Monday, October 31, 2011

NYPD Misconduct Takes Center Stage

Recently, our city's police force has been in the news for its misconduct. The conduct has been both disappointing and shocking.

False Arrest

On October 17, the FBI arrested Michael Daragjati, an eight-year NYPD veteran, for false arrest of a Black New Yorker. The officer did not realize his conversations were being taped and used a racial slur in describing his own conduct. ". . . fried another nigger," he said, which suggests he makes a habit of false arrests of Black residents of our city.

The victim of the arrest was in jail for 36 hours after a stop-and-frisk. Because the stop-and-frisk did not result in the recover of a weapon or drugs, the officer arrested the Black resident for "resisting arrest." The practice of arresting Black New Yorkers for resisting arrest should stop. An arrest must be justified by some other conduct before the charge of resisting (real or imagined) should be considered.

Officer Daragjati admitted on the taped conversations that he often beat our fellow citizens without justification and that he would be terminated if his conduct were exposed.

Amazingly, this officer had been successfully sued twice previously for falsely arresting Black residents, but he has been sent back out into our city to abuse more of our Black population. Our tax dollars have been used to pay some of his previous victims, yet he has received the support of the NYPD to add to his list of victims.

The mistreatment of the Black people in our city should be viewed by the NYPD and by our Mayor as a problem rather than a goal.

Ticket Fixing Scandal 

Last week, 16 NYPD officers were arraigned in the Bronx for illegally "fixing" tickets for their friends and families, and another 300+ officers will be disciplined for their participation in the scandal.

In a disappointing twist, hundreds of NYPD personnel came to the Bronx courthouse at the time of the arraignment to protest the action being taken against the NYPD officers who illegally "fixed" the tickets. The protesting officers argued that the NYPD should be able to "fix" tickets as a matter of professional courtesy.

The scandal involving more than 300 officers is troubling, but the concept of an even larger number of officers protesting the indictment of those who got caught is far more troubling. The endorsement of criminality by the NYPD's officers is inconsistent with their law enforcement role.

Also troubling is the lack of prosecutions outside of the Bronx for this criminal behavior, even though the NYPD has admitted that the NYPD ticket "fixing" crimes were widespread in all five boroughs. If the District Attorneys in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island are willing to ignore criminal behavior by the NYPD in the face of well-publicized prosecutions in the Bronx, those District Attorneys send a message that officers should feel comfortable behaving as if they are part of an organized crime operation. That criminal mentality create the stop-and-frisk abuses discussed above and puts New York City residents at risk.

The Mayor, the Police Commissioner, and all five District Attorneys must make it clear to the NYPD and its officers that they should not endorse criminal behavior.

Held Captive

A Brooklyn woman announced last week that she was suing NYC because of NYPD conduct. She claims to have been held captive for five days by the NYPD in Brooklyn after being shot in the leg by a stray bullet.

Based on her claims, the NYPD held her as a ploy to get her to lie and state that a friend of hers had shot her. Because she refused to lie, she was punished by being held captive.

Only after five days of abuse was she released. Her friend had passed a lie detector test and subjected himself to gun residue tests. In a sense, he was guilty until proven innocent, and his friend's refusal to implicate him in a crime cost her five days of her life.

The behavior of the NYPD should not imitate criminality. False arrests, ticket fixing, and false imprisonment are evidence that the NYPD must change.

The record levels of stop-and-frisks must end, and the NYPD must get out of the crime business and back into the crime prevention business.

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