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Nearly 200 NYPD cops lied to Civilian Complaint Review Board

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Scores of NYPD officers lied during disciplinary proceedings over the past 10 years, with most getting off scot-free or with a slap on the wrist — and some were even later promoted, according to a new report.

In all, 181 Big Apple cops were caught fibbing to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, but 80 were not disciplined at all, 43 just lost vacation days and 42 were only subjected to instructions or command discipline, nonprofit civil rights group Latino Justice said in the report released Monday.

Only four of the officers were suspended and a dozen resigned or have pending cases.

“Nearly one-half of the officers who lied to the CCRB were never disciplined at all, even for the underlying misconduct they lied about,” said the report, titled “Shielded from Accountability.”

“The NYPD’s refusal to act when its officers lie has serious ramifications,” it said. “Officers who receive no consequences for lying will continue to do so. Individuals who are never told that an officer testifying against is known as a liar cannot receive fair trials.”

Nearly 200 cops lied during official investigations into misconduct over a 10-year span and nearly half received no discipline according to a report released by Latino Justice.
The chart displays the different consequences officers received.
Latino Justice

One egregious example was the CCRB probe of Officer Eric Rodriguez, who was investigated for slamming a suspect against a subway turnstile in 2011 — with both Rodriguez and his partner later found to have lied to cover their tracks.

Amaury Munoz told the independent police watchdog that he dozed off at the 42nd Street subway station on Oct. 30, 2011, and was roused from his sleep by the two cops.

Munoz testified at the hearing that the cops ordered him to leave the station, but when he did so, they told him, “You’re not walking quick enough.”

Munoz said Rodriguez then “literally grabbed and pushed and threw me into the turnstile.

“I was picked up and dragged by [Rodriguez] and thrown through the emergency door for a second time,” he said at the hearing. “I was helpless.”

Officer Edward McClain and Sgt. Fernando Santos
A victim suffered minor injuries after being slammed by two cops involved, Officer Edward McClain and Sgt. Fernando Santos.
Robert Kalfus

After the incident, he said he was “bleeding profusely” and chipped his front teeth.

Rodriguez said they asked Munoz to leave the station after getting a report of an intoxicated person there, and that he became combative and hit the turnstile.

But surveillance footage from the station confirmed Munoz’s version of the incident — although the veteran cop “clarified” his story after being shown the videos.

In its findings, the CCRB found the cop’s use of force “unnecessary and excessive.”

The board recommended that Rodriguez be suspended for 26 days for the incident.

His partner, who was also found to have lied to the board, was never disciplined.

But that was hardly the only example cited by the Latino Project.

A​d​alberto Gonzalez
A​d​alberto Gonzalez, 27, who suffered minor injuries after NYPD cop altercation.
Matthew McDermott
Adalberto Gonzalez
Surveillance video shows Eddie McClane driving the police car directly into the rear of the moving dirt bike, knocking Adalberto Gonzalez off the bike onto the hood.

Officer Bernie Garcia was accused of harassing a motorist and refusing to give his name during a May 2011 traffic stop in Brooklyn, the report said.

Garcia and his partner were caught in a lie when the driver’s cell phone video of the incident surfaced, and Garcia was docked 40 vacation days.

He has since been promoted to sergeant.

In 2015, three other cops — Sergeant David Cussen and Officers Cory Smith and Daniel Song — were accused of approaching a man outside a Flushing US Marine Corps recruiting station without cause and frisking him.

They also frisked two Hispanic men who had been speaking with the recruiter.

All three men lied about the incident and were docked vacation days.

Two other officers were questioned for arresting a man in March 2018 after accusing him of being a drug dealer when he was simply sitting on a milk crate.

The man left the scene but was confronted by the officers — Christopher Cianicullo and Vasyi Fischukov — four days later outside his building, the report said.

Officer Efrain Rojas
CCRB ruled that Officer Efrain Rojas had to forfeit 30 vacation days and serve a one-year probation.
Youtube

According to the CCRB, Cianicullo “forcibly” grabbed the man while he had his son sitting on his shoulder, sending both tumbling to the ground.

The officers denied the account but were caught red-handed on surveillance video.

A decision on discipline for Cianicullo is still pending, but no action was taken against Fischukov, who has since been promoted to sergeant.

The NYPD dismissed the report, saying it “is by no means an objective examination of the facts.”

“Among the many falsehoods in the report is the assertion that an officer denying an allegation to avail themselves of due process is itself a “false statement,’” the NYPD said in a statement. “Another basic error is to blame the NYPD for failure to act on cases that have not been turned over by CCRB due to CCRB’s delays in completing investigations or failures to move forward with prosecutions.”


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Republicans Rally Behind Trump, Who Reprises Favored Role: Victim

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Yet again, it was Mr. Trump dominating the news.

Fox News aggressively reported the search, featuring overhead camera shots from above Mar-a-Lago and multiple interviews with Trump family members, including his son Eric and daughter-in-law, Lara, and former administration officials, such as Stephen Miller, his chief policy adviser, and Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist.



What we consider before using anonymous sources.
How do the sources know the information? What’s their motivation for telling us? Have they proved reliable in the past? Can we corroborate the information? Even with these questions satisfied, The Times uses anonymous sources as a last resort. The reporter and at least one editor know the identity of the source.

“A dark day for our republic,” Sean Hannity, a Fox News host, said to open his prime-time show on Monday night. “The Department of Justice, the rule of law, what looks to be potentially a shocking overreach — we’ll find out in due time — that will have serious ramifications potentially for many, many years to come.”

With right-wing media amplifying the fury directed at the Biden administration, the wide-ranging show of unity was the latest sign of Mr. Trump’s exhaustive reordering of the Republican Party, which he has transformed largely into a promotional vehicle for his own political brand.

The significance of the intense loyalty he has exacted from Republicans was reflected in Mr. Trump’s calculations on Tuesday that a search of his home by federal investigators would have positive repercussions inside his party. Meeting with advisers Tuesday, Mr. Trump was angered by the F.B.I.’s search but insisted it would help him politically, according to one. Still, he dismissed a push from some of his advisers to fly back to Mar-a-Lago and immediately announce a new presidential campaign, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Other allies of Mr. Trump argued for a “Draft Trump” effort, an idea Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had floated shortly after Mr. Trump left office, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Mr. Trump is weighing an increasingly likely third bid for the White House, which could come in an unusually early announcement in part to try to shield himself from a stream of damaging revelations from investigations into his actions before and after the 2020 election.


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An Ex-Cop and a Preacher Wrestle With America’s Gun Violence

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The cult of mass murders has jolted our moorings as a country, if not the very idea of America. So has the criminal violence in cities exploding since the pandemic hibernation.

Yet 58 percent of households have no gun—a data point of hope amid the bloody tide of gun violence. Most of us in that 58 percent, I suspect, believe that schools, churches, synagogues, malls, stores, and post offices can somehow be restored as safer sites without fear of a psychopath wielding an assault rifle. Congress’ recent gun control law is a starter step. What will it really take to regain normality? For now, entering my neighborhood supermarket, I nod appreciatively to the security person realizing that s/he would likely fall to an intruder with an AK 47.

New Orleans, where about a third of the 391,000 population lives in poverty, is plagued with crime. Homicides are up 150 percent, with 145 murders as of July 5—the nation’s highest murder rate, per capita.

The crime story most sickening to me came May 30. Augustine Greenwood, 80, a grandmother of 15 saw her youngest grandson receive his high school diploma at an auditorium on the Xavier University campus. Minutes later a shoot-out erupted outside. A bullet fired a city block away killed Mrs. Greenwood, standing in the sunlight with family. Two other people were wounded. Police seized six weapons and later arrested males aged 49, 48, 18, and 15 on various charges.

Seeking a reference-frame on gun violence I got in touch with two seasoned sources from past political reporting, men from different backgrounds, each with a certain moral code that made me curious to get their slant on how America went wrong, and what it might take to regain a stronger culture of safety, a center that will hold.

Larry Preston Williams Sr., 73, is African American, a retired security consultant and long-ago New Orleans police detective. Neil Curran, 80, is white, a semi-retired Evangelical minister for The Bible Church in metro Dallas. Curran was a New Orleans political consultant years ago.

Williams and Curran have never met. I got to know them in 1989 when David Duke, a closet Nazi, won election to the state legislature from a white suburb of New Orleans. Their children attended the same private school, a few years apart, while the fathers worked against Duke; his star sank after a gripping 1991 gubernatorial campaign.

I kept in touch with them as year passed. Circling back recently for interviews, I see the road that each man traveled across the ensuing years as emblematic of the country’s fault lines over gun violence and religion.

“Street violence in New Orleans is off the charts,” says Larry Williams, who shares an info-mill with other ex-NOPD veterans. They catch up mainly at funerals now.

“When I was doing street patrol in the late ’60s, it was rare to be shot at by a criminal,” Williams tells The Daily Beast. “Back then, most of the violent crime was not by teenagers. Today young people are more involved in fatal and non-fatal shootings. It goes back to the availability of guns on the street.”

Williams graduated from St. Augustine, the premier Catholic high school for Black boys in New Orleans. Dean Baquet, the retiring New York Times executive editor, is a St. Aug graduate. So is Jon Batiste, the much-younger multiple Grammy winner, and bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Williams entered the police academy in 1966, studying nights at Loyola New Orleans, eventually earning a B.S. in criminology.

Larry Williams, on far top left, on January 7, 1973 at what has become known as the Howard Johnson Massacre in New Orleans. A wannabe Black Panther Party member used a sniper rifle to fatally shoot police officers that he lured to the Civic Center, known as Duncan Plaza.

Courtesy of Larry Williams

“Today they’re using more powerful guns and are much less concerned with consequences. It’s easier to buy a gun than a pack of cigarettes. In a lot of tough neighborhoods, if you want a semi-automatic pistol or revolver, there’s typically a guy hanging out at such and such a bar. You give him cash. Or barter for heroin. Or a bag of weed. He goes off, you have a beer, he comes back with the piece. The pistol of choice is the semiautomatic. It takes longer to load a revolver.”

America has 50 million more guns than its 344.4 million people—a figure stratospherically beyond that of any other country.

“Some people buy guns out of fear,” says Williams. “But you have to look at the disproportionate amount of violence that impacts Black people who live in areas where guns circulate in an underground economy. How do all those guns end up in these streets? It’s a spillover from the national market in weapons. We’re oversaturated.”

Williams’s son and daughter, both with good careers, live in small Southern towns. “They left New Orleans because of the crime. They ended up in pleasant places. Semirural areas with a lot of Baptists and Evangelicals. The people are friendly. Low crime rates. I haven’t detected much racism. In New Orleans that’s a big issue for Blacks.”

NOPD is severely short-staffed, about 900 officers instead of 1,600 needed. Morale is low, despite Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s proposed $5,000 retention bonus; recruitment is a huge problem.

Carjackings have surged; the worst saw a woman, 73, die after her arm was severed as thugs took the car.

“I see the news every day,” says Williams. “But I can’t leave New Orleans. Too many friends. I like the food, the music, and the people, though some of them are crazy.”

Neil Curran left New Orleans for some of the same reasons that Williams’ grown children later did. As an Evangelical minister in greater Dallas he has done missionary work in Haiti, China, and Africa. His son is a Bible Church pastor in the same area. Curran is CEO of a charity, Biblical Communications International, which does media training for church leaders and includes his newsletter, Spiritual Currancy.

Curran considers the spread of mass shootings a fundamentally spiritual crisis. “I think it’s evil. The people are influenced by a being who has been successful—the devil, Satan, whatever you want to call the force that convinces people he doesn’t exist. You look at the killers’ backgrounds, what led them to acts of terror—are they crazy or enraptured by evil thoughts? In terms of the country, that’s a big question. There has been a long war against God in America.”

Unlike his view of David Duke as demonic, Curran sees Trump as a Machiavellian figure.

Curran came to this position quite slowly. Raised Irish Catholic in Holyoke, Massachusetts, he studied Southern literature at LSU in Baton Rouge where he met the New Orleans coed who became his wife. He spent four years at a Madison Avenue ad agency, after which they moved back to her hometown. In the ’70s he worked as a political consultant: polling, strategy, media buys for Democratic campaigns. He supported George McGovern for president over Richard Nixon in 1972.

But by then, he says, “I’d been drifting spiritually for several years.” The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion “troubled me in ways I could not quite articulate.” He visited a Fellowship Bible Church and began scripture study. In time, “I experienced an awakening of Jesus as savior.” He became an Evangelical, and in the mid ’80s won election to the Louisiana Republican Party state central committee.

Curran’s turning point came in 1989 when the telegenic David Duke renounced his background as a Ku Klux Klan leader and as a new-born Republican narrowly won a state house seat. Aghast, Curran saw Duke as a charlatan from the get-go. Curran found an ally in Elizabeth Rickey, another GOP state committee member. Beth Rickey researched Duke’s mail-order book business, which sold fraudulent works alleging a global Jewish conspiracy and books promoting the Holocaust as a myth. Rickey bought hate books at Duke’s district office and showed them at a press conference, blasting Duke.

Much as Rep. Liz Cheney put her Wyoming reelection at risk by taking the high ground against Donald Trump in the House Jan. 6 hearings, Rickey and Curran clashed with Louisiana’s party leadership in seeking to oust Duke as a Republican. At that they lost. Duke’s attacks on affirmative action, with crime making headlines in New Orleans, made him an overnight local cult figure, the guy standing up against Blacks.

Those events didn’t surprise Larry Williams. By the late ’80s he had left NOPD and was doing well as a security consultant for businesses and opposition research for political campaigns, including one of Duke’s 1989 opponents. The New York Times described Williams as “a model of decorum, given to three-piece suits and understatement.”

Nothing about Duke had really changed, in Williams’ view, except the packaging. And behind him, Williams knew, lay a core of Klan people.

Curran took a more religious view: “I saw Duke twisting the cross of Jesus into the swastika of the Nazis.”

Duke became a political celebrity on national talk shows whose hosts didn’t research his links to Nazi groups and let him hog airtime insisting that he had changed. In Louisiana, his Nazi ties became a slowly surfacing media narrative. In 1990 he lost a U.S. Senate race but pulled a surprising 46 percent of the vote, despite Tyler Bridges’ reports in the Times-Picayune that Duke had given parties celebrating Hitler’s birthday.

From his background producing TV spots, Curran saw Duke, as cool as the other side of the pillow, telegraphing a message to Whites that as an ex-Klan wizard he would make life hard for African Americans. As stories about Duke’s neo-Nazi links gained momentum, Curran wondered how much information people needed to see him as a fraud.

In 1991, Duke sacrificed his state house seat to run for governor, making the runoff with Edwin Edwards, a Democrat vying for a comeback and fourth term. A slick Cajun who had prevailed at two corruption trials in the ’80s, Edwards was nakedly cynical on the environment, allowing his brothers and cronies to profit on toxic waste at unregulated landfills. In an oil-producing state, the waste pits made barely a dent with his blue-collar, biracial base. A bumper stick said it all: Vote for the Crook. It’s important. The runoff became an international news event.

Neil Curran loved New Orleans for the floral beauty, friendships, and festive folkways, but he was done with the political swamp. “I decided to follow a call to ministry. I was set to enroll at the Dallas Theological Seminary, center of the storm in the Southern Baptist scriptural debates, when Duke made the runoff against Edwards.”

For Curran, Duke was demonic, promoting himself as a pro-life Christian. Curran organized a group of Evangelical ministers to meet with Duke, men whose congregations had people uneasy at best over race relations. Curran briefed the preachers on Duke’s hate-books list. In a stunning disconnect, Evangelicals supported the Holy Land, Israel, the Jewish state—a key target of Duke’s hatred.

When Curran and the pastors sat down with Duke, they asked when he had found Jesus. “At age 13,” he said. How did he explain all those years of cross-burnings, hate literature, Hitler birthday parties? Answer: “Oh, I backslid”—the fundamentalists’ term for sinful weakness, like a man sleeping with a woman not his wife, the alcoholic stealing a drink. But twenty-five years of backsliding? The meeting ended uneventfully.

Duke lost in a landslide to Edwards’ 61 percent. The world sighed: Louisiana defeated the Nazi. But Duke’s 602,000 votes—55 percent of white support despite coverage of his Nazi past—constituted a middle-finger to the rest of the world. Duke was soon a spent force, serving 15 months in federal prison for mail fraud, bilking supporters of donations he used at casino crap tables; but his racially-inflamed base would expand behind Donald Trump, who won 58.5 percent against Joe Biden in 2020.

Neil Curran found Texas welcoming; After scripture studies, he became a Bible Church pastor. Unlike New Orleans, Dallas is one of America’s wealthiest urban areas; the national myth of endless space seems ever capable of regeneration. Oil wealth spun off fortunes in computers, real estate, and financial services, producing office towers, retail outlets, and homes, homes, homes. The prairie landscape between Dallas and Fort Worth has filled with shopping malls and expanding small towns. Dallas has one of America’s largest Catholic dioceses, and the two-city area is a quilt of Pentecostal, Evangelical, and Baptist churches.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican-majority legislature are long allied with the NRA. The border with Mexico is a scapegoat of Texas politics, the specter of brown “rapists” and “drug dealers” in Trump’s rhetoric. Texas, with a creed of unregulated markets, including gun sales, has had seven of the 30 deadliest mass shootings in America, according to the Gun Violence Project.

We’ve become a very secular country, taking God out of the equation, failing to teach morals in schools. We’re reaping what we’ve sown.

Neil Curran

Dallas with 1.3 million people took a different approach to crime than the NRA agenda of arming people to fight back. Since Police Chief Eddie Garcia implemented a 2021 plan, Dallas has recorded 100 fewer robberies than at this point last year. Garcia pushed “a wide-ranging collaboration between city agencies to address apartment complex-specific issues like blight, lighting, park access, and homelessness,” as Bloomberg reported, ‘to engage individuals who are at a high risk of being a victim of a crime or perpetuating one themselves.”

Dallas’s murder rate has dropped 13 percent; Austin’s has risen 86 percent.

“My faith isn’t in the Republican Party, though I tend to vote that way since Ronald Reagan in 1980,” says Curran. “That was more practical than anything, I thought Carter didn’t get it. I’m certainly conservative.”

Unlike his view of Duke as demonic, Curran sees Trump as a Machiavellian figure. “A lot of things he did to capture the Evangelical base were political and not heartfelt; he did what was politically necessary. I don’t blame him, everybody does that running for office. His agenda, I mostly liked; the style I did not like, the arrogance and mean-spiritedness were way overboard.”

On the paradox of Evangelicals, anchored in a scriptural morality, throwing heavy support to Trump after many women accused him of sexual abuse, Curran is restrained. “I wouldn’t have wanted to hang out with Trump; he seems to be a pretty self-centered guy. But from what I’ve read, and he seems to have done, I think he mellowed in the presidency and maybe changed due to Evangelicals like Mike Pompeo (the former Secretary of State) and others around him. That’s encouraging.”

In Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation—a book Curran had not read—Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a professor at Calvin University, writes, “From the Cold War to the present, evangelicals have perceived the American nation as vulnerable. Tough, aggressive militant men must defend ‘her.’ The border is the line of defense, a site of danger rather than a place of hospitality. What started as a backlash against hippies, antiwar protestors, civil rights activists, and urban minorities evolved into a veneration of law enforcement and the military.”

America has become the world capital of mass murder as sociopaths buy military weapons on a free market in guns that the Supreme Court shows scant interest in regulating. The Evangelicals are a complex strand of believers, marginalized and not, who gained power as core supporters of Trump. After years of “looking for a protector,” Du Mez writes, they rallied behind Trump, “an aggressive, heroic, manly man, someone who wasn’t restrained by political correctness or feminine virtues, someone who would break the rules for the right cause.”

“If it comes down to a vote between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in 2024, I’m voting for Donald Trump,” says Curran, responding to the passage in the book. “I think she paints Evangelicals with too broad a brush. Charismatics, Pentecostal Christians, and many Blacks are part of the Evangelical camp. “

When asked what he thought about stronger gun laws, Curran evinced a certain ambivalence.

“I’ve never owned a gun personally; my wife had a shotgun from duck-hunting and gave it to her brother 30 years ago. I think the total [deaths and people wounded] of these mass shootings pales in comparison to the violent street crimes in Chicago, South Dallas, or parts of New Orleans. Gun violence is a norm in big cities.”

“Gun restrictions are not the answer,” he continues. Then ambivalence surfaces. “The NRA talks about political implications of governments heading toward totalitarianism—disarm the public so we can’t fight back. I’m not sure if I buy it, or not. Would [stricter laws] cause government overreach?” Considering this, he says that the present laws, “aren’t helping people to stop gun violence.”

In another moment, he says, “I don’t think people should get machine guns. I’m not sure that if what people call assault weapons are machine guns. I think they’re OK to be sold. I don’t think the problem is guns. It’s people.”

In resisting a stance on stricter gun laws, Curran keeps circling back to what he sees as root causes of the gun crisis. “America for the first hundred years of our existence was a biblically rooted country. Without that foundation, things get kind of weak. We’ve become a very secular country, taking God out of the equation, failing to teach morals in schools. We’re reaping what we’ve sown.”

I’d expect religious conservatives to want a society that makes it hard for criminals and deranged people to get guns, especially military-grade weapons

Larry Williams

The recent Supreme Court decisions reversing Roe v. Wade and affirming the rights of a football coach to lead players in a school prayer give Curran some hope. “You can directly attribute those decisions to Donald Trump who appointed three justices to the Supreme Court.”

Larry Preston Williams sees the mass killings and escalating street violence as the result of a moral blindness in Congress and the Supreme Court. For him it’s also an economics issue.

“Where is this huge street supply of semiautomatic guns coming from? It’s two degrees of separation from legal ownership. People are arming themselves. Most of these auto burglaries—not carjackings—are solely about guns. Criminals looking for guns. In house burglaries, the first thing they look for is a gun. They’re not breaking in your house to steal your TV or stereo. They know most people don’t keep cash at home. They want guns.”

Williams takes mild comfort in the recent congressional legislation on gun control. He wants more of it—lots more.

“What the hell else makes sense? I didn’t feel threatened as a street cop all those years ago. Look at the line of danger for cops today. I’m what Trump calls one of those left-wing liberals on this issue. Background checks? You bet. Raise the standards of what it takes to buy weapons, period. I can’t see a civilian needing an automatic weapon with a high-capacity magazine. It’s inconsistent with the lifestyle most people lead. You don’t need that to defend your home.

“Having so many guns, people get angry and start shooting. We have a culture of guns that led to a belief among at least some people that you solve your problem with a gun. I think we’re going to see more mass shootings. I don’t think even Dr Phil could tell us why.”

When asked about the Religious Right’s alliance with the NRA in opposing gun control, Williams sounded a note of exasperation.

“To be honest, I’d expect religious conservatives to want a society that makes it hard for criminals and deranged people to get guns, especially military-grade weapons—a society that protects human life. As a Catholic and an ex-cop, I believe in the Ten Commandments, especially the one that says, Thou Shall Not Kill. I see a national weapons policy that facilitates the violation of the most sacred of the Ten Commandments. How the hell did we end up here?”

Jason Berry’s latest book, City of a Million Dreams, is the subject of a documentary in which jazz funerals serve as a lens on New Orleans history.


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Corruption undermines police departments, big and small – Daily Freeman

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Are the police corrupt?

We know that power corrupts and as Lord Acton famously put it, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We certainly know that power resides in certain places. We’ve all seen how from time to time, police officers have been known to abuse their physical and legal power.

When we witness a police officer putting his knee on the neck of a perceived perpetrator, for example, there can be a huge public reaction. I suspect that the majority of people who choose to get into law enforcement are doing so for the right reasons, but as in any profession, there are bad apples and these are the ones I’m talking about.

Frankly, I would not like to be a cop. Part of the problem is that cops tend to stick together. If someone on a police force acts out, there is always the question as to whether or not his fellow officers will call “foul.” There is indeed a “thin blue line” that, all too often, is not crossed. There are a lot of rats in New York City. But when you are called a “rat” in a police department, it is a very serious charge. The police are not alone in calling out rats. We know that virtually every profession considers double-crossers to be undercutting others in their primary group. Hey, college professors do it to people in their ranks.

So what constitutes corruption? Cops who help themselves to drug bust proceeds or sleep with prostitutes or take money to let someone “off the hook” undercut all their colleagues and put them at risk with the general public. We all know how dangerous that can be. Once people lose faith in the police, the public is put at considerable risk. We have all seen instances of police corruption. It exists in big cities and small towns. When it happens, departments are undermined and when police move to higher up political positions, people will always remember their reputation for corruption. It will stick with them forever.

We know that police officers can get themselves into serious trouble because of the way in which they use and abuse power. We see people who operate restaurants bribe officers to come into their establishments by giving them food or other goodies. Hey, we all get it.  If a cop is in your restaurant, it is less likely that a bad guy will come into the place. If I had a chance to host a cop to prevent bad people coming into my store, I would certainly do that even though anyone reading this will know that is the essence of corruption. Of course, we all know otherwise good citizens who do exactly that.

Law enforcement officials are expected to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. When I worked with the NYPD, the commissioner decided that too many cops were too heavy or, in the vernacular, “fat.” An overweight officer chasing someone will be at a serious disadvantage.

All too often, cops have been typecast as being on the right (or fascist) side of politics. I get that. It’s incredibly difficult for a police department to find people who can operate effectively in all the roles they have to play, from social worker to soldier.

It is imperative to understand that promotion within a department is also dicey. I have seen police departments in which the tests that are given are given far too much weight. In some departments, an officer who attended junior college can rise to a senior position based on that little bit of education. It’s like studying for a regents exam. Does knowing all that crap really make you a better officer? Sometimes, yes, but all too often the answer is negative. Next me you read about scandal in a police department, think about all of this.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at alan@wamc.org.

 


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