Is NYPD Out of Control?

In the wake of recent videos showing New York City police using unnecessary or excessive force against the people they're supposed to be protecting and serving, the advocacy group One Hundred Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care is calling for federal intervention.

"These cases have run unstopped since Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has been the police commissioner," said Noel Leader of 100 Blacks. "There has never been a lull in these outrageous examples of police abuse and misconduct."

Other complaints include "too many incidents of officers performing illegal stops and arrests."

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    Trickle down? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Punchy on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 01:45:09 PM EST
    Just wondering if this isn't an outgrowth of having so many federal divisions running amok.  You've got FBI agents who can basically look into anything anywhere for any reason completely unchecked (Nat. Security letters), CIA/NSA agents who can wiretap damn near anyone without any oversight (FISA redux), the complete disaster/corruption of the Federal Marshal service, the unchecked and unquestioned seize-and-snoop power of Custom Agents (and DHS), etc.

    It's only a matter of time before big-city cops feel empowered to abuse their powers, feeling no one is ever held accountable, so what the hell...


    Add the "leave no visible signs" tazer (none / 0) (#10)
    by sj on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 03:35:26 PM EST
    ... and they're off!  

    But you know, small-town cops have been abusing their powers for decades.  At least now there is at least a potential for a defense.


    Tazers don't leave visable signs? (none / 0) (#13)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 05:27:18 PM EST
    I thought they did. Do they have a "low" setting? Or is the mildest setting enough to "stop" a person?

    I exaggerate a bit (none / 0) (#14)
    by sj on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 06:55:15 PM EST
    What I meant is that the visible symptom of taser shock is a small burn, rather than the bruised and bloody body of a "traditional" beating.

    The last time I was reading about this, I read that so far taser shock has/had not yet been listed as a cause of death on any death certificate.  Rather the aggravated underlying cause is used without reference to what aggravated it.

    This article talks about the effects of taser on those afflicted with osteoporosis and other diseases.  

    The thing is (or rather "A" thing) is that:

    1. When it was first introduced, supposedly the taser was be used as an alternative to deadly force i.e. a gun.  Now you tell me, using the "don't tase me bro" incident as an example, was a gun an appropriate response?  If not, then a taser shouldn't have been either.

    2. Most victims subjected to a taser are tased multiple times, with each incident doing more and more damage.  

    With that in mind, it doesn't really matter what the lowest setting is.  Exposure to even one electrical charge is going to cause damage.  Repeated exposures with no chance for recovery between -- the idea fills me with horror.  But, on camera, the victim would not show signs of such horrific abuse.  

    Or rather torture.  For torture it is.


    Is that a rhetorical.... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 01:59:46 PM EST
    question?  I think it is...

    Here's one you may have missed...NYPD tries to frame a couple bar patrons for dope dealing.  The security camera and surveillance footage exonerate the victims of the frame-up. Link

    *Bonus mention in the link of the drugs for sex scandal in Brooklyn.

    Out of control is an understatement...as far as I'm concerned the NYPD is a criminal enterprise.

    Good One (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 02:18:21 PM EST
    Big brother, is sometimes on our side. I am surprised that the tapes were not found and scrubbed. Guess theses guys thought they could not be touched.

    Couldn't find the link.... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 02:23:28 PM EST
    but I remember reading a follow-up article where the bar owner was getting harassed by the NYPD for turning over his tapes to the press and helping to blow the frame-up wide open.

    Without those tapes, those poor slobs are looking at hard time.  How many like 'em rotting in cages as we speak?

    Yeah...between this and the animal who mauled the cyclist...surveillance society is coming back to bite the man in the arse:)


    OverTime And (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 02:15:25 PM EST
    Still drunk on Giuliani time. Nothing new here.

    Heck let's not pretend the NYPD (none / 0) (#5)
    by TheJoker on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 02:18:32 PM EST
    is the only law enforcement outfit that's out of control. They are just among the most prominent.

    The light's better here. (none / 0) (#7)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 02:45:01 PM EST
    While the NYPD unquestionably has more abuses than they ought to (that is, any at all) you might better ask if police in general are out of control.

    New York actually has a better than average record in terms of police / citizen interactions -- guns are drawn and used more often per capita in other jurisdictions.  And the record of the police now is better, I believe, than at any time in the past.  Not perfect -- maybe not even good -- but improving.  And probably better than where you live.

    Because we actually have groups like 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement (and remember, these are cops themselves) and because we're in the national media spotlight the violations that happen here receive more attention.

    The NYPD is so huge... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 03:07:41 PM EST
    ... that abuses are pretty much inevitable. The question is whether it is organizationally interested in correcting them when they occur. I do think that in that regard it's better than a lot of other departments around the country, though by no means perfect. Certainly Bloomberg is less of a knee-jerk apologist for the police than Rudy was.

    I find the NYPD friendlier these (none / 0) (#11)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 05:24:09 PM EST
    past few years. And Bloomberg's reactiveness to NYPD "issues" much better than in the past (CoughRUDYcough). He'll jump out in front and say something sounds excessive (Bell shooting comes to mind) and isn't afraid to go into the communities and talk to them about issues. Honestly, with all the issues we have here that the cops have to deal with and the beefing up since 9/11, I think they aren't doing too bad. Do we have 'over the top cops'? Yup. But with each incident, they are trying to correct things from what I've seen.

    And a shout out to the cops that cruise around slowly when I'm walking my dog @ 4AM  ;)


    My husband would say yes (none / 0) (#8)
    by stillife on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 03:02:39 PM EST
    I posted about his experience here before - middle-aged Brit gets stop-and-frisked by plainclothes cops at 7:30 a.m.  His crime apparently  was that he was walking thru our neighborhood projects to get to a Zipcar rental place.  He filed a report with CCRB, they identified the cops, but nothing has happened and after a year and a half, I doubt anything will.

    Needless to say, this experience did nothing to improve my husband's already low opinion of cops.

    case-finding changes (none / 0) (#12)
    by diogenes on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 05:24:50 PM EST
    Somehow I think that the "recent" spate of videos is the result of technology.  Not too many videos in the day when you had to make movies on reels of film or even when you couldn't make a video on a high-tech cellphone.

    but, but!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (none / 0) (#15)
    by cpinva on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 01:22:44 AM EST
    if a police officer is treated like anyone else who commits a crime, then no one will want to be one! right? i mean, if the police are treated equally under the law, what's the point in being one?

    at least, this is what the police unions would have us believe.

    the biggest federal "run amoker" is the DEA, an agency having no legitimate reason for existence, which should be terminated.