but not prosecuted — while buying coffee on a planned "day of action" last year. "They are taking preemptive steps by arresting people who might be just thinking about exercising their rights."
“A Crack in the FBI's Wall of Silence” By Len Levitt, Huffington Post, March 12, 2012
The New Jersey FBI head who publicly criticized the NYPD's widespread spying on Newark's Muslims had the green light from FBI headquarters for a rare rebuke of NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, sources said.... "They didn't say, 'Don't do it.' They could easily have stopped it," said one of his former Bureau colleagues.
At a news conference last week, Ward said that the NYPD's spying on Muslim businesses and mosques has damaged relations between the FBI and Newark's Muslims, making it more difficult to protect the public. "There's no correlation between the location of houses of worship and minority-owned businesses and counterterrorism" work, Ward said. By generating distrust, the NYPD operation created "more risk," he said.
“NYPD Report Confirms Manipulation of Crime Stats” By Chris Francescani, Reuters, March 9, 2012
A New York Police Department whistleblower's report that his precinct was systematically underreporting crime - an act that resulted in a suspension and time in a psychiatric ward - has been validated by an internal department investigation. The report, completed in 2010 but not made public, comes amid growing scrutiny of the NYPD and its declining crime statistics. Those stats have helped build a narrative that New York City has become, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg likes to say, "the safest big city in America."
In September of 2009, Officer Adrian Schoolcraft of the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn met confidentially with NYPD investigators and provided evidence - including secret audio recordings he had made - that more than a dozen crime reports had been manipulated. He charged felonies had been downgraded, crime reports taken were never filed, and in still other cases, crime victims were discouraged from filing complaints at all. Weeks later, on Halloween night, he was taken from his apartment in handcuffs to the psychiatric ward of Jamaica Hospital, where he claimed he was held against his will for six days....
Reuters has viewed a copy of the internal NYPD report, which determined there was a "concerted effort to deliberately underreport crime in the 81st Precinct".... "When viewed in their totality," investigators wrote in the internal report, "a disturbing pattern is prevalent and gives credence to the allegation that crimes are being improperly reported in order to avoid index-crime classifications"....
Schoolcraft's allegations, along with similar charges in the past year from other officers at other precincts, as well as police union officials and former cops, have ratcheted up the pressure on NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly to address what many current and former cops say is an open secret within the department: crime statistics are being manipulated.
"This is absolutely unconscionable," said retired NYPD Captain John Eterno, co-author of "The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation," a critical look at the NYPD's widely replicated "CompStat" program.
"This is the underbelly of the program: the (crime) numbers are being gamed, plain and simple, and the numbers are being gamed because the (police district) commanders are under tremendous pressure to make the numbers look good. This is happening all over the city," Eterno said.
Eterno and co-author Eli Silverman surveyed 400 retired NYPD captains during the research for their book. More than 100 said they were "aware of manipulation that was unethical," he said.
“NYPD Officer Guilty of Lying About Drug, Gun Bust” By Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press, March 8, 2012
In June, Eiseman — who had been assigned to train new
officers — pleaded guilty to lying to cover up unjustified street
stops and seizures and illegally searching cars. Besides the
fake claim about how the officers learned about the guns and drugs
in the August 2007 incident, Eiseman pretended he'd smelled
marijuana smoke to justify stopping that man in the first place,
prosecutors said. He also admitted to fabrications in two other
“No Word Yet on Review of Police’s Crime-Tracking System” By Al Baker, New York Times, March 8, 2012
It has been 14 months since Police Commissioner Raymond
W. Kelly, in January 2011, appointed a panel of former federal
prosecutors to study the integrity of the department’s internal
crime-reporting system. Many people wonder when the Crime Reporting
Review Panel will issue its findings, or even if it already has and
the commissioner has not disclosed them.
“Holder Disturbed by Reports on New York Police Surveillance of New Jersey Muslims”, By Al Baker, New York Times, March 8, 2012
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday that he found “disturbing’’ recent disclosures about the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim communities in New Jersey. Mr. Holder’s remarks are the strongest comments to date from the federal Justice Department about the Police Department’s counterterrorism programs, which have generated increasing controversy and criticism, including from the governor of New Jersey and the head of the Newark office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, said
during the hearing that Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Cory A. Booker
of Newark were each apparently unaware of the monitoring efforts in
New Jersey being carried out by New York City police officers.
“Attorney General (AG) disturbed by NYPD Muslim spying program in NJ”, Associated Press, March 8, 2012
Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday he's disturbed by what he's read about the New York Police Department conducting surveillance of mosques and Islamic student organizations in New Jersey. Holder said the Justice Department is reviewing the matter, including letters from New Jersey officials complaining that they were kept in the dark about the surveillance.
The attorney general's remarks came at a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee when asked by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., how one law enforcement agency could spy on another state's residents without notifying authorities. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were apparently "unaware of this large-scale investigation," Lautenberg said.... "At least what I've read publicly, and again, just what I've read in the newspapers, is disturbing," Holder said. "And these are things that are under review at the Justice Department."
The New York police monitored Muslims in New Jersey at businesses and their mosques in a surveillance operation that was disclosed recently by The Associated Press in a series of news stories.
Religious leaders of different faiths are joining with New Jersey Muslims in demanding reassurance from authorities that no one is being spied on because of their faith. At an event in Jersey City featuring mosque, synagogue and church leaders Thursday, several speakers expressed solidarity with Muslims who felt that reports of the New York Police Department conducting surveillance of mosques and Muslim student groups in New Jersey and elsewhere had crossed the line beyond acceptable counter-terrorism methods.
“Nightclub Owners Sue NYPD Over Padlocking Businesses Under Nuisance Law, Say Cops Abuse Statute To Shut Them Down” By Barbara Ross, Daily News, March 8, 2012
Angry Hispanic nightclub and restaurant owners say the NYPD is harassing them and filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to get the cops off their backs. Railing against “Padlock Kelly” and holding up banners that read “Latinos Are Americans Too,” about 100 demonstrators staged a noisy protest outside police headquarters to send a message to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly....
The NYPD targets Hispanic business owners because they are “the most vulnerable” and ignores underage drinking that goes on in richer neighborhoods of the city, Mateo charged. “You don’t go to Fifth Ave. in Manhattan and padlock. You don’t do it on Park Ave.,” said state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn.) “You shouldn’t do it in Washington Heights.”...
Caesar Brito, who owns the Luna Nightclub on Webster Ave. in the Bronx, said cops raided him last October without warning. They “threw everybody out,” he said. “There were 74 people there who had paid to be at a party. We had a big band performing." Brito said it took him three weeks, a lawsuit against the city, and $20,000 in legal fees before he could reopen. Ultimately the only violation that stood up was that his public assembly permit had expired, he said.
“NYPD, Mayor's Office Bizarrely Mum On NYPD Tapes Revelations” By Graham Rayman, Village Voice, March 8, 2012
Well, so far, two days after the Voice disclosed the results of a secret NYPD investigation which vindicated Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft's allegations about the downgrading of crimes, the NYPD has been officially silent, but for one brief comment from its spokesman. The mayor's office hasn't said a word either.
Thus far, the extent of what the NYPD has said is
contained in a single paragraph in a New York Daily News article
from Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the department spokesman.
There's a serious 'through the looking glass' element to his
remarks: Browne told the News "it is not unusual for internal
reports to stay private. He also said the report, prepared by the
Quality Assurance Division, shows Schoolcraft's accusations were
“2010 NYPD Investigation Validates Whistleblower Officer's Claims About Underreported crimes” New York Post Staff Writers, March 8, 2012
The NYPD kept hidden a report for nearly two years that validated a whistleblower officer's claims -- showing that officers misplaced, misclassified, altered and rejected crime reports in Brooklyn's 81st Precinct, according to a new report. NYPD completed a report by June 2010 addressing accusations made by officer Adrian Schoolcraft, the Village Voice reports. The previous year, Schoolcraft argued that the Bed Stuy precinct's cops were pressured to lower the number of reported serious index crimes -- such as robberies, assaults and auto theft. He's been suspended without pay for 27 months and forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation.
According to the Village Voice, the 95-page report investigators uncovered "a disturbing pattern ... incidative of a concerted effort to deliberately underreport crimes in the 81st Precinct." Police sources told The Village Voice that investigators found similar practices being carried out in other precincts. An NYPD spokesman did not respond to The Village Voice report.
“NYPD Cops Who Beat Jateik Reed Not Being Investigated By Bronx DA; Charges Against Reed Dropped (VIDEO)” Huffington Post, March 8, 2012
[Video of several NYPD officers beating a man (Jateik Reed) with sticks and feet]
Bronx DA Johnson's office had refused to conduct an investigation of the officers unless Reed agreed to forfeit some basic rights. Reed's attorney, Gideon Oliver, explained to Gothamist why he advised his client against this:
“Telling the Truth Like Crazy” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, March 8, 2012
One summer day in 2009, a woman walked into the police
station house of the 81st Precinct, in Brooklyn, to report that her
car had been stolen. She was well into her second day of trying to
file a report, having already spoken to five or more officers in two
precincts and was waiting, exasperated, for a lieutenant to turn up
as he had promised.
“Get A McDonald's Happy Meal For Every Third Stop And Frisk! (Wink!)” Gothamist, March 6, 2012
In an obvious parody that we really wish was real, a website claiming to be affiliated with McDonald's and the NYPD is promising a free Happy Meal for every person who is stopped and frisked three times without charges.
"Attorney General: Review Beginning in NYPD Muslim Spying Case," By J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press and USA Today, Feb 29, 2012
Months after receiving complaints about the New York Police Department's surveillance of entire American Muslim neighborhoods, the Justice Department is just beginning a review to decide whether to investigate civil rights violations. The announcement bothered some Democrats, who said they were under the impression the Justice Department had been reviewing the matter since last late last year.
Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the NYPD has built databases pinpointing where Muslims live, where they buy groceries, what Internet cafes they use and where they watch sports. Dozens of mosques and student groups have been infiltrated, and police have built detailed profiles of Moroccans, Egyptians, Albanians and other local ethnic groups. The NYPD surveillance extended outside New York City to neighboring New Jersey and Long Island and colleges across the Northeast.
Holder told Congress that police seeking to monitor activities by citizens "should only do so when there is a basis to believe that something inappropriate is occurring or potentially could occur." ... Holder did not suggest that a Justice Department investigation of the NYPD was imminent.... That surprised Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., one of the first lawmakers to ask the Justice Department to scrutinize the NYPD's operations. "They very definitely gave me the sense that they were farther along in their investigation than just reviewing some mail," Holt said....
The AP has reported that some of the NYPD's activities — such as its 2006 surveillance of Masjid Omar, a mosque in Paterson, N.J. — could not have been performed under federal rules unless the FBI believed that the mosque itself was part of a criminal enterprise. Even then, federal agents would need approval from senior FBI and Justice Department officials.
At the NYPD, however, such monitoring was common, former police officials said. Federal law enforcement officials told the AP that the mosque itself was never under federal investigation and they were unaware the NYPD was monitoring it so closely. According to secret police files obtained by the AP, the NYPD instructed its officers to watch the mosque and, as people came and went from the Friday prayer service, investigators were to record license plates and photograph and videotape those attending. The file offered no evidence of criminal activity.
The FBI also would be prohibited from keeping police files on innocuous statements that imams made during sermons, which the NYPD did. In addition, the FBI would not be allowed to keep police files on Muslim students for discussing academic conferences online and would not be allowed to build databases of Americans who changed their names to ones sounding Arabic, which the NYPD did....
Since late August, 34 members of Congress, Muslim civil rights groups and most recently Ivy League universities and New Jersey officials have asked the Justice Department to investigate the NYPD's intelligence division. The Obama administration has pointedly refused to endorse or repudiate the NYPD programs, which the AP reported Monday are at least partly funded under a White House federal grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes.
"Our examination of this has been limited at least at this point to the letters that have come in," Holder said. "We're only beginning our review. I don't know if federal funds were used."
Holder said there were 17 or 18 Justice Department investigations about how police around the country interact with citizens. "I'm not saying that will be something we would do here, but if we think that there's a basis for it, we will do that," Holder said.
Federal investigations into police departments typically focus on police abuse or racial profiling in arrests. Since 9/11, the Justice Department has never publicly investigated a police department for its surveillance in national security investigations.
“Coalition Says Unfair, Ineffective NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Policy Has To Change:
In 2011, the NYPD recorded an 684,000 stop-and-frisk encounters with the public” Daily News, February 29, 2012
As the choir of Bethany Baptist Church in Harlem sang to a packed crowd of Sunday morning worshipers, the Rev. Kris Erskine waited in the narrow church vestibule to greet his invited speaker, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Stringer was there to urge change in a Police Department policy that has stirred growing fury — and not merely in the city’s black and brown communities. That policy is called stop-and-frisk.
“I heard from my church members all the time about their
sons being grabbed, thrown on the ground and searched for no
reason,” Erskine said. “Something has to be done about this.”
In 88% of the cases, the people stopped were innocent.
Only 6% of stops result in any kind of arrest, and many of those are
for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
“NYPD Detective Douglas Strong Admits To Taking La Parilla Waitress's Panties”
Huffington Post, February 29, 2012
An NYPD detective currently under investigation for drinking on-duty and sexually assaulting a waitress has admitted to snatching the woman's panties. Detective Douglas Strong's lawyer describes the incident, "She falls asleep and he covers her up with a blanket. He did not have sex with her. He did not have intercourse with her. Apparently, he did take her panties."
Strong is one of four officers being probed for
allegedly boozing on the job at Parilla steakhouse in Washington
Heights, after video footage surfaced of the officers enjoying a
four hour lunch break with wine. The officers were placed on
modified duty and stripped of their guns and badges. But adding to
the department's headache is the more serious allegation that a
waitress fell asleep at the restaurant and woke up to Strong
inappropriately touching her. She also claims that she witnessed a
large sum of cash being handed off between the officers.
“Pot Busts Are Up — And Jeffries Pushes Decriminalization Bill” By Kyle Thomas McGovern, New York Times, February 29, 2012
Low-level marijuana arrests in the 88th Precinct have nearly tripled — and fort Greene’s assemblyman said the numbers prove his point about the need for major drug reform. Police officers at the 88th Precinct made 26 misdemeanor marijuana arrests in January, up from 10 such collars during the same period last year, according to District Attorney Charles Hynes. The arrest spike came even as such low-level pot busts have leveled off citywide, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
“Columbia University to Investigate NYPD's Muslim Spy Scheme" By Victoria Bekiempis, Village Voice, February 29, 2012
Columbia University plans on investigating reports that
the New York Police Department, which spied on Muslims at
Northeastern universities, targeted students at the Ivy League
institution, according to The Associated Press (via Wall Street
Journal.) At a university meeting Tuesday, Provost John H.
Coatsworth said that Columbia and the college's own police
department were working to figure out the extent of the NYPD's spy
scheme. They weren't sure how much the NYPD investigated Columbia,
the AP says.
Months after receiving complaints about the New York Police Department's surveillance of entire American Muslim neighborhoods, the Justice Department is just beginning a review to decide whether to investigate civil rights violations.
“Bronx Residents Sound Off On Charges By Veteran Cop That 42nd Precinct Uses An Illegal Quota System: Police Officer Craig Matthews filed federal lawsuit against city and NYPD brass” By Daniel Beekman, Daily News, February 27, 2012
A veteran NYPD cop made waves last week when he claimed his Bronx precinct is ruled by an illegal quota system. But some residents in the 42nd Precinct have long suspected that stop-and-frisk quotas are being used, they told the Daily News.
Officer Craig Matthews filed a federal lawsuit in which he contends the precinct supervisors set minimum numbers that were expected of each officer in a given 30-day period: 15 summonses, 1 arrest and 2 street stops.
Darrell Vega, 21, applauded Matthews’ action. "I believe it," said Vega, walking near the 42nd Precinct station house. "The cops do it to me all the time. They stop and frisk me. They tell me I look suspicious because I have my hands in my jacket.
“Ray Kelly Calls Stop-And-Frisk Criticism "Pandering" By Christopher Robbins, The Gothamist
February 27, 2012
Shawn Portuguez wouldn't make it to his 3 p.m. trim at a barbershop in the Lower East Side because he was in handcuffs. "They said I crossed the street three times, so that's why they stopped me," Portuguez said as he stood waiting for the two NYPD officers to check his information on Thursday. "I just left my apartment for the first time today." Police took Portuguez away after he was told he had an outstanding warrant, but a DCPI spokesman says no arrest record exists for the encounter.
87% of the 684,330 people stopped by the NYPD last year under the department's stop-and-frisk program were black or Latino, a statistic that has Manhattan Borough President and likely mayoral candidate Scott Stringer calling for the NYPD to take a different approach. "We question whether this policy works…and we question why we're just targeting a certain segment of our city," Stringer said yesterday at a rally to end stop-and-frisk in its current form.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly called Stringer's comments "pandering" in an interview with Rep. Peter King this morning, pointing again to a 50% drop in murders over the course of the "Bloomberg decade" to 5,430 killed. Referring to those numbers, Kelly said, "Of course the vast majority of those lives…are people of color, young men of color," which appears to allude as to why the NYPD stops a disproportionate amount of blacks and Latinos.
"You can say, 'our policy is justified because this is where crime happens,' " Kirsten John Foy, aide to the Public Advocate said in a press conference earlier this month. "But you can't say this isn't about race and then say most of 'them' commit the crimes." Councilman Jumaane Williams had a more succinct word for that sort of rationalization: "That's bullshit."
It's possible that Portuguez received a summons for whatever transgression was on his record, a DCPI representative told us, but he wouldn't be able to access that information. When the police run a suspect's information, they learn if the suspect has an outstanding warrant or not: the reason isn't specified. "He could owe money on a ticket or he could be a murderer," the officer who detained Portuguez said. "Or they could have turned him loose at the 7th Precinct," the DCPI rep noted. "There's just no record that he was arrested on that occasion."
"All of us believe that there is a constitutional way to do stop and frisk," Stringer said yesterday. "None of us are suggesting that the police never interact with the community…There's constitutional ways to do it, and there has to be a standard."
“Police Monitoring and a Climate of Fear” By Michael Powell, New York Times, February 27, 2012
The counterman and his cook, as the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division describes them in a secret report on Newark, are “persons of Jordanian descent.” There is another way to describe them: they are American citizens in the throes of a rather un-American fear of speaking. “I talk, they keep coming,” the counterman says, wagging his head, apologetic. Our conversation has finished. “They” are undercover New York City officers.
“They” are undercover New York City officers. Last week, The Associated Press broke the news that the Intelligence Division of the New York police had extended its writ hundreds of square miles east and west, carefully detailing mosques, dollar stores and restaurants, from Konak’s Turkish Cuisine in Farmingville, on Long Island, to this luncheonette on the western edge of Newark. They carefully recorded names, license plates and nationalities.
Another Associated Press report found that undercover city officers kept a close eye on Muslim students at Yale, Columbia, Syracuse, Rutgers, New York University, Brooklyn College and public state universities. One officer took a white-water rafting trip with students; he reported they prayed five times a day. College presidents are often more interested in high finance than political dudgeon, but several spoke out this time. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey also talked of his disquiet, and Senator Robert Menendez called for an investigation.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly sounded aggressively uninterested in apology. “Everything the N.Y.P.D. has done is legal,” the mayor said.
As for the complaints of Yale’s president? “I don’t know,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale.”
New York’s politicians, with a few exceptions, galloped in behind. Senator Charles E. Schumer defended the police, as did Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The Daily News columnist Mike Lupica scored with Mr. Kelly, who gave the back of his hand to New Jersey’s political class. “As far as I can tell, it was a knee-jerk response,” the commissioner told him. “Maybe it was just political instincts at work.”
MR. LUPICA, a tough-guy typist, offered a coda. Of Mr. Kelly, he opined, “not only should he not apologize for doing that, he should tell any politician who doesn’t like it” to bug off, though he puts it more crudely.
The New York Post as ever went three yards beyond. It published an arsonist’s bonfire of a cartoon. It showed three hook-nosed, bearded and turbaned terrorists, one of whom is calling The A.P. to complain of police spying.
“Good Stop and Frisk Video Testimony “Exclusive: Stopped, Frisked and Speaking Out” By Lindsey Groot, New York Times, February 27, 2012
The Police Department stopped and questioned more than 684,000 people last year. Close to 90 percent were black and Latino. Civil liberties groups have protested, but rarely do we hear from the men who are so frequently stopped, virtually all of them guilty of nothing except having the same skin color as someone for whom police are looking. Filmmakers Lindsey Groot and Robin Antonisse talked to four victims of “stop-and-frisk” in this exclusive video.Lindsey Groot and Robin Antonisse are two Dutch filmmakers who joined The Local for a fortnight in February as part of a journalistic exchange program.
“NYPD: 4 Detectives Suspected Of Drinking On The Job” CBS, February 25, 2012
The officers allegedly went to the steakhouse and drank while on duty. One of them may have sexually assaulted a waitress or paid her for sex in a back room.
“Stop-and-Frisk Critics Unite Under One Police Reform Campaign” By Sam Levin, Village Voice, February, 24, 2012
Criticism of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices have come from a wide range of elected officials and advocacy groups across the city. Now, in an effort to bolster the campaign for increased police accountability, dozens of organizations are joining forces under the umbrella of one campaign that aims to make the topic of police reform a major one in the upcoming mayoral election.
The new coalition, Communities United for Police Reform, or CPR, is officially launching this month with a "Week of Action" starting Sunday and has already brought together, thus far, around 30 organizations that support the cause....
This latest push to bring stop-and-frisk reform talk into the forefront also has strong support from some in the City Council, notably vocal NYPD critic Councilman Jumaane Williams -- who is proposing legislation that would require cops to give out business cards when they stop people.....
"A lot of our organizations have relationships with each other and have been doing work around police reform accountability for years," said Yul-san Liem, a member of an organization called the Justice Committee, which is one of the steering committees of CPR. "At this point...we recognize that it's an epidemic," she said of stop-and-frisk. "It's time to come together in a very coordinated multi-sectored way to demand that the problem be changed."
The glaring statistics are a major motivating factor for the effort, she said. "All of the organizations in CPR feel like the new stop-and-frisk statistics are an outrage." This kind of diverse, unified effort -- that is bringing together research, outreach, education, and policy experts -- is unprecedented in the push for police accountability in the city, Liem said. "This is the first time this kind of work is so tightly coordinated across sectors." Stop-and-frisk is the central target of the campaign, though Liem said there are many other related concerns such as the NYPD's policies relating to the homeless and police treatment of LGBT New Yorkers.
At a press conference on education this afternoon, Runnin' Scared stopped Councilman Robert Jackson -- who is very likely to run for Manhattan borough president -- and asked him his thoughts on the campaign. "What it does is it helps to bring focus to the issue. It helps bring transparency and hopefully will bring more accountability," Jackson said, adding that this kind of effort is especially important given the latest controversy around the NYPD spying on Muslim student groups. After we asked him how he thought this campaign could impact the 2013 mayoral elections, he said, "It will become an issue, and I think that mayoral candidates are going to have to speak up and ask for transparency and accountability and not in essence spying on people just because of their religions. That's a no-brainer."
Liem said that influencing elections is an important part of the new campaign. "We want...New Yorkers to demand that this be a big issue in the coming 2013 mayoral race. We will be letting folks know where candidates stand on the issue, demanding that candidates speak up about the issue. We are in this for the long haul."
“Councilman Jumaane Williams wants police to cough up business cards after stop-and-frisks” By Reuven Blau, Daily News, February 24, 2012
A Brooklyn City Councilman with a history of run-ins with police will introduce a bill next week that will require cops to produce a business card every time they do a stop-and-frisk. There’s a lot of inherent tension when a police officer stops someone,” he said Thursday. “There’s a lot of mistrust in the community. I think a lot of that can be eased by officers identifying themselves so people know what’s happening.” Williams’ business card proposal is part of a three-part bill aimed at protecting New Yorkers from unlawful police searches. In addition to barring race-based profiling, it also makes it a no-no to profile potential perps based on age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status and other characteristics.
Also, the bill would require cops to alert a target that they have the right to refuse to give consent to a search. Williams’ business card proposal has been standard operating procedure for uniformed police in Portland, Ore., for two years. Similar rules are also in place for state cops in Colorado and Arkansas, and for police in Minneapolis, Williams said.
“Bronx Police Precinct Accused of Using Quota System” By Al Baker, New York Times, February 23, 2012
A police station house in the Bronx has a strict quota system that requires officers to produce a minimum number of arrests, summonses and street stops each month, a civil rights group claims in a federal lawsuit that contends the system has turned officers against one another.
So regimented are the demands for numbers that supervisors in the 42nd Precinct began keeping color-coded charts to track officers’ productivity, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Black ink used on those charts — known as officer activity reports — means that an officer is meeting quotas; silver ink means that only some of the quotas are being met; and red ink denotes officers’ meeting no quotas at all, according to the lawsuit, which the New York Civil Liberties Union filed on behalf of Officer Craig Matthews, a 14-year veteran.
Officer Matthews contends that the quota system has created animosity among officers at the station house. Since December, an officer has been posted at the locker room to keep officers who oppose the system from damaging the lockers of those who hew to it.
This assignment is among the odder ones. And it is often a busy one, according to the complaint. Lockers have been flipped and plastered shut, said Christopher T. Dunn, of the civil liberties group. Some, he said, have been dislodged and hauled off to the showers, where they have been drenched in water.
“NYPD Officer's Federal Lawsuit Says Bronx Precinct Used Illegal Arrest Quotas” By Colleen Long, Associated Press, February 23, 2012
Matthews said in the suit that the quota system in the 42 precincts pitted police officers against each other, straining professional relationships. Officers who complied with quotas had their lockers overturned, tossed in the showers, or plastered shut, the suit said. The practice of "locker flipping" escalated so much that on-duty officers are assigned to protect the locker room around the clock. The suit said Matthews' civil rights were violated.
“NYCLU Files Federal Lawsuit On Behalf Of NYPD Officer, Alleged Victim Of Retaliation Suit: Officer Craig Matthews Harassed Over Reporting Illegal Quota System” CBS News, February 23, 2012
Officers who fail to meet the quotas are highlighted in red ink on the reports and subject to a wide range of retaliation, according to the lawsuit. Officer Craig Matthews, a 14-year veteran of the NYPD, repeatedly reported it to the precinct’s commanding officers, according to the lawsuit.
In retaliation, the NYCLU says Matthews has been given punitive assignments, has been denied overtime and leave, has been separated from his longtime partner, has been given poor evaluations, and has been subjected to constant harassment and threats. “Quotas lead to illegal arrests, summonses, and stop-and-frisks, and they undermine trust between the police and residents,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the case. “Officer Matthews chose to expose this abusive system, and in response his supervisors have made his life miserable. We believe quotas are a problem throughout the NYPD, and we’re confident the courts will put a stop to this unlawful retaliation.”
The lawsuit, filed on Matthews’ behalf in Manhattan federal court, asks the court to declare that the NYPD’s retaliatory actions violate the officer’s free speech rights under the First Amendment and the New York Constitution.
The NYCLU says it will soon will file a separate complaint seeking to have the quota system declared illegal under New York Labor Law. Together, the two actions seek to stop all alleged retaliation against Matthews.
“NYCLU Lawsuit Challenges Punitive Quota System in Bronx Precinct” by NYCLU, February 23, 2012
The New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal lawsuit challenging the repeated retaliation against a veteran police officer who has disclosed the use of an illegal quota system for arrests, summonses and stop-and-frisk encounters in the 42nd Precinct in the Bronx.
According to the lawsuit, supervisors in the Bronx precinct have developed a detailed quota system, which includes regular color-coded computer reports used to track compliance with quotas. Officers who fail to meet the quotas are highlighted in red ink on the reports and subject to a wide range of retaliation. Recognizing that the quota system is illegal and abusive, Officer Craig Matthews repeatedly reported it to the precinct’s commanding officers. In retaliation, he has been given punitive assignments, denied overtime and leave, separated from his longtime partner, given poor evaluations, and subjected to constant harassment and threats.
“Police Unit Faces Scrutiny After Fatal Shooting in the Bronx” By Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, February 22, 2012
The police officers in the Street Narcotics Enforcement Units could be called the grunts in New York’s antidrug efforts. Untrained in undercover work, they are limited to making arrests after they witness a drug deal, often observed from afar through binoculars. No drug dealer is too small time, and they arrest customers, too. They take vans with them to suspected drug locations, hoping to fill them with prisoners.
One man who was in their sights on Feb. 2 was Ramarley Graham, 18, of the Wakefield section of the Bronx. Something about how he moved his hands near his waist led the officers to suspect he might be armed, according to the Police Department’s account of the events that transpired. And when Mr. Graham slipped away, the officers in the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit of the 47th Precinct did not let it go — or wait for backup. They trailed him as he returned to his building, the door locking behind him. After a delay, the officers got inside and kicked their way into Mr. Graham’s apartment. In the bathroom, one officer fatally shot Mr. Graham in the chest. He was apparently unarmed, and a bag of marijuana was in the toilet bowl next to him.
The Bronx district attorney and the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating the shooting, but in interviews, more than a half-dozen police officials — from detectives to commanders — picked apart the decisions made that day by the members of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit, known as S.N.E.U., and raised troubling questions about their actions. Most prominent, the police officials questioned the team’s aggressiveness and its decision to pursue Mr. Graham on its own. Why, as they milled outside the locked front door to his building, did the officers go in after him without waiting for a specialized team trained to take down doors and clear rooms? They also questioned why the unit’s officers used a narrow tactical radio frequency to alert their colleagues in the van that Mr. Graham might be armed, rather than issue a warning on a more heavily trafficked channel that would have drawn other police units to the scene. A detective with experience in narcotics work suggested that the better approach would have been to use “caution and slow things down.” “We’re not chasing after Pablo Escobar here,” said the detective, who, along with others interviewed, spoke anonymously because he had not been authorized to speak to the news media.
Officials in the district attorney’s office, who are considering whether to seek criminal charges against the officer for the fatal shooting, were struck from the start by what they felt were the inexperience and the limited training that the unit’s officers had, according to a law enforcement official who was briefed on the early stages of the investigation. The Police Department has acknowledged that the officer who shot Mr. Graham, Richard Haste, had never received the classroom instruction required of officers in the street narcotics unit. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has stripped Officer Haste, 30, who joined the department in 2008, and his sergeant, Scott Morris, of their guns and badges and has placed them on modified duty....
After the shooting, Mr. Kelly ordered a review of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Units, which for much of the past two decades have been making thousands of arrests each year with little attention or controversy. As street-corner drug deals have declined in some areas of the city, many of the 76 police precincts have disbanded their Street Narcotics Enforcement Units; there are only 36 left. Sergeant Morris had been leading the unit in the 47th Precinct for at least two years, one person familiar with the team said.... For young officers, the units are considered a stepping stone along the path to a detective’s shield. But because the units’ officers are not trained investigators, they lack authorization for undercover work and are prohibited from buying drugs in so-called buy and bust operations. Instead they focus on visible sidewalk transactions....
Officers from the unit’s van jumped out and tried to stop Mr. Graham, according to Mr. Kelly. A surveillance video from Mr. Graham’s building shows him sauntering up to the front door. He looks over his shoulder before entering, and as the door closes behind him, officers in police windbreakers come running. One officer repeatedly kicks the door, the video shows, but could not break in. A lawyer for the Graham family, Jeffrey Emdin, said Mr. Graham had not been fleeing the police, but had returned home to drop off his keys with his grandmother and change his clothes before heading back out to meet a group of women. The officers were eventually let in by a tenant, according to Mr. Kelly. Officer Haste and others went to the second floor and kicked open the door to Mr. Graham’s apartment....
Several current and retired officers had different opinions about whether the officers’ decision to enter the home was correct. One option, some said, would have been to seek assistance from a specialized police unit, like the Emergency Service Unit, whose members are trained to clear homes of armed people barricaded inside..... “Once the door is shut and he tries to kick the door and fails, that’s when your hot pursuit really ended,” said Robert E. Brown, a former police captain and a criminal defense lawyer.... Mr. Leader, the retired sergeant, said, “If you think he has a weapon, call for emergency services, call for the big boys, call for backup.”
“Cops Arrest Five Public School Kids Each Day” By Ben Chapman, Daily News, February 22, 2012
The New York Civil Liberties Union said the arrests are “unfair” and introduce minority children into the criminal justice system unnecessarily. “Children are being sent to the precinct instead of the principal’s office for misbehaving,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.
The numbers cover Oct. 1 to Dec. 30, 2011, and were released by the police to comply with a city law enacted last year. Cops arrested 279 students -- about five a day in 55 days of classes. They also issued 532 summons to students for offenses ranging from assault to loitering -- nine a day. Nearly 94% of the students arrested were black or Hispanic, and 75 % were male. Black students were almost six times more likely to be arrested than white students, according to the data, Lieberman said.
“Stop-and-Frisk Opponents Set Sights on Mayoral Race” By Kate Taylor, New York Times, February 21, 2012
Two dozen advocacy and grass-roots organizations, seeking to make police conduct an issue in the 2013 mayoral campaign, said Tuesday that they were forming a coalition to raise awareness of what they consider racially discriminatory practices by the New York Police Department.
Leaders of the groups involved, which include the Legal Aid Society, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said they planned to pressure political candidates to take positions on controversial practices, like stop-and-frisk, that disproportionately affect low-income minorities.
“We will make it impossible to run for citywide office in New York City without taking a position on stop-and-frisk,” Udi Ofer, the advocacy director at the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, adding that the coalition, called Communities United for Police Reform, would also inform voters about “which candidates stand which way on this issue.”
Robert Gangi, the director of the Police Reform Organizing Project at the Urban Justice Center, a member of the coalition, said he believed that there was unlikely to be significant change in policing under the current administration, and so advocates were focused on the elections. “It’s basically to exploit the opportunity of the campaign to make it more and more a part of the citywide debate,” he said of the coalition.
As one of its first steps, the coalition is supporting legislation, set to be introduced in the City Council as early as next week, that would strengthen the Police Department’s prohibition against profiling. Other bills set to be introduced soon would create an inspector general’s office in the department and require the police to notify people of their right, in many instances, to refuse to be searched....
Jumaane D. Williams, a city councilman from Brooklyn who is working with the new coalition, said he hoped to introduce the legislation on profiling and searches at the Council meeting next Wednesday. The Police Department has a ban on profiling, but the proposed law would strengthen it, prohibiting practices that may not be intentionally discriminatory but which have the effect of being so. “I think these bills go a long way to start making the N.Y.P.D. accountable to the community that they serve,” Mr. Williams said.
The coalition also plans to go after other police practices that have a disproportionate effect on minority and low-income people, including arrests for marijuana possession, and patrols in which officers go up and down the stairwells of public housing projects, arresting people or giving them tickets for trespassing if they cannot produce proof of residence.
“NYPD monitored Muslim College Students” By Chris Hawley, Associate Press, February 20, 2012
One autumn morning in Buffalo, N.Y., a college student
named Adeela Khan logged into her email and found a message
announcing an upcoming Islamic conference in Toronto. Khan clicked
"forward," sent it to a group of fellow Muslims at the University at
Buffalo, and promptly forgot about it.
In recent months, the AP has revealed secret programs
the NYPD built with help from the CIA to monitor Muslims at the
places where they eat, shop and worship. The AP also published
details about how police placed undercover officers at Muslim
student associations in colleges within the city limits; this
revelation has outraged faculty and student groups.
The AP first reported in October that the NYPD had
placed informants or undercover officers in the Muslim Student
Associations at City College, Brooklyn College, Baruch College,
Hunter College, City College of New York, Queens College, La Guardia
Community College and St. John's University. All of those colleges
are within the New York City limits.
“At Funeral of a Teenager Shot by the Police, Demands for Accountability” By Al Baker, New York Times, February 18, 2012
More than two weeks after an unarmed teenager was fatally shot by a police officer in the Bronx, hundreds of friends, relatives, activists and elected officials packed a church for his funeral.
“Funeral for unarmed teen shot by cops is held at Bronx church” By Henrick Karoliszyn, Daily News, February 18, 2012
“Stop-and-Frisks Hit Record in 2011” By Michael Howard Saul, Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2012
New York City police officers stopped and questioned 684,330 people last year, a record number since the department started producing yearly tallies of the tactic. The total marked a 14% increase over 2010, according to statistics viewed by The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
“OWS Protesters Sue Cop Over Pepper Spray” By Robert Gearty, Daily News, February 13, 2012
A high-ranking cop who pepper-sprayed penned-in Occupy Wall Street protesters has been zapped with a lawsuit by two women who were in the line of fire. Chelsea Elliott and Jeanne Mansfield are suing Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna in Manhattan Federal Court for blasting them in the face with pepper-spray during a protest last Sept. 24 near Union Square.
The incident was caught on video, and 1.5 million people watched it on YouTube, prompting outrage and drawing attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Bologna was docked 10 days of vacation for violating NYPD regulations.
“NYPD Commissioner Orders Reviews of Street Narcotics Teams in Wake of Bronx Shooting” By Ailsa Chang, WNYC, February 09, 2012
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has ordered a citywide audit of all street-level narcotics teams after investigators discovered the cop who shot an unarmed Bronx man was not qualified for the detail he was assigned to the day of the incident.
Officer Richard Haste, who shot Ramarley Graham in his bathroom last Thursday, had been part of a street-level narcotics enforcement (SNEU) team, but had not yet received SNEU training or plainclothes training before the assignment, according to police spokesman Paul Browne.
Since the discovery, supervising officers told WNYC that all precinct commanders were ordered, to give the Internal Affairs Bureau, which investigates misconduct and corruption within the department, the names of all members of their street-level narcotics teams. Internal Affairs is checking which officers have not received the required training.
Graham, 18, was followed on foot by Officer Richard Haste and Sgt. Scott Morris into his home after officers reported seeing what might have been a gun protruding from his waistband. No weapon was found after Haste shot Graham. Instead, police discovered a bag of marijuana in the toilet....
Supervising officers and patrol cops said the department is cracking down on training requirements now because of Graham's death, but they added it has been common practice for years to assign officers to plain clothes teams and street-level narcotics units before the officers receive proper training.
SNEU training is offered regularly within the department, and officers said they see their supervisors assign colleagues to SNEU units, with the understanding that the officer will eventually complete the required training. But members of the department also said sometimes an officer will be in a SNEU unit or plainclothes team for months before he ever receives that training. Police officers said plainclothes training takes about three to four days and involves instruction about street confrontations, such as tactics to use during hand-to-hand combat. SNEU training takes about a week.
“Albany Wants More Oversight of City Police” By Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, February 9, 2012
The debate over whether the New York Police Department is capable of policing itself will now move to Albany, where lawmakers have proposed the creation of a permanent inspector general to investigate the Police Department. State Senator Kevin S. Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, introduced a bill on Monday that called for the city’s Department of Investigation to appoint an inspector general to oversee the Police Department. Mr. Parker said the department needed “an independent watchdog to ensure the integrity of the department like other state and federal law enforcement entities.”
The bill comes amid a rough patch for the city police. Last week, a narcotics officer shot and killed an unarmed Bronx teenager. This week, a veteran officer in Brooklyn pleaded guilty in federal court to gun trafficking charges after he was caught in a sting operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The city’s Department of Investigation, which seeks out corruption among many of the municipal agencies, generally leaves the task of monitoring the Police Department to the police’s own Internal Affairs Bureau. But a number of recent corruption cases involving police officers have been uncovered by outside investigators, including the F.B.I., which has underscored concerns about the department’s ability to monitor itself. And while there is also an oversight agency under the mayor, the Commission to Combat Police Corruption, it has no subpoena power and a tiny staff.
“An effective inspector general could play an important role in identifying concerns and making recommendations for change,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which has called for the appointment of such an inspector general in the past. Ms. Lieberman said that there had recently been “an alarming parade of scandals involving the N.Y.P.D,” which demonstrates “a clear need for meaningful oversight of N.Y.P.D. practices and policies.”
State Senator Kevin S. Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, introduced a bill on Monday that called for the city’s Department of Investigation to appoint an inspector general to oversee the Police Department. Mr. Parker said the department needed “an independent watchdog to ensure the integrity of the department like other state and federal law enforcement entities.
“NYPD Marijuana Crusade Led to Cops Killing a Teenager in the Bronx” By Tony Newman, AlterNet, February 8, 2012
An 18-year-old teenager, Ramarley Graham, was killed in his home in the Bronx last week by plainclothes cops. A member of the narcotics unit shot the unarmed teenager in his bathroom. While details of the tragedy are still unfolding, it appears that the teen had a small amount of marijuana on him, so walked home to get away from the cops because he didn’t want to be arrested.
The cops followed him, broke into his home and killed him in his bathroom while he was trying to flush a small amount of marijuana down the toilet. The police officer who shot Graham said he believed the young man had a gun. He did not – no weapons were found. The bottom line is that an 18-year-old is dead because of the insane marijuana arrest crusade by the NYPD.
“City to Award $15M to New Yorkers Unlawfully Arrested for Loitering” By Ailsa Chang, WNYC, February 07
About 20,000 New Yorkers who were illegally arrested by the NYPD for loitering will get $15 million as part of a class action settlement approved Monday by a Manhattan federal judge. After New York state and federal courts struck down anti-loitering laws in the 1980s and 1990s on First Amendment and other constitutional grounds, the police continued arresting people under these voided statutes for more than two decades. The settlement culminates two cases that had been consolidated in 2008. The first case, filed in June 2005, challenged enforcement of a law against "loitering for the purpose of begging."
"Special Prosecutor Sought In NYPD Beating” By Jim Fitzgerald, The Associated Press, February 6, 2012
Our position is that Bronx DA Robert Johnson's office cannot conduct a real and independent investigation because that office has a symbiotic relationship with the Police Department and could not be impartial," said defense attorney Gideon Oliver.
“Focus on Police Treatment of Witness After Shooting” By Al Baker, New York Times, February 4, 2012
After a police officer fatally shot an 18-year-old man in his Bronx apartment on Thursday, the man’s grandmother, a witness to the shooting, was taken into custody and held against her will for several hours, a friend of the family said on Saturday.
“The Way To Curb Police Abuse: As The NYPD Finds Itself Mired In Yet Another Controversy, We Look At How Other Big Cities Control Corruption VIDEO” By John Farley, MetroFocus, February 3, 2012
Public discontent with the NYPD’s practices seems to have reached its fever pitch with the “Third Jihad” episode, as New Yorkers emerge from a year already fraught with NYPD scandals, including: A marked uptick in the number of stop-and-frisks, Collaboration with the C.I.A. to spy on Muslim communities, Infiltration of Shiite mosques to gain information on Iranian terrorists, The cases of the so-called “rape cops” and “pimp cop”, Allegations of rampant ticket fixing, Reports of excessive force used on Occupy Wall Street protesters and the arrest of credentialed journalists covering them, Drug planting and allegations of a widespread culture of corruption in the NYPD’s drug units, The racially charged detainment of City Council Member Jumaane Williams, The arrest of five officers on gun trafficking charges.
The idea that the NYPD has been militarized and turned into Bloomberg’s “own army” in the years since 9/11 was widely discussed in the press last year.
“NYPD cops involved in shooting of unarmed man placed on modified duty” By Joe Kemp, Daily News, February 3, 2012
Two cops were placed on modified duty Friday, a day after one of them fatally shot an unarmed Bronx teen inside his apartment, police said. Ramarley Graham, 19, was hit once in the chest as the teen ran into the bathroom of the Williamsbridge apartment about 3 p.m. Thursday, police said.
“Unarmed Bronx Teen Fatally Shot In The Chest By Cops. Police Say Gunned Down After Being Chased By Plainclothes Officers” By Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News, February 2, 2012
An unarmed Bronx teen was fatally shot by cops after they chased him into his family’s apartment building on Thursday, police said. Ramarley Graham, 19, was hit once in the chest after an officer fired his gun during a confrontation in the Williamsbridge apartment about 3 p.m., police said. No gun was found at the scene, cops said.... G
“They chased him into the house,” said the teen’s mother, Constance Malcolm, 39, who witnessed the shooting. “Nobody deserves to be shot in their own home.” Moments before the shooting, officers from the NYPD’s Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit spotted Graham on the street adjusting his waistband and thought he had a gun, a police source said.
“In City Finances, a Subtle Star, Uncredited” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, February 2, 2012
With great élan, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Thursday that the city did not need to raise taxes later this year. No one jumped up to argue that point. Taxes, however, are not the only way to trim the public hide.
A few hours after Mr. Bloomberg spoke, a team of police officers set up in SoHo for one of their twice-daily exercises in shooting fish in a barrel: nabbing drivers going south on Broadway just below Houston Street in Manhattan.
During the morning and evening rush, there is a virtually unlimited supply of law-breaking drivers who encroach on a lane reserved for buses. A relatively new traffic configuration limits cars to a single lane from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., a change that is announced on signs hanging over the lane, and to which the drivers must adjust immediately after they have crossed Houston.
So police officers, crooking a single finger, have ordered scores of drivers to the curb for breaking the law and issued them a fine for $130. Whatever the virtues of bus lanes, and there are many, this one is a trap — a lucrative one. One police officer, giving a summons at that spot recently, conceded that traffic would be backed up to 14th Street if some drivers did not make their way into that Broadway bus lane....
No mayor for decades has been able to resist the lure of raising revenue with fines, the tax that dares not say its name. During one blitz in the 1990s, the city was ticketing electric pony rides outside stores on Myrtle Avenue in Queens. Around the same time, a driver in the Bronx discovered that the police had figured out a way to abruptly trigger a red light near the Bronx Zoo. They needed to bring fresh supplies of ballpoint pens every day to keep up with the workload of drivers caught running the surprise light.
(When news broke of that snare, the man who blew the whistle on it, James Schillaci, was arrested within hours on a 13-year-old traffic warrant, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the mayor at the time, blistered him with invective. Under the next mayor, Mr. Bloomberg, the city had to pay the man $290,000 to settle his harassment suit, offsetting much of the revenue generated by the red-light trap.)
In any event, the march of time and fines is unmistakable: in 2002, the city collected $380 million in parking fines. The mayor’s budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 calls for $518 million, a modest increase from the current $513 million. These revenues are part of a larger bundle of fines for violations of codes covering areas like sanitation, health and taxis. That sum will reach $802 million, up from $786 million this year and $457 million 10 years ago....
[On parking tickets] the city clears 80 cents or more on the dollar, a 2003 study by the Independent Budget Office found.... The revenue from traffic tickets issued by the police is shared between the state and the city. And of course, it’s not just about the money. If the city is going to have a reasonable mass transit system, bus lanes must be protected from cars.
But whether it makes sense at that spot on Broadway just below Houston has made more than a few government officials wonder.
“It goes against the intent of bus lanes because it causes congestion,” said one senior official in state government who regularly works with the Police Department. As it happens, that official was himself caught in the trap. Having managed to wiggle out of the ticket, he declined to be named.
“The cops have to write a certain number of parkers, and a certain number of movers,” the official said. “They can fill the quota in an hour. It’s easy quota-filling, and it’s easy money.”
The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation, by John A. Eterno and Eli B. Silverman, CRC Press, January 31, 2012 (BOOK)
Presenting a story of police reform gone astray, this book stunningly demonstrates how integrity succumbed to a short-term numbers game...
In the mid-1990s, the NYPD created a performance management strategy known as Compstat. It consisted of computerized data, crime analysis, and advanced crime mapping coupled with middle management accountability and crime strategy meetings with high-ranking decision makers.....
The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation brings together the work of two criminologists — one a former NYPD captain — who present the first in-depth empirical analysis of this management system — exposing the truth about crime statistics manipulation in the NYPD and the repercussions suffered by crime victims and those who blew the whistle on this corrupt practice.
[The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation]:
- Documents and analyzes a wide array of data that definitively demonstrates the range of manipulation reflected in official New York City crime statistics
- Explores how the consequences of unreliable crime statistics ripple throughout police organizations, affecting police, citizens, and victims
- Documents the widening spell of police performance management throughout the world
- Reviews current NYPD leadership approaches and offers alternatives
More information here:
“Muslims, Using a Brush Far Too Broad” By Michael Powell, New York Times, January 30, 2012
I stood last week on City Hall’s plaza, as a gray wet January day pressed in, and thought: How completely isolated they look.
A few dozen Muslim New Yorkers had trooped there to protest police trainers’ showing of an inflammatory video that depicted most Islamic leaders as deceitful and suspect. Their anger was to be expected; the sense of betrayal was more striking. “The police are mapping us, they are following us, they are listening to us,” said Amna Akbar, a lawyer and law professor. “They are treating us like we are suspects when we are New Yorkers just living our lives day to day.”
Politicians can be hounds to the hunt after news conferences. A video that slanders 600,000 New Yorkers may be expected to send them tripping down the steps to splutter with outrage.
Not this day. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was en route to Queens, where he would explain, not so helpfully, that the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, had visited more mosques than most Muslims. (The mayor did not add that undercover officers and informers had visited the most mosques of all.) A few City Council members offered strong words of support, but no Council leader was in sight.
“When the Police Say One Thing, the Facts Another” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, January 26, 2012
In 2010, more than 1,400 New York City police officers and supervisors who had gone for biological and chemical warfare training were shown a film of bombings, murders and menace. The narrator says: “This is the true agenda of much of Islam in America. A strategy to infiltrate and dominate America.”...
New York’s police commissioner and mayor have both disavowed the film, but the official story about the Police Department’s involvement and use of it has been contaminated with official falsehoods. (The police first said that only a few officers were shown the film and that the department had not cooperated with the filmmakers; it turned out that 1,400 officers saw it and that the commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, gave a 90-minute interview for the project.)
No one has given a straight, plausible story to explain how a piece of agitprop wound up being screened in a police training facility for months. Mr. Kelly was quoted in The Daily News as saying Wednesday that the showing of the film had been the work of a well-intentioned sergeant who had acted in “good faith.”
Over the last decade, the Police Department has acquired vast new powers to infiltrate areas of public life that previously had been far off limits. Before 9/11, the secret monitoring by the police of events where people expressed their opinions or gathered to worship was as tightly limited as the use of deadly force. In 2003, Mr. Kelly and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg were granted permission by a federal judge to expand the powers to conduct surveillance....
Yet Mr. Kelly is not going to be police commissioner forever, and “trust me” is not a policy that can work forever. Last year, The Associated Press published articles about the surveillance of Muslim communities in New York that it said was done under the supervision of a police demographic unit; the department denied the existence of such a unit, but The A.P. published documents with that very name in the title.
There is growing recognition that official police accounts of street clashes are often contradicted by objective evidence. In the fall, after women were pepper-sprayed by a deputy police inspector during an Occupy Wall Street march, the deputy police commissioner for public information, Paul J. Browne, said the women had tried to stop officers from rolling a mesh net. Videotapes showed that to be untrue....
The Police Department ... cannot risk the distortions of more fictions, of deliberate dishonesty or honest confusion. The police have to make it their business to get it right and to do it in the sunshine so that the whole world knows.
“In Shift, Police Say Leader Helped With Anti-Islam Film and Now Regrets It” By Michael Powell, New York Times, January 24, 2012
The New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, through a top aide, acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that he personally cooperated with the filmmakers of “The Third Jihad” — a decision the commissioner now describes as a mistake. The film, which says the goal of “much of Muslim leadership here in America” is to “infiltrate and dominate” the United States, was screened for more than 1,400 officers during training in 2010. Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne told The New York Times on Monday that the filmmakers had relied on old interview clips and had never spoken with the commissioner. On Tuesday, the film’s producer, Raphael Shore, e-mailed The Times and provided a date and time for their 90-minute interview with the commissioner at Police Headquarters on March 19, 2007. Told of this e-mail, Mr. Browne revised his account.
“In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims” By Michael Powell, New York Times, January 23, 2012
This is the feature-length film titled “The Third Jihad,” paid for by a nonprofit group, which was shown to more than a thousand officers as part of training in the New York Police Department. In January 2011, when news broke that the department had used the film in training, a top police official denied it, then said it had been mistakenly screened “a couple of times” for a few officers.
A year later, police documents obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Law reveal a different reality: “The Third Jihad,” which includes an interview with Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was shown, according to internal police reports, “on a continuous loop” for between three months and one year of training.
“Tense Relations With Officers in a Crime-Ridden Precinct” By Liz Robbins, New York Times, January 15, 2012
Residents ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s said that they occasionally felt harassed by the police or that they had often witnessed officers stop and frisk teenagers in the complex. One woman recounted seeing officers every morning in the courtyard, sitting as cold as stone, not engaging in conversation. One 42-year-old man wondered aloud whether in his precinct officers would shoot first and ask questions later.... “Everyone complains to me about the Police Department, that when you call, you become the victim, so you don’t want to call,” said Alberto Ramos, 56, the president of an advisory group for the precinct.
“Suit on Police Treatment of Livery Riders Is to Proceed” By Al Baker, New York Times, January 15, 2012
The men are represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which, after interviewing a dozen livery cab drivers from Brooklyn last spring, found that officers — acting under the Taxi/Livery Robbery Inspection Program, or TRIP — were routinely detaining and searching livery passengers without suspicion of any unlawful activity.
“Responding to Report of Armed Intruders, Police Kill Resident Holding a Gun” By Al Baker, New York Times, January 14, 2012
What was learned thereafter was that uniformed officers had not shot a robber, but another resident of the home, Duane Browne, 26, about 14 minutes after the first 911 call.The police said Mr. Browne was the half-brother of Mr. Ogarro, the target of the robbery.
“NYPD aims to give 'vice' cop the boot” Rocco Parascandola, Joe Kemp, Larry Mcshane, January 13, 2012
NYPD Internal Affairs investigators amassed wiretap and surveillance evidence against a seven-year veteran cop suspected of moonlighting as a pimp, the Daily News has learned. Officer Monty Green was taped “discussing prostitution-related activities,” according to an NYPD Internal Affairs investigative report.
“Hiring Freeze Hinders a Fight Against Police Misconduct” By Al Baker, New York Times, January 12, 2012
There were some head-spinning developments on Wednesday at the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s first monthly meeting of 2012. On the one hand, the board’s chairman, Daniel D. Chu, announced that financing for a new program to empower board lawyers to prosecute police officers in certain misconduct cases will continue to flow. Last summer, Mr. Chu had issued a sober warning that financing to keep the program — known as the Administrative Prosecution Unit — running was set to run out by the end of December.
On the other hand, there is a vacancy for the program’s sole lawyer position, and a hiring freeze on city agencies imposed by City Hall precludes filling that job, officials said.
“Vow to Fight Police Misconduct Faces Skepticism” By Al Baker, New York Times, January 12, 2012
After a year that saw a steady drumbeat of police corruption cases and increased scrutiny of several New York Police Department practices, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pledged on Thursday to add four lawyers to the two-person legal staff at the agency responsible for monitoring the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.... But Mr. Bloomberg’s plans were met by skepticism among those who view the entity, the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Police Corruption, as a flawed watchdog. Tiny, with a modest budget, it has no subpoena power and relies on the department’s good will for relevant information. Even its chairman, Michael F. Armstrong, who was the counsel to the Knapp Commission on police corruption in the 1970s, has acknowledged the commission’s limitations.
Richard Aborn, the president of the Citizens Crime Commission, said, “If we were to have effective oversight of the N.Y.P.D., it would have two elements, independence and transparency, and you only achieve independence if you have subpoena power and funding that cannot be eliminated.”
“An Arrest for a Crime That, It Turned Out, Never Happened” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, January 10, 2012
Just before he was loaded into the police car, Aaron Vansintjan said, one of the officers looked at him.
“He said, ‘I’m embarrassed,’ ” Mr. Vansintjan said.
That was no obstacle to a bad situation’s getting more perplexing by the minute.
Mr. Vansintjan, 21, a student at McGill University in Montreal, and his family, who live in Belgium, had come to New York for Christmas week.
He wound up arrested one afternoon at gunpoint, taken to the 34th Precinct station house, held for several hours and accused of lying about a crime that he not only had nothing to do with, but that hadn’t even taken place.
“This,” Mr. Vansintjan said with some understatement, “is no way to treat a tourist.”
.... When he was in the holding cell, he was the only white; the 10 others were all being held on pot charges. “If I weren’t white,” he said, he might have been held overnight.
“NYPD Won’t Divulge Key Crime Stats” By Barbara Ross, January 09, 2012
The New York Civil Liberties Union says the NYPD has refused to hand over crime statistics for a Brooklyn precinct mired in a stats-tampering controversy -- and they want a judge to intervene.
The NYCLU asked the courts to order police brass to release 11 years of statistics for Bedford-Stuyvesant’s 81st Precinct, where the commanding officer was transferred and disciplined and four others hit with departmental charges after a cop alleged stats were manipulated.
The litigation is the latest twist in a scandal set off by Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who was handcuffed, put into a psychiatric ward for a week and suspended without pay after he claimed his superiors were fudging numbers. He is suing the city for $50 million. In court papers, the NYCLU said the Police Department has released biannual internal “quality assurance” audits since January 2000 for every precinct except the 81st.
"Relax, if You Want, but Don’t Put Your Feet Up" By Joseph Goldstein And Christine Haughney, New York Times, January 6, 2012
It is perhaps the most minor crime New Yorkers are routinely arrested for: sitting improperly on a subway seat. Seven years ago, rule 1050(7)(J) of the city’s transit code criminalized what was once simply bad etiquette: passengers putting their feet on a subway seat. They also cannot take up more than one seat if it interferes with other passengers’ comfort, nor can they block movement on a subway by doing something like standing too close to the doors.
Police officers handed out more than 6,000 tickets for these violations in 2011. But a $50 ticket would have been welcome compared with the trouble many passengers found themselves in; roughly 1,600 people like Mr. Peppers were arrested, sometimes waiting more than a day to be brought before a judge and released, according to statistics from district attorneys’ offices.
In some instances, passengers were arrested because they had outstanding warrants, or did not have photo identification. Some arrests were harder to explain, with no apparent cause other than the seat violation. In at least one case, the arrest led to deportation....
In interviews, public defenders who represent many of the passengers arrested say their clients tend to be among the working class, often kitchen workers who are exhausted as they begin or end long shifts at Manhattan restaurants. Lawyers say many of the cases originate on the F train at the Rockefeller Center stop.
In a recent decision, a Brooklyn judge, Noach Dear, dismissed the case of a man cited for taking up more than one seat on an A train at 3:10 a.m. on Dec. 24. “There appears to be a disconnect between the code’s goals and its enforcement,” Judge Dear wrote in his decision. He said that he and other Brooklyn judges had found these arrests happened “late at night or early in the morning when subways are generally at their least crowded levels.”
Some cases have cost the city. In November, court records show, New York City paid $150,000 to Juan Castillo, a diabetic, who was arrested for putting his feet on a subway seat after he briefly lifted his leg to inject himself with insulin while riding a Manhattan-bound F train to work. Police officers put him in jail and refused to give him access to his insulin for 30 hours, Mr. Castillo said in court papers. He ended up hospitalized for two days.
The city is now defending itself against a lawsuit brought by Abdi Omar, a 30-year-old messenger who was arrested on Sept. 1 at 10:40 p.m. and charged with having his feet on a subway seat. Mr. Omar said that an officer told him after removing him from the train that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest, which he denied. When Mr. Omar refused to be fingerprinted without proof of a warrant, officers sent him to Bellevue Hospital Center for a psychiatric evaluation, according to Mr. Omar’s suit. Ultimately, it says, the police never produced a warrant for Mr. Omar; he contested the seat summons and won....
Many defense lawyers question if the Police Department has taken these cases too far.
Michael Weaver, 20, a construction worker, was heading home to Harlem after having Thanksgiving dinner with his girlfriend’s family. As he rode an empty E train, Mr. Weaver said, he nodded off and his right knee and thigh leaned on the empty seat next to him. Just before 1 a.m., he said, he was jolted awake by a police officer who accused him of taking up more than one seat.
After he spent the night in a cell with two dozen men, he appeared before Judge Toko Serita. The judge offered to dismiss the case if he stayed out of trouble for six months.
“This is one of those cases that makes people lose faith in our criminal justice system,” Joel Schmidt, the Legal Aid lawyer representing Mr. Weaver, said at his arraignment. “Makes me wonder what our police officers are really doing at 1 o’clock in the morning.”
In late November, the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, ordered every precinct in his domain to read a statement. Officers, the commissioner said, must “respect the public’s right to know about these events and the media’s right of access to report.” Any officer who “unreasonably interferes” with reporters or blocks photographers will be subject to disciplinary actions. And recent events suggest that the commissioner should speak more loudly. Ryan Devereaux, a reporter, serves as Exhibit 1A that all is not well. On Dec. 17, Mr. Devereaux covered a demonstration at Duarte Square on Canal Street for “Democracy Now!,” a news program carried on 1,000 stations. Ragamuffin demonstrators surged and the police pushed back. A linebacker-size officer grabbed the collar of Mr. Devereaux, who wore an ID identifying him as a reporter. The cop jammed a fist into his throat, turning Mr. Devereaux into a de facto battering ram to push back protesters.
“Police Tactic: Keeping Crime Reports Off the Books” By Al Baker and Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, December 30, 2011
Crime victims in New York sometimes struggle to persuade the police to write down what happened on an official report. The reasons are varied. Police officers are often busy, and few relish paperwork. But in interviews, more than half a dozen police officers, detectives and commanders also cited departmental pressure to keep crime statistics low.…
But of nearly as much concern to people in law enforcement are crimes that officers simply failed to record, which one high-ranking police commander in Manhattan suggested was “the newest evolution in this numbers game.”
It is not unusual for detectives, who handle telephone calls from victims inquiring about the status of their cases, to learn that no paperwork exists. Detectives said it was hard to tell if those were administrative mix-ups or something deliberate. But they noted their skepticism that some complaints could simply vanish in the digital age....
Jill Korber walked into a drab police station in Queens in July to report that a passing bicyclist had groped her two days in a row. She left in tears, frustrated, she said, by the response of the first officer she encountered ... Katherine Davis said that when a man climbed through her living room window, the police did not take an official report...
Detective Louis A. Molina, president of the National Latino Officers Association, said that for some officers, the desire of supervisors to keep recorded crime levels low was “going to be on your mind,” and that it “can play a role in your decision making.” “For police officers,” he added, “it’s gotten to the point of what’s the most diplomatic way to discourage a crime report from being taken.”
Some public officials have said they have received more complaints from constituents that their reports of crime were not being recorded. State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn said his office had to contact “local precincts directly to make sure that criminal complaints were filed and processed appropriately.”
“CITY ROOM; Major Crime in the City Is Up Slightly This Year, but Not by Bloomberg's Calculation” By Kate Taylor, Al Baker, New York Times, December 29, 2011
With only a few days left in the year, major crime in New York City has risen in 2011 - up less than 1 percent from the previous year, but up nonetheless, according to the latest Police Department data. But that is not how the city sees it. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg held a news conference at City Hall on Wednesday to herald what he said was the 21st consecutive year that the number of major felony crimes had gone down. His logic was rooted in a state law that created strangulation as a new class of crime. The law, which went into effect in late 2010, offered three definitions of strangulation (none resulting in a person's death); first- and second-degree strangulation were felonies, and third-degree strangulation was a misdemeanor. The city's theory is that many crimes now classified as second-degree strangulations would have been treated as misdemeanors or less before the new law took effect.
“NYPD Scandals, Controversies and Lawsuits In 2011 (SLIDESHOW)” Huffington Post, December 25, 2011
A recent 60 Minutes interview with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly portrayed a robust and healthy NYPD, larger than the FBI and capable of shooting down aircraft. What it didn't portray, however, was an NYPD plagued with scandals, controversies, lawsuits and some very bad press— all of which has contributed to seriously low morale among rank-and-file cops. A veteran Bronx officer told The New York Daily News, "The morale in the whole department is in the crapper," adding, "You can't be a police officer no more. You're a robot. You're under the microscope. You're under video surveillance. We feel like the perpetrators now, the way we're being displayed."...
2011's seen officers accused of rape, making false arrests, exchanging drugs for sex, slapping dogs, and illegally trafficking guns, among other alarming accusations. Here's a look at a rough year for New York's finest.
4 Officers Investigated For Drinking On Job
Officer Pleads Guilty To Gun Smuggling
NYPD Monitored Muslim Coeds All Over Northeast
NYPD Officer Suspected Of Moonlighting As A Pimp
The Rape Cops
The Gunpoint Rape Cop
The Ticket-Fixing Scandal
Pepper-Spraying Protesters For No Good Reason
Racist Cop Ruins Lives On Staten Island
Planting Drugs On Innocent People
Cops Give Junky Crack, Force Her To Perform Sex Acts
Racially Profiling A City Councilman
Cops Caught Trafficking Guns, Cigarettes, Slot Machines
NYPD Spy Unit Targets Mosques, Muslim Businesses
Racist Facebook group
Held For No Reason
“Patrick V. Murphy, Police Leader Who Reformed New York Force, Dies at 91” By Al Baker, New York Times, December 17, 2011
Patrick V. Murphy, the son of a New York City policeman who rose to lead the Police Department in the early 1970s, steering it through one of its rockiest periods as he instituted reforms to root out corruption in the ranks, died Friday at a North Carolina hospital.
“Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?” By Nicholas K. Peart, New York Times, December 17, 2011
WHEN I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom.
One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister’s house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway.
We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, “Get on the ground!” I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground — with a gun pointed at me. I couldn’t see what was happening but I could feel a policeman’s hand reach into my pocket and remove my wallet.
Apparently he looked through and found the ID I kept there. “Happy Birthday,” he said sarcastically. The officers questioned my cousin and friend, asked what they were doing in town, and then said goodnight and left us on the sidewalk. I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground — with a gun pointed at me. I couldn’t see what was happening but I could feel a policeman’s hand reach into my pocket and remove my wallet. Apparently he looked through and found the ID I kept there. “Happy Birthday,” he said sarcastically.
“Critiques Persist of Police Marijuana Arrests” By Al Baker, New York Times, December 15, 2011
Under nearly a decade of governance by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, police officers in New York City have taken into custody far greater numbers of people on low-level marijuana charges than in the past.
Those arrest numbers grew in tandem with another expanding practice: Officers stopping people on city streets to question and sometimes frisk them. Civil rights advocates say that it is minorities, and men, who are disproportionately subject to the streets stops in New York.
“Discipline NYPD cops who wrote hateful Facebook messages about West Indian Day Parade: City politicians : Cops described parade-goers as 'animals' and 'savages'” By Trevor Kapp, New York Daily News, December 6, 2011
The anger followed the exposure of pages of Facebook postings describing the annual West Indian Day Parade in inflammatory words — with repeated references to parade-goers as “animals” and “savages.”
“Online Insults Lead to Calls for Inquiries of N.Y.C. Police” By Al Baker, New York Times, December 6, 2011
Mr. Kelly did not break his silence even as derision swirled around the Facebook conversation, which had been followed by as many as 1,200 people and included references to “savages” and “animals.” Throughout the day, Mr. Kelly’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, repeated a one-line response to requests for an interview with the commissioner: “The Internal Affairs Bureau has undertaken an investigation of the matter.”
“N.Y.C. Police Maligned Paradegoers on Facebook” By William Glaberson, New York Times, December 5, 2011
They called people “animals” and “savages.” One comment said, “Drop a bomb and wipe them all out.”
Hearing New York police officers speak publicly but candidly about one another and the people they police is rare indeed, especially with their names attached. But for a few days in September, a raw and rude conversation among officers was on Facebook for the world to see — until it vanished for unknown reasons.
It offered a fly-on-the-wall view of officers displaying roiling emotions often hidden from the public, a copy of the posting obtained by The New York Times shows. Some of the remarks appeared to have broken Police Department rules barring officers from “discourteous or disrespectful remarks” about race or ethnicity.
The subject was officers’ loathing of being assigned to the West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn, an annual multiday event that unfolds over the Labor Day weekend and that has been marred by episodes of violence, including deaths of paradegoers. Those who posted comments appeared to follow Facebook’s policy requiring the use of real names, and some identified themselves as officers.
“When the Police Go Military” By Al Baker, New York Times, December 3, 2011
RIOT police officers tear-gassing protesters at the Occupy movement in Oakland, Calif. The surprising nighttime invasion of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, carried out with D-Day-like secrecy by officers deploying klieg lights and a military-style sound machine. And campus police officers in helmets and face shields dousing demonstrators at the University of California, Davis with pepper spray.
Is this the militarization of the American police?
Police forces undeniably share a soldier’s ethos, no matter the size of the city, town or jurisdiction: officers carry deadly weapons and wear uniforms with patches denoting rank. They salute one another and pay homage to a “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” hierarchical culture.
But beyond such symbolic and formal similarities, American law and tradition have tried to draw a clear line between police and military forces. To cast the roles of the two too closely, those in and out of law enforcement say, is to mistake the mission of each. Soldiers, after all, go to war to destroy, and kill the enemy. The police, who are supposed to maintain the peace, “are the citizens, and the citizens are the police,” according to Chief Walter A. McNeil of Quincy, Fla., the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, citing the words of Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern-day policing.
Yet lately images from Occupy protests streamed on the Internet — often in real time — show just how readily police officers can adopt military-style tactics and equipment, and come off more like soldiers as they face down citizens. Some say this adds up to the emergence of a new, more militaristic breed of civilian police officer. Others disagree.
What seems clear is that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and the federal Homeland Security dollars that flowed to police forces in response to them, have further encouraged police forces to embrace paramilitary tactics like those that first emerged in the decades-long “war on drugs.”
Both wars — first on drugs, then terror — have lent police forces across the country justification to acquire the latest technology, equipment and tactical training for newly created specialized units.
“There is behind this, also, I think, a kind of status competition or imitation, that there is positive status in having a sort of ‘big department muscle,’ in smaller departments,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley. “And then the problem is, if you have those kinds of specialized units, that you hunt for appropriate settings to use them and, in some of the smaller police departments, notions of the appropriate settings to use them are questionable.”
Radley Balko, a journalist who has studied the issue, told a House subcommittee on crime in 2007 that one criminologist found a 1,500 percent increase in the use of SWAT (special weapons and tactics) teams in the United States in roughly the last two decades.
The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally bars the military from law enforcement activities within the United States. But today, some local and city police forces have rendered the law rather moot. They have tanks — yes, tanks, often from military surplus, for use in hostage situations or drug raids — not to mention the sort of equipment and training one would need to deter a Mumbai-style guerrilla assault.
Such tactics are used in New York City, where Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly (whose department has had armored vehicles for decades) has invoked both the 19th-century military strategist Carl von Clausewitz and the television series “24” in talking about the myriad threats his city faces — both conventional and terrorist....
IN truth, a vast majority of Mr. Kelly’s 35,000-member force are not specialized troops, but rank-and-file beat cops. But that did not stop Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from sounding like Patton at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week, when he boasted, “I have my own army in the N.Y.P.D.,” suggesting his reasons for preferring City Hall to the White House.
More disturbing than riot gear or heavy-duty weapons slung across the backs of American police officers is a “militaristic mind-set” creeping into officers’ approach to their jobs, said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “It is in the way they search and raid homes and the way they deal with the public,” he said.
The more the police fail to defuse confrontations but instead help create them — be it with their equipment, tactics or demeanor — the more ties with community members are burned, he said. The effect is a loss of civility, and an erosion of constitutional rights, rather than a building of good will.
“What is most worrisome to us is that the line that has traditionally separated the military from civilian policing is fading away,” Mr. Lynch said. “We see it as one of the most disturbing trends in the criminal justice area — the militarization of police tactics.”...
Now the Occupy movement and highly publicized official responses to it are forcing the public to confront what its police forces have become.... Police officers are not at war, said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.... Rather, they must approach any continuing Occupy protests, now or in the spring, with a respect for the First Amendment and a realization that protesters are not enemies but people the police need to engage with up the road.
“You can have all the sophisticated equipment in the world, but it does not replace common sense and discretion and finding ways to defuse situations,” Mr. Wexler said. “You can’t be talking about community policing one day and the next day have an action that is so uncharacteristic to the values of your department.”
“Detective Who Led Ticket-Fixing Inquiry Faces Internal Charges”By Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, December 2, 2011
An investigation into ticket-fixing has already led to indictments against 16 New York City police officers and implicated some 600 others. Now it is creating problems for one more: the Internal Affairs Bureau detective who was the driving force behind the inquiry.
November 30, 2011
A Police Department administrative trial has found that a New York City detective who fired his weapon during the 50-bullet fusillade that killed Sean Bell hours before his wedding five years ago did so outside of departmental guidelines, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.
“NYPD Stopping And Frisking Record Number: NYCLU” By Rocco Parascandola, John Doyle, November 29, 2011
The NYPD is on pace to stop a record number of New Yorkers this year as part of its controversial stop, question and frisk initiative, the New York Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday. "Entire neighborhoods in NYC are turning into Constitution- free zones," said Donna Lieberman, the group’s executive director. "A walk to the subway or corner deli should not carry the assumption that you will be confronted by police, but that is a disturbing new reality for many New Yorkers," she added.
“NYCLU: Over 90 Percent Of Summer School Arrests Involved Students Of Color” By Dean Meminger, NYCLU, November 29, 2011
The New York Civil Liberties Union took a close look at New York City Police Department statistics and the ethnicity of the 63 public school students who were arrested between July and September of this year. "Of the people who were arrested, 68 percent were African-American children. The total number of students of color accounted for over 90 percent," said Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU… High school students who spoke with NY1 do not view school safety officers in a positive light and said the officers often treat them like criminals. One student said he spent several days in jail after being accused of stealing a cellphone. "Ah man, now I got this on my permanent record," he said. "You see them girls over there laughing, it's not a laughing matter if they see their record and they don't have a good record because of the school system." School safety officers include about 5,100 peace officers who do not carry guns, as well as 200 regular NYPD officers who do. "Too aggressive with students. They need to tone it down," said a student. "It is basically with the Hispanics and African-American students. You don't see them doing it to the Caucasian and Chinese students."
“1 Student A Day Arrested In Public Schools” Ben Chapman, Tracy Connor, New York Daily News, November 28, 2011
Of the arrests, 68% of the students were black and 25% were Latino.
The civil liberties group [NYCLU] noted that blacks make up about 29% of the school system’s 1.1 million students and an estimated 37% of summer school students.
“We see an enormous racial disparity,” Lieberman said.... The report only covered officers who are part of the School Safety Division — not precinct cops.
“Police and the Press”, By Editorial Page, New York Times, November 25, 2011
In many countries, using a camera or taking notes can get you into trouble. That is not supposed to happen in New York City. Yet as police cleared Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan on Nov. 15, a number of journalists were roughed up and arrested. Many were prevented by police from documenting what happened that night.
“Reporters Meet the Fists of the Law” By Michael Powell, New York Times, November 21, 2011
Over several days, New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers. Reporters with The Associated Press and The Daily News were arrested while taking notes. A radio reporter was arrested as she recorded several blocks from the park...
At least since the Republican National Convention of 2004, our police have grown accustomed to forcibly penning, arresting, and sometimes spraying and whacking protesters and reporters.
On Monday, The New York Times and 12 other organizations sent a letter of protest to the Police Department. “The police actions of last week,” the authors said, “have been more hostile to the press than any other event in recent memory.” Their letter offered five examples. I’ll mention one: As the police carried off a young protester whose head was covered in a crown of blood, a photographer stood behind a metal barricade and raised his camera. Two officers ran at him, grabbed the barrier and struck him in the chest, knees and shins. You are not permitted, the police yelled, to photograph on the sidewalk....
A majority of the city’s working reporters do not possess police passes. Leonard Levitt is a veteran reporter who writes the prodigiously well-sourced NYPD Confidential. “The police want to accredit as few reporters as possible, and they make it exceedingly hard for nonmainstream reporters to get press passes,” he said. Mr. Levitt has tried to renew his pass for a year. “Needless to say,” he noted, “they are resisting.”
There is another problem: a police pass has become a ticket for a quick removal. My Times colleague Colin Moynihan stood on that darkened square last Tuesday morning when a police spokesman shouted, “Who has press credentials?” Many reporters and photographers dutifully raised their hands. With that, the police removed the “credentialed” reporters, under threat of arrest, to a press pen, out of sight of the square. Only shouts and yells could be heard.
“Reporters Say Police Denied Access to Protest Site” By Al Baker, New York Times, November 15, 2011
As New York City police cleared the Occupy Wall Street campsite in Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning, many journalists were blocked from observing and interviewing protesters. Some called it a “media blackout” and said in interviews that they believed that the police efforts were a deliberate attempt to tamp down coverage of the operation.
The city blog Gothamist put it this way: “The NYPD Didn’t Want You To See Occupy Wall Street Get Evicted.” As a result, much of the early video of the police operation was from the vantage point of the protesters. Videos that were live-streamed on the Web and uploaded to YouTube were picked up by television networks and broadcast on Tuesday morning.
"They Like Transparency, Until They Don’t,” New York Times Editorial, November 13, 2011
Too often news organizations, advocacy groups and others
have had to turn to the courts to pry public information from the
city. In recent years, the New York Civil Liberties Union had to
sue to get stop-and-frisk data from the police, details on the race
of people shot by officers and shooting reports since 1997. Most
recently, the group has filed a suit on behalf of an online
columnist asking for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s calendar.
The department has argued that the commissioner’s whereabouts are
secret for security reasons. Civil liberties lawyers note that the
president’s schedule appears daily on the White House Web site, so
why not Mr. Kelly’s?
“3 Officers to Face Discipline for Detaining City Officials at Parade” By Joseph Goldstein, New York Times” New York Times, November 10, 2011
The Police Department will discipline three officers for an episode in which a city councilman and another city official were detained and handcuffed after the West Indian American Day Parade in September, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The department’s Internal Affairs Bureau found that there was “sufficient evidence to partially substantiate” the complaints by the councilman, Jumaane D. Williams, and the city official, Kirsten John Foy, according to letters that the two men received from the bureau’s chief, Charles V. Campisi. Mr. Williams said he believed racial bias fueled the episode, in which he and Mr. Foy, an aide to the public advocate, were stopped by police officers after walking down a sidewalk that had been closed because of the parade. Despite identifying himself as a councilman, Mr. Williams said, he was handcuffed. Mr. Foy was pushed to the ground by a police officer and also arrested, a video of the episode showed. Mr. Williams and Mr. Foy are black.
“Experts Say N.Y. Police Dept. Isn’t Policing Itself” By Al Baker, New York Times, November 2, 2011
Seven narcotics investigators are convicted of planting drugs on people to meet arrest quotas. Eight current and former patrol officers are charged with smuggling guns into the state. Another is charged with making a false arrest, apparently as a favor for his cousin. Three more are convicted of robbing a perfume warehouse. But beyond the fact of criminal charges against those sworn to protect the public, they all had another thing in common: Each case was uncovered by an outside agency, not the Internal Affairs Bureau of the New York Police Department, the unit responsible for unearthing and investigating officers’ wrongdoing.
This spate of unrelated corruption prosecutions, and what some see as the Internal Affairs Bureau’s spotty record of uncovering major cases involving crooked officers, raise questions about the department’s ability to police itself, said nearly a dozen current and former prosecutors who have handled corruption cases, as well as some current and former Internal Affairs supervisors and investigators.
Several of them blamed a lack of effective outside oversight of the department’s anticorruption program, characterizing the monitoring as weak at best in recent years, with monitors having neither the political will to press the department nor support from City Hall. They also cited low starting salaries for new officers, poor morale, recruits drawn from a smaller pool of qualified candidates and a hidebound Internal Affairs Bureau bureaucracy...
A new study by the Citizens Crime Commission in New York, provided by Richard Aborn, its president, shows that other major municipal police departments are overseen by agencies that do have subpoena power and can focus more broadly on misconduct.
“Occupy Brooklyn Holds March Against NYPD’s ‘Stop And Frisk’” By Elizabeth Flock, Washington Post, November 1, 2011
The Brooklyn offshoot of Occupy Wall Street began a march late Tuesday afternoon against the New York Police Department’s policy to “stop and frisk,” marching from the city’s Tilden housing projects to NYPD’s 73rd and then 23rd precincts. Some protesters chanted “Stop and frisk has got to go! We say no to the new Jim Crow!” while others yelled, “Stop and frisk don’t stop the crime; stop and frisk is the crime.” A 9-year-old girl reportedly carried a sign that read: “This system has no future for our youth. Revolution does.”
“Dismal Tale of Arrest for Tiniest of Crimes” By Jim Dwyer, November 1, 2011
Early in the morning on Oct. 22, a Saturday, Ms. Zucker, 21, and her friend Alex Fischer, also 21, were stopped by the police in Riverside Park and given tickets for trespassing. Mr. Fischer was permitted to leave after he produced his driver’s license. But Ms. Zucker, on a visit to New York City with a group of Carnegie Mellon University seniors looking for jobs in design industries, had left her wallet in a hotel two blocks away. She was handcuffed. For the next 36 hours, she was moved from a cell in a Harlem precinct station house to central booking in Lower Manhattan
"Brooklyn Judge 'Shocked' By 'Cowboy Culture' Of Narcotics Cops" by Oren Yaniv, New York Daily News, November 1, 2011
A Brooklyn judge declared himself shocked by the "cowboy culture" of narcotics cops Tuesday when he convicted a detective of planting crack on an innocent couple. "Having been a judge for 20 years, I thought I was not naïve regarding the reality of narcotics enforcement," said Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach. "But even the Court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of the misconduct, but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed."
He found Detective Jason Arbeeny guilty of eight counts of falsifying records and official misconduct in an explosive bench trial that revealed the police practice of "flaking" - nabbing blameless people to pad arrest quotas and earn overtime.
The judge noted that several witnesses said narcotics officers were expected to make 60% of their arrests for felonies and that cops would spread collars around so they could all meet the quotas.
The judge even said that paled in comparison to the "mindset in Narcotics that seemingly embraces a cowboy culture where anything goes in the never-ending war on drugs"....
Most troubling, Judge Reichbach said, was the "casualness" of arresting innocents, which emerged at trial.... Alluding to movies about police corruption, he said some of the testimony painted the Brooklyn South Narcotics squad "as a cross between 'Training Day' and 'Prince of the City.'"
"Detective Is Found Guilty of Planting Drugs" Tim Stelloh, New York Times, November 1, 2011
The New York Police Department, already saddled with corruption scandals, saw its image further tainted on Tuesday with the conviction of a detective for planting drugs on a woman and her boyfriend....
Before announcing the verdict, Justice Reichbach scolded the department for what he described as a widespread culture of corruption endemic in its drug units.... "Even this court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed.”
...there had been conflicting testimony during the trial about the existence of quotas in the department’s drug units.... In the department’s Brooklyn South narcotics unit, for instance, drugs seized as evidence are not counted or sealed until they reach the precinct and can be handled by multiple officers along the way, Justice Reichbach said, adding that such unacceptable practices “pale in significance” to the “cowboy culture” of the drug units. “Anything goes in the never-ending war on drugs,” he said, “and a refusal to go along with questionable practices raise the specter of blacklisting and isolation.”
"Stop And Frisk’ Becomes Tactic For Abuse” By Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald, October 29, 2011
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . . — Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Just in case you forgot. There has been, after all, an appalling amount of forgetting where that amendment is concerned. And New York City has become the epicenter of the amnesia. Yes, the “stop and frisk” policy of questioning and searching people a cop finds suspicious is used elsewhere as well. But it is in the big, bruised apple that the issue now comes to a head.
Federal agents recently arrested a New York City cop on charges of violating the civil rights of an African-American man. Officer Michael Daragjati allegedly stopped the man in April and threw him against a parked van to search him. No drugs or weapons were found, but Daragjati reportedly became angry the man questioned his rough treatment and requested the officer’s name and badge number. So Daragjati ran him in on a charge of resisting arrest. Later, talking on the phone to a friend, he bragged that he had “fried another nigger” and that it was “no big deal.” This was overheard by the feds.
“Lawyer for accused NYPD cop Jose Ramos mocks Bronx prosecutors” By Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News, October 29, 2011
Ramos was the only one of the 16 not to leave court to the cheers of 500 officers gathered in support and anger on a chilly fall morning. The rest were all freed, most without any bail.
“Unsealed Indictments Shed Light on Procedures for Ticket-Fixing by Officers” By Al Baker, New York Times, October 28, 2011
A police union trustee in the Bronx, Officer McGuckin went through the usual procedure: he called a union delegate at the 48th Precinct, Officer Christopher Scott, who a day later called in a favor to an officer who could get his hands on the ticket to have it destroyed.
“16 Cops Arraigned In NYPD Tix-Fix Scandal” By Douglas Montero, October 28, 2011
Sixteen cops connected to an NYPD ticket-fixing scandal pleaded not guilty today after the probe that uncovered the massive scandal began when a Bronx police officer was accused of having ties a drug dealer. The cops stood before a judge in Bronx Supreme Court as hundreds of fellow officers turned up to the Bronx courthouse in a show of support.
The officers, both in plainclothes and in uniform, lined up inside and outside the courthouse in support of their fellow officers. Prosecutors said the tickets would either be physically removed from the precinct station house after they'd been written or doctored them so that they would be dismissed. In some cases, the cops who fixed tickets called cops who'd written the summonses and told to lie under oath so that the cases would be dismissed, prosecutors said.
"No ‘Highway Therapy’ for Pepper-Spray Commander" by Al Baker And Rob Harris, New York Times, October 27, 2011
When imperfect police officers are caught and punished, they sometimes receive a form of discipline known colloquially behind the Blue Wall of Silence as “highway therapy.”
If an officer who works in the northern Bronx and lives in Rockland County, for instance, breaks some departmental rule, he might be sent to work in a command in the far reaches of eastern Queens, such as the 105th Precinct, on the Nassau County line. There are lots of highways and roads to navigate, the thinking goes, and lots of time for an officer to reflect.
But such reasoning has seemingly not factored into the punishment given to Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, the New York Police Department commander who pepper-sprayed protesters during the opening days of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations last month.
A week after Inspector Bologna, 57, was hit with internal disciplinary charges for running afoul of departmental rules regarding the use of pepper spray, a law enforcement official said he opted to accept the department’s proposed penalty: the loss of 10 vacation days.
And he was summarily transferred to a job on Staten Island, the official said, which happens to be where Inspector Bologna, a veteran of nearly 30 years on the city’s police force, lives. Such moves are approved by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who police officials say oversees all transfers.
The commute for him in his new assignment, thus, will be shorter than for his former job as a commander in southern Manhattan. On Staten Island, he will be working at the department’s headquarters for the borough, the official said.
"8 City Officers Charged in Gun Smuggling Case" by William K. Rashbaum And Joseph Goldstein, Colin Moynihan, New York Times, October 26, 2011
Eight current and former New York police officers were arrested on Tuesday and charged in federal court with accepting thousands of dollars in cash to drive a caravan of firearms into the state, an act of corruption that brazenly defied the city’s strenuous efforts to get illegal guns off the streets.
The officers — five are still on the force, and three are retired — and four other men were accused of transporting M-16 rifles and handguns, as well as what they believed to be stolen merchandise across state lines, according to a complaint filed in the case in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
The current and retired officers, most of whom at one time or another worked in the same Brooklyn station house, were arrested at their homes before sunrise by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and investigators from the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, officials said....
In recent weeks, testimony at the trial of a narcotics detective has featured accusations that he and his colleagues in Brooklyn and Queens planted drugs or lied under oath to meet arrest quotas and earn overtime, leading to the arrests of eight officers, the dismissal of hundreds of drug cases because of their destroyed credibility and the payout of more than $1 million in taxpayer money to settle false arrest lawsuits.
Two other officers, in unrelated federal cases, have been charged in recent weeks with criminal civil-rights violations accusing them of trumping up charges against innocent victims. In one case, on Staten Island, a white officer is accused of falsely arresting a black man and then bragging about it using a racial slur. And in the coming days, 16 officers are expected to face charges in a ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx.
"Narcotics Cops Showered Junkie With Crack And Forced Her To Perform Sex Acts In Return: Testimony” By Oren Yaniv, New York Daily News, October 24, 2011
NYPD narcs showered a junkie with crack and forced her to perform sex acts in return, she testified in the latest embarrassing revelation to emerge from a police corruption trial.
In one incident, Melanie Perez recalled on the stand last week, a cop called her to his home, made her smoke drugs then pulled down his pants and demanded oral sex.
"What was I going to do?" she testified in Brooklyn Supreme Court. "I did it."
The damning account came during the bench trial of Jason Arbeeny, one of eight undercovers charged in a scandal that rocked the Brooklyn South Narcotics squad.
The trial has already yielded troubling testimony on officers "flaking" - planting drugs on innocent victims - to meet arrest quotas and get overtime pay.
Perez also testified that the sexually demanding officer, whom she knew only as Frank, had later introduced her to a colleague, Sean Johnston, who also gave her narcotics on several occasions.
"He gave me a nice piece for Christmas," she said. "It was crack and it was kickin'."
"Cop Morale Low After String Of NYPD Scandals Puts Department Under Fire" By Rocco Parascandola, Bob Kappstatter, John Doyle AND Rich Schapiro, New York Daily News, October 23, 2011
It's a tough time to be one of New York's Finest. With the NYPD facing a blizzard of damning incidents in recent months, cops and police brass say morale among the force is perilously low.
"The morale in the whole department is in the crapper," a veteran Bronx cop told the Daily News. "You can't be a police officer no more," he said. "You're a robot. You're under the microscope. You're under video surveillance. We feel like the perpetrators now, the way we're being displayed."
A ticket-fixing scandal has hung over the department like a black cloud for the past two years. But the negative press has intensified in recent months with the emergence of several new scandals.
A spate of false drug busts - known as "flaking," cop talk for planting cocaine on innocent victims - led to the arrests of eight cops and a sweeping NYPD shakeup.
Earlier this month, NYPD Officer Michael Daragjati was hit with federal civil rights charges for falsely arresting a black man on Staten Island because of his race.
And a series of apparently strongarm police tactics in dealing with the Occupy Wall Street protesters - most notably, NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna's use of pepper spray on two women - has left the department with a very public black eye.
"Everybody is really shaken," said a Bronx cop who has been on the force for 10 years. "A lot of guys are afraid to do their jobs, but that's what happens. One or two guys can tarnish the whole department."
Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said, "Morale is as bad as I've ever seen it."...
A narcotics cop said he was the target of jeers while making arrests last week. "You planted the drugs! You put it on him!" onlookers hollered at him, the cop recalled. "You just have to ignore it," the 15-year-veteran noted.
The growing malaise has even reached the upper echelons of the NYPD. Roy Richter, head of the Captains Endowment Association, said the flaking controversy in particular has made it difficult for honest cops to do their jobs.
"I've had conversations with my members who expressed their frustrations about how it's a difficult time for executives in the Police Department," Richter said.
“Cop Slapped Dog Out Third-Story Window” Douglas Montero, New York Post, October 24, 2011
A brave 7-pound pooch trying to protect three little kids in his family was heartlessly slapped out a third-story window by a cop on a failed drug raid, a lawsuit charges.
“Cornel West Arrested at 'Stop And Frisk' Protests” By Eric Randall, The Atlantic Wire, October 21, 2011
It's been a busy week for Princeton's Cornel West, who was arrested in D.C. on Sunday, and was just arrested again in New York this afternoon.
“Protesters of Police Stop-and-Frisk Practice Are Arrested” By Noah Rosenberg, New York Times, Noah Rosenberg, October 21, 2011
About 30 people, including the civil rights campaigner and Princeton professor Cornel West, were arrested Friday outside a police station in Harlem during a protest of the police practice known as stop-and-frisk.
“NYPD's Stop-And-Frisk Policy Demands A Federal Probe: It's Race-Based And Ineffective” By Scott Stringer, New York Daily News, October 20, 2011
The appalling case of Michael Daragjati - the NYPD officer charged by the Brooklyn U.S. attorney with falsely arresting a black man on Staten Island because of his race - is a chilling reminder that racism must be battled every day. Daragjati's alleged conduct and racist commentary after illegally stopping, frisking and arresting the unidentified John Doe should sicken us all. Yesterday, I [Scott Stringer] joined with state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) in calling for a federal investigation into current stop-and-frisk practices. In 2000, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concluded that the NYPD street-stop program amounted to racial profiling.
Eleven years and millions of stops later, the city is still waiting for a street-stop policy that is designed to identify true threats. As a federal court in Manhattan found last month, serious questions remain about racial disparities in current stop-and-frisk practices; about the constitutionality of stops that do not result in arrest and about the role quotas may have played in driving the fourfold increase in stops over the past decade. A new investigation that focuses on each of these issues would help to answer these questions and chart a road map for reform.
“Racist NYPD Cop Ruined My Life And Ended My Major-League Dream, Jared Williams Says” By John Marzulli, New York Daily News, October 19, 2011
Jared Williams was a star center fielder for Wagner College with dreams of becoming a major-leaguer when he crossed paths with NYPD cop Michael Daragjati. Williams' field of dreams ended on an October night in 2005 when he and two pals were arrested by the officer - falsely, he insists - outside a Staten Island bar.
“Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly's Schedule Should Be Made Public, NYCLU Says In Lawsuit” By Rocco Parascandola, Daily News, October 18, 2011
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly's schedule should be made public, the New York Civil Liberties Union said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. Requests for Kelly's schedule have been routinely denied throughout his tenure. Inquiries filed under the Freedom of Information Law are typically met with an explanation that revealing his whereabouts would threaten his security. But the NYCLU, filing on behalf of Leonard Levitt, a former Newsday reporter who covers the NYPD in an online column, scoffed at the explanation and said police can easily withhold sensitive information and still release his schedule.
“Lawsuit Seeks Release of Police Commissioner’s Schedule” By Al Baker, New York Times, October 18, 2011
The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by the New York Civil Liberties Union, characterized Mr. Kelly as “the most important appointed” official in city government, and said that details of whom he meets with remained largely shrouded in secrecy.
Other high-placed officials, including the president, publicly disclose portions of their schedules, the suit said, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last month began posting a detailed version of his daily schedules online.
“There is no good reason for Commissioner Kelly to withhold this information from the public,” Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the civil liberties group, said in a statement. “If it’s safe for the leader of the country to disclose his schedule, then it’s safe for the N.Y.P.D. commissioner to do the same.”
“Commander Who Pepper-Sprayed Protesters Faces Disciplinary Charge” By Al Baker, New York Times, October 18, 2011
Inspector Bologna’s actions on Sept. 24, when he sprayed several penned-in women, were captured on video and spread widely on the Internet. It became a defining moment in the protests.
Four days later, Mr. Kelly said the Internal Affairs Bureau would look into the inspector’s actions. At the same time, the Manhattan district attorney’s office opened an investigation. On Monday, one woman who was pepper-sprayed, accompanied by her lawyer, met with prosecutors and urged them to bring criminal charges against the inspector.
“A Story of Drugs and the Police” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, October 18, 2011
For anyone interested in watching the spasms of history
repeating themselves, the current round of corruption cases
involving police officers and drugs could serve as a down payment on
the 21st century’s contributions. You have to wonder when society
will get tired of sending police officers to use all their wiles in
the hunt for dealers, and then be shocked when some of them wind up
pumping their informers with drugs — confiscated, of course, from
other dealers — or craving arrests so much that they frame innocent
“The Drugs? They Came From the Police” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, October 14, 2011
The first time he saw the chewing-tobacco can, Steve
Anderson, a former undercover police officer, testified, it was in a
book bag on the floor of a car that he and other undercover officers
were using in a buy-and-bust operation. According to Mr. Anderson,
the stuff inside that can -- ''various
narcotics,'' he said -- was used by undercover officers to frame
people for phantom drug sales.
Mr. Anderson added a new dimension to the saga by
spelling out how innocent people were caught in webs of lies told by
some officers. At a Queens nightclub in 2008, Mr. Anderson said, he
bought three bags of cocaine from a waiter and a disc jockey. He
then gave two of them to another officer who was having trouble
meeting his quota and was in jeopardy of losing his undercover
assignment. That officer took the drugs,
went back and arrested four people who had nothing to do with the
Justice Gustin Reichbach, who is hearing the case
without a jury, said he understood why Mr. Anderson would swap an
arrest to help a fellow officer who was falling short of his
targets, but pressed him on what he had done to innocent people.
''What was your thought in terms of saving his career at the cost of
these four people who had seemingly no involvement in the
transaction?'' Justice Reichbach asked.
“Planting Drugs On Innocent People: NYPD's 'Shocking' Scandal: An ex-detective testifies that he and his colleagues frequently fabricated drug cases to meet arrest quotas” The Week, October 14, 2011
In bombshell testimony at a corruption trial, a former
narcotics detective said members of the New York Police Department
routinely planted drugs to justify arresting innocent people,
the New York
The NYPD did not respond to the newspaper's request for comment.
Here's what you need to know about this "shocking"
“We Fabricated Drug Charges Against Innocent People To Meet Arrest Quotas, Former Detective Testifies” By John Marzulli, New York Daily News, October 13, 2011
A former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a
corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate
drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas.
The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public
account of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the
Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to the arrests of
eight cops and a massive shakeup.
"Ex-Narc Admits Guilt" By William J. Gorta, New York Post, October 13, 2011
A Queens narcotics cop caught on video framing four men in a bar has pleaded guilty to a drug-sale charge, been sentenced to two to four years in prison -- and agreed to testify against other cops.
Ex-Detective Stephen Anderson revealed his deal last week in Brooklyn Supreme Court when he testified against a cop on unrelated charges.
Anderson told Justice Gustin Reichbach that in January 2008, he gave two bags of cocaine to undercover Officer Henry Tavarez, the trial transcript shows.
The drugs were to help Tavarez, who was struggling to prove himself in the unit, pretend that the four men in an Elmhurst, Queens bar had sold him coke.
Anderson, when asked about his feelings about the frame-up, said, “The corruption I observed . . . was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators.”
Anderson said he saw undercover cops lying about such drug sales by innocent people “multiple times.”
Charges against the four men were later dropped. Anderson was busted in 2009, but his plea deal only came to light yesterday.
He was testifying against Jason Arbeeny, a narcotics cop from Brooklyn South charged with falsifying public documents and business records.
“Former Detective: NYPD Planted Drugs on People to Meet Drug Arrest Quotas. According to a former officer who testified at trial yesterday, New York City police regularly planted drugs on innocent people to meet quotas.” By Kristin Gwynne, Alternet, October 13, 2011
The NYPD has been under fire in recent months for illegal searches resulting in thousands of low-level marijuana arrests, mostly of people of color. As corrupt as this practice is, testimony from Stephen Anderson, a former NYPD narcotics detective, shows it's just the tip of the iceberg.
According to Anderson, who testified at trial Wednesday, New York City police regularly planted drugs on innocent people to meet quotas. Anderson should know. He was arrested in 2008 for planting cocaine on four men in a bar in Queens. His statements are the first glimpse into a culture of set-ups at the Brooklyn South and Queens Narc squads where eight corrupt cops were arrested.
Anderson says his own stunt was a tactic to help officer Henry Tavarez meet his buy-and-bust quota. But the incident was not limited to a handful of men. According to Anderson, “It was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators.”
Anderson's case suggests the set-ups are a response to the pressure bosses force on police to make drug arrests.
"Tavarez was ... was worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case," Anderson said at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny.
Having just made two legitimate arrests himself, "I had decided to give him [Tavarez] the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy," Anderson testified.
"As a detective, you still have a number to reach while you are in the narcotics division," Anderson added.
Clearly, the NYPD was requiring officers to fill quotas. The problem, it seems, was not lazy officers, but a lack of the guilty. The undue attention officers place on drug arrests is cause for alarm. This is not the first allegation of widespread corruption at the NYPD. Disturbing data uncovered by the Drug Policy Alliance and Queens College sociology professor Dr. Harry Levine shows many incidences of abuse of police authority. In fact, the evidence was so strong and stunk of such wrongdoing that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly actually issued an internal memo last month, ordering officers to stop charging people based on improper searches.
"We Fabricated Drug Charges Against Innocent People to Meet Arrest Quotas” Hyper Vocal, October 13th 2011
A former NYPD narcotics detective admitted in court that the practice of planting drugs on innocent civilians to meet quotas was a pretty common one....
Stephen Anderson testified at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny, courtesy of a cooperation agreement. The New York Daily News reports that he had helped police officer Henry Tavarez meet his buy-and-bust numbers by fabricating cocaine possession charges against four men arrested in a Queens bar in 2008. Tavarez’s numbers were low and he was worried about the potential ramifications.
“Tavarez was worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case,” Anderson told the court. “I had decided to give him [Tavarez] the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy.”
Justice Gustin Reichbach asked Anderson if he observed this practice — commonly referred to as “flaking” — taking place “with some frequency,” to which he replied “yes, multiple times.” Anderson kept most of his legitimate busts to himself, because, as he explained, “as a detective, you still have a number to reach while you are in the narcotics division.”
Then, the judge questioned Anderson about any concern he had for his victims, to which Anderson responded that there was very little reflection going on at the time because the practice was so common among supervisors, investigators and undercover police....
Anderson and Taverez’s scheme was exposed when security cameras caught them framing Jose Colon and his brother Maximo. New York paid the siblings $300,000 in a false arrest suit settlement. A federal judge presiding over the suit said the NYPD’s plagued by “widespread falsification” by arresting officers....
Arbeeny is one of eight cops, including Anderson, arrested for false arrests and planting drugs on innocent civilians.
“In This Case, a Protest With Focus” By Jim Dwyer, New York Times, October 11, 2011
Mr. Anderson testified this month in the trial of Jason Arbeeny, who worked in Brooklyn and is accused of planting drugs on two people who had never been arrested. Although he testified that he did not know Mr. Arbeeny or have any knowledge of wrongdoing by him, Mr. Anderson's description of the narcotics units was offered by prosecutors as evidence of what they say is a conspiracy to cover up its lawlessness by routinely falsifying records and keeping stashes of narcotics.
BEFORE OCTOBER 2011
“Pepper Spray and a Police Dept. Whose Power Grows Unchecked” By Jim Dwyer, September 29, 2011
All senior commanders know that at high altitudes in the Police Department, the laws of municipal gravity are suspended. Above the rank of captain, civil service rules have no force: police inspectors, chiefs and their deputies all serve at the pleasure of the commissioner, who must keep the mayor happy. Mr. Kelly created a counterterrorism force and an intelligence division to do for the city what the federal government was incapable of in September 2001: provide protection. Yet it has done so in a bubble of isolation from ordinary democratic processes. It exists in a world apart.
“NYPD ticket-fixing probe: Grand jury votes to indict 17 cops in scandal that's rocked police dept.” By Rocco Parascandola, Daily News Staff Writers, September 23, 2011
A BRONX grand jury indicted 17 cops yesterday in a massive ticket-fixing scandal that stretched from precinct houses to 1 Police Plaza, sending shock waves through the NYPD.
Grand jurors shook their heads and frowned in disgust as they heard the startling evidence of cops routinely quashing tickets, sources told the Daily News.
The accused officers - including a large number of union delegates - were stunned as they absorbed the reality of their imminent arrests following a two-year probe....
More than 500 cops were linked to the scandal and it was expected dozens of officers beyond those indicted could face some sort of departmental discipline.
The indicted cops face charges that include perjury, bribery, obstruction, grand larceny and official misconduct, the sources said.
The News has reported the cops involved helped cover up an assault charge and a domestic assault case, with one cop even taking profits from drug proceeds.
At least eight union officials were facing charges.
“NYPD's Demographics Unit Eyed 250-plus Mosques, Student Groups” By Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Huffington Post, September 6, 2011
The records reveal the extent of an undercover effort that initially studied more than 250 mosques in New York and New Jersey and identified hundreds more "hot spots" in a hunt for terrorists. Many showed obvious signs of criminal behavior, but the police explanations for targeting others were less clear. A Bangladeshi restaurant, for instance, was identified as a hot spot for having a "devout crowd." The restaurant was noted for being a "popular meeting location for political activities."
Two mosques, for instance, were flagged for having ties to Al-Azhar, the 1,000-year-old Egyptian mosque that is the pre-eminent institute of Islamic learning in the Sunni Muslim world. Al-Azhar was one of the first religious institutions to condemn the 2001 terrorist attacks. President George W. Bush's close adviser, Karen Hughes, visited Al-Azhar in 2005 and applauded its courage. Al-Azhar was also a sponsor of Obama's 2009 speech reaching out to the Muslim world. The list of mosques where undercover agents or informants operated includes ones that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has visited and that area officials have mentioned as part of the region's strong ties to the Muslim community. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stood beside leaders of some mosques on the list as allies in fighting terrorism.
“NYPD Arrests, Suspends Off-Duty Officer Michael Pena On Rape Charges” CBS, August 19, 2011
An off-duty New York City police officer is behind bars after being accused of raping a woman Friday morning in Manhattan. Michael Pena, an officer since 2008, has been suspended without pay after the alleged incident in which a 25-year-old teacher said she was raped in Inwood.
“Uruguayan soccer fans accuse NYPD of using excessive force against crowd in Copa America celebration” By Jose Bayona, July 27, 2011
A joyous soccer celebration in Queens went awry Sunday and fans are now accusing cops of using excessive force. After the final match of the Copa America in Argentina, hundreds of Uruguayans in Jackson Heights exulted in the streets over their team's victory. Minutes later, dozens of police officers from the 115th Precinct arrived at 37th Ave. and 84th St. and began pushing back the crowd, leading to scuffles, witnesses said. "I couldn't call 911. They were the same people abusing us," said Silvana Sislian, 46, manager of La Gran Uruguaya Bakery on 37th Ave.
LAW SUITS AND OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION
“National Police Oversight Models” By Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City
The last few years have also witnessed a rising concern over NYPD practices and continued allegations of supervisory level misconduct. Allegations of an excessive stop and frisk policy, ticket-fixing, manipulation of crime reporting, multiple allegations of retaliation against police department whistleblowers, allegations of an unlawful detention policy and a repeated course of conduct demonstrating an unwillingness to comply with proper demands for data have once again brought into focus the question of sufficient, independent, oversight of the NYPD.
The NYPD is the largest police department in the country, dwarfing its nearest rivals in Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Even if those forces were combined, the result would only be 29,107 officers compared to the NYPD's 34,817 officers [UCR]. Yet in each of those cities the enabling act creating civilian oversight provides the elements required for a vigorous independent oversight mechanism. From Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority and Police Board, to Los Angeles' Board of Police Commissioners and Inspector General, to Philadelphia's Police Advisory Commission and Integrity and Accountability Office, each of these agencies has the elements allowing them to administer an independent oversight process, beyond the reach of the police force. Most importantly, each has either subpoena power or the right to demand access to information relevant to its tasks. This is a central function of any meaningful oversight mechanism.
The review that follows examines the different ways the
top five next largest U.S. police departments conduct civilian
oversight. Three core elements are found in each (with the exception
of Houston): transparency; independence; and compulsory power to
demand documents, data, access to personnel and other information.
Police accountability Legislation
Legislation to end police practices with a “disparate impact”, prevent police officers from deceiving New Yorkers into consenting to searches, force police officers to hand out personal cards to people stopped and explain their reason for the stop, create an inspector generals office, and improve police practices of reporting demographic information on arrests and summonses.
“NYCLU v. New York County District Attorney (Seeking access to records concerning the D.A.'s Trespass Affidavit Program)”
This lawsuit challenges the refusal of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to disclose public records concerning a program that allows NYPD officers to regularly patrol privately owned apartment buildings. Landlords can enroll their buildings in the District Attorney’s Trespass Affidavit Program, which permits police officers to patrol the premises. The NYCLU has received numerous reports that police officers make unconstitutional, suspicionless stops – and even trespassing arrests – of TAP building residents and their invited guests.
City of New York (Challenging aspects of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk
This lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring the NYPD to seal all records, including personal information in the Department’s stop-and-frisk database, of people who were stopped and frisked by police officers, arrested or issued a summons, and whose cases ended either in dismissal or only the payment of a fine for a noncriminal violation.
Blair v. City of New York, et al. (Challenging NYPD's racially biased stop-and-frisk practices)
This case challenges the NYPD’s unlawful and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policies and practices.
The plaintiff, Leonardo Blair – a Jamaican-born black man – was stopped, arrested and jailed without justification in November 2007 while walking from his car to his home in the Bronx. The lawsuit maintains that the arresting officers violated Blair’s constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The suit also challenges the legality of a database the NYPD maintains with the names and addresses of every person stopped and frisked by the police, even though more than 90 percent of those people have done nothing wrong.
Mr. Blair, 28, immigrated to the United States in 2006 and resides here on an optional practical training visa. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2007 and landed a job writing for the New York Post.
Levitt v. NYPD (Seeking access to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's daily schedule)
The NYCLU filed the lawsuit, an Article 78 petition, in State Supreme Court of New York County on Oct. 18, 2011 on behalf of journalist Leonard Levitt, who has reported on the NYPD for decades. In February 2011, Levitt requested under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) copies of Commissioner Kelly’s schedule that would reveal the identity of people he had met with since January 2002. He sought this information after having reported about previously unknown meetings that Kelly had held at the Harvard Club in New York City.
The NYPD entirely denied Levitt’s FOIL request in May. The NYCLU appealed the NYPD’s denial in June 2011. The NYPD denied the appeal asserting that disclosing Commissioner Kelly’s schedule over the past decade would endanger both the commissioner and the people with whom he had met.
Battle v. City of New York (Challenging NYPD practice of searching innocent livery cab passengers)
This lawsuit challenges the NYPD’s unlawful practice of detaining, questioning and searching innocent New Yorkers – particularly blacks, Latinos and other non-whites – while they are passengers in livery cabs.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, maintains that the NYPD uses its Taxi/Livery Inspection Program (TRIP) to expand the reach of its unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices. The lawsuit does not challenge safety stops of livery cars but seeks to halt the NYPD’s practice of using these stops to detain, question and search passengers who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
The plaintiffs in the case were riding in livery cabs and were detained, questioned and searched even though the livery drivers told officers there was no problem and even though the officers did not suspect the plaintiffs of any wrongdoing. The lawsuit asks the court to declare that the NYPD’s actions violate constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. It seeks an injunction to end abuses of the TRIP program and to require new training and close supervision of the program. The City of New York, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and individual police officers are named as defendants.