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article imageOp-Ed: Ray Kelly's NYPD — Still worthy of the public's trust?

By Shawn Kay     Jul 11, 2012 in Crime
New York - A litany of abuses, civil rights violations, official misconduct as well as allegations of brutality and corruption has left many wondering if the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is still worthy of the public's trust?
The New York City Police Department appears to be in a perpetual state of controversy as scandal after scandal rocks the storied police force causing many to wonder whether Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are condoning the behavior, turning a blind eye to it or are simply unable to impose discipline on the department.
File photo: NYPD swearing in graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan
File photo: NYPD swearing in graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan
Fordmadoxfraud
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The current crisis within the NYPD has been documented at length by the New York Observer and most recently by the acclaimed publication, New York
While experts in police science and criminal justice academia may point to deep-rooted cultural problems inherent in the police department itself, a weak screening process for new officers, or a combination of these factors and more, it is quite evident that there is something wrong with the city’s police force.
The NYPD is fast becoming a den of criminality where criminals masquerade as police officers while others are malcontents, unstable or disturbed individuals.
What’s more is the controversy surrounding the NYPD’s brutal crackdown on the peaceful protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its interference and intimidation of members of the news media as they perform their federally protected constitutional duties namely the First Amendment which guarantees the Freedom of Speech and Press.
There is also the equally controversial stop-and-frisk policy – the NYPD’s key crime fighting tactic. This past August a federal judge allowed a law suit against the city’s police force to proceed to trial admits evidence that the policy is quota-driven and racially biased.
The decision by the judge to green light the lawsuit to trial means that the NYPD will soon be engaged in a very heated legal battle in a federal courtroom, trying to fend off very credible evidence of quota-driven law enforcement (which is very illegal) and racially biased policing methods.
Is the NYPD out of control? Many seem to think so. Quiet murmurings of an independent monitor - perhaps the U.S. Justice Department - have already begun.
The police force that is globally renowned and legend for making New York the safest big city in the nation appears to be less than effective in policing its own ranks.
The NYPD is out of control and needs to be reined in.
The first step towards solving a problem is admitting you have one.
It’s time for both Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg to pull their heads out of the sand and admit that there is a very big problem within the NYPD.
Bad Boys: Misconduct of NYC Police Officers in 2012
The following is a compilation of incidents of NYPD misconduct that has occurred since January. While this list is long, it makes for some compelling reading.
Though every effort was made to list and highlight all acts of misconduct perpetrated by NYPD officers within the past six and a half months, it should be noted that it is likely not exhaustive.
January 2012 – Manhattan: The New York Times reports that Erika Lefevre, a fierce critic of the NYPD, has been subjected to extensive surveillance by detectives from the city’s police force.
Through a request filed by Lefevre under the Freedom of Information Act, the NYPD released a copy of an official file to her that contained personal information and images of her.
Lefevre is the mother of slain Canadian-born cyclist Matthew Lefevre, 30. Matthew was killed last year when he was struck by a truck while riding his bike in the city.
Lefevre is unsure why she has been the subject of NYPD surveillance but suspects it may be due to her continued criticism of the city’s police force. Lefevre became an outspoken critic of the NYPD after it botched its investigation into the death of her son.
She says the police failed to photograph or collect evidence from the scene of the October 2011 accident in which her son was killed.
According to The New York Times, a report by the Accident Investigation Squad revealed the crash investigator’s camera was broken, accounting for the lack of photographic evidence of the crash.
Lefevre’s one-woman crusade against the NYPD in the name of justice for her son, has apparently made her a target.
The NYPD file on Lefevre is extensive and includes not just information and pictures of her but also information and pictures on several members of her family.
Steve Vaccaro, the attorney that has been providing legal representation to Lefevre in her crusade for justice, is also in the file. Images of Vaccaro and personal information about him and his law firm were compiled by investigators and placed into the file.
While Lefevre’s outspoken criticism of the NYPD would likely be a source of annoyance to the city’s police force, she is merely exercising her right to freedom of speech and has not violated any laws that would warrant such extensive spying.
In speaking to The New York Times on the matter, Lefevre was quoted as having said, “Apparently, (the) NYPD cares more about investigating our family’s efforts to get information from it than about properly investigating Matthew’s death.”
January 2012 - New York: The New York Times reports that the Brennan Center for Justice was able to obtain documents under state freedom of information laws that revealed nearly 1,500 members of NYPD ranging in duty and rank from patrol officers to detectives and lieutenants, saw "The Third Jihad: Radical Islam's Vision for America," a controversial documentary that has been branded as anti-Islamic.
The New York Times informs that the Brennan Center was only able to obtain this information after a fierce nine-month legal battle with the NYPD to have the documents released.
The film was aired repeatedly by the NYPD at a police facility in Brooklyn during counter-terrorism training for it's officers from October to December 2010.
In January 2011, Tom Robbins, a reporter for the Village Voice, did an exposé on the NYPD's use of the controversial film as a training tool and interviewed police spokesman Paul Browne on the matter. At that time, Browne told Robbins that no NYPD personnel viewed the film. However, he later admitted that the film was shown "a couple of times.” He also adding, "It was reviewed and found to be inappropriate."
The NYPD only stopped showing the film at counter-terrorism training sessions when Muslim officers offended by the content in the film began to complain to their supervisors.
Muslim advocacy groups say the 72-minute film is anti-Islam, distorts Islam and sows distrust against them.
Exacerbating matters even further was the revelation that Commissioner Kelly himself had been featured in the controversial film.
Browne would later admit that he actually encouraged Kelly to take part in a March 2007 interview that would later be included in the documentary.
The revelations drew outrage from the city's Muslim community. Browne told Reuters that Kelly considers the film "objectionable" and now regrets taking part in it.
Nonetheless, some Muslim advocacy groups have called for Kelly's resignation. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the lead Muslim-rights organization in the nation, has had one of the loudest voices in demanding the resignation of the commissioner.
CAIR spokesman Cyrus McGoldrick told Metro, "For them to be caught in a lie about producing this film is just so unbelievable that the Muslim community will settle for nothing less than the resignation of both Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne."
The Islamic Circle of North America, another prominent Muslim-rights group in the U.S., has also called for the resignation of the commissioner.
When the controversy first emerged, Bloomberg, known largely throughout his tenure as mayor as being wishy-washy on various political and social issues, first issued a statement that seemed to be a public reprimand of the NYPD in which he said that the use of the film as a training tool showed "terrible judgment."
However, a few days later, the mayor publicly voiced his support for his embattled commissioner.
January 24, 2012 - Downtown Brooklyn: Officer Michael Daragjati pleaded guilty in a federal court to charges of civil rights violations, assault, and attempted extortion. In accordance with a plea deal between Daragjati's attorney and federal prosecutors, the dishonored officer agreed to resign from the NYPD. Daragjati could face over 20 years in prison when he is sentenced. At the very least he faces 46 to 57 months in prison under mandatory federal sentencing guidelines.
January 26, 2012 - Bronx: As many as four officers kick and beat with their batons, Jateik Reed, 19, while attempting to effect an arrest against him. The incident, which was captured on camera by a private citizen and posted online, shows officers beating Reed with their nightsticks while also kicking him while he is on the ground.
Reed, an alleged local drug dealer, was being arrested by officers who said he had marijuana and cocaine on him and that the use of force was justified because he was resisting arrest.
Reed was taken to the hospital for back pain resulting from the beating and needed staples to close a wound on his head.
Family members and online commentators who viewed the video of Reed's arrest, protested that police used too much force.
Officers charged Reed with drug possession and assault on a police officer. However, the Bronx DA's Office and the NYPD's IAB decided to drop the charges against Reed at the conclusion of an investigation into the incident which quickly became national news.
January 31, 2012 – South Shore, Staten Island: Officer Anthony Rivera, 39, of the 123rd precinct was charged with grand larceny after allegedly swiping two iPads from the car of a person he was arresting. The man was suspected of stealing the iPads from a Target shopping center near the South Shore community on Staten Island.
Rivera faces charges of criminal possession of stolen property and official misconduct.
February 2012 - Washington Heights, Manhattan: Four detectives from the 33rd precinct are disciplined and placed on modified duty after they were alleged to have sexually assaulted a 36-year old waitress at the La Parilla restaurant. The four detectives, all of whom were on-duty, allegedly spent several hours at the uptown Manhattan eatery consuming alcoholic beverages before carrying out the alleged sexual assault. Some of the detectives involved in the incident have been ordered to rehab by NYPD supervision.
February 2012 – New York-New Jersey: While the dismay by Muslims over the NYPD’s controversial surveillance and religious profiling of their communities is well known. What is lesser known are the reactions of high-ranking politicians and law enforcement officials in the towns outside New York City – the legal jurisdiction of the NYPD – where some of the spying took place.
The NYPD spied on Muslim communities in Long Island, Westchester County, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey.
However, New Jersey has been the most vocal in its opposition to the NYPD’s actions.
A livid New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the most vocal defender of the state against the NYPD invasion, coming out with all guns blazing against Bloomberg, Kelly and New York's police force.
In a public statement made during his monthly radio appearance on 101.5 FM, a local New Jersey radio station, on the secret operations in the Garden State, Christie slammed the NYPD and said he didn’t know whether the program was “born out of arrogance, or out of paranoia, or out of both.
He went on to say, "This is the New York Police Department. I know they think their jurisdiction is the world. Their jurisdiction is New York City. My concern is this kind of obsession that the NYPD seems to have that they’re the masters of the universe."
Meanwhile, the revelations of spying in the Garden State have increased tensions between the NYPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
FBI's officials in Newark, the nexus for federal operations in New Jersey, have launched a very rare and public attack on the NYPD, slamming the controversial police force and its spy program.
There are concerns amongst officials in the FBI, New Jersey State Police and numerous other federal and local police and county sheriff agencies that the NYPD’s actions may have damaged community relations with Muslims as well as the ability to enlist their continued support in defending the state against terrorism.
While New Jersey officials readily admit that their neighbor across the Hudson River is the top target for terrorism, they also note that their state also needs to be protected from terrorists.
Federal officials in Newark say the aftereffects of the NYPD’s spy operations are already evident and have had a “chilling effect” on its ability to gather counter-terrorism intelligence in that state.
There is also mounting concern by criminal justice experts that in the long run the NYPD’s secretive operations beyond its jurisdiction may actually hurt its relationships and ability to solicit cooperation from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as they become increasingly distrustful and annoyed with the NYPD supremacy and the arrogance that comes with it.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan.
David Shankbone
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February 1, 2012 – One Police Plaza, Manhattan: officers are barred from wearing non-issued clothing with the letters NYPD. Commissioner Kelly and the Uniform and Equipment Review Committee passed the departmental ruling after Kelly witnessed an officer wearing a T-shirt with “NYPD” and the provocative military slogan “Kill Them All and Let God Sort It Out.” Kelly reportedly felt that the shirt was inappropriate, insensitive and unprofessional. Rank-and-file officers are extremely upset and claim that the ruling violates their freedom of speech.
One Police Plaza - Headquarters of the New York City Police Department in Lower Manhattan.
One Police Plaza - Headquarters of the New York City Police Department in Lower Manhattan.
Francesco Dazzi
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February 2, 2012 - Wakefield, Bronx: Sergeant Scott Morris and officer Richard Haste of the narcotics division break down the door to a dwelling on White Plains Road on East 229th Street and fatally shoot Ramarley Graham, 18. Graham, an alleged drug dealer, was reportedly flushing marijuana down a toliet in a bathroom on the second floor when Morris and Haste confronted him. Officer Haste fired the shot that killed Graham.
Morris and Haste claimed that Graham had threatened them with a gun but no firearms were located in the home by investigators.
Meanwhile, Graham's family have hired an attorney and intend to sue the NYPD for shooting the unarmed Graham and breaking into their home without a search warrant.
Graham's family along with hundreds of Bronx residents and community activists held rallies and marches against the police after the shooting.
Sergeant Morris has been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting. While officer Haste has been indicted on first degree manslaughter charges. If convicted he could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Commissioner Kelly has made clear his intentions to revamp the NYPD's controversial narcotics unit by having all of its members retrained.
February 2012 – Staten Island: Web developer Chloe Sowers, 37, files a lawsuit against the City of New York based on an incident that occurred on the evening of December 8, at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. In that incident Sowers claims she was wrongly arrested and falsely imprisoned by Officer Kevin McKeon and other members of the NYPD.
Sowers even claims that the NYPD officers made fun of her. Upon removing Sowers shoes after arresting her, officers said to the woman, “Ewww, stinky feet.”
Gregory Antolliano, Sowers’ attorney, is seeking unspecified compensation from the city for a variety of abuses Sowers says she suffered. Among them are false arrest and imprisonment, excessive use of force and battery.
February 15, 2012 – City Hall, Manhattan: amidst a rise in pedestrian deaths, the City Council holds an emergency session at City Hall to address the ongoing crisis. Council members, who believe the deaths are directly related to the police force’s lax attitude towards enforcing the city’s traffic laws. Councilmembers spent several hours grilling John Cassidy, deputy chief of the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau over the matter. At one point during the hearing an irate councilmember asked deputy chief Cassidy why the police force tickets drivers more often for tinted windows than for speeding. According to Transportation Alternatives, a pedestrian advocacy and pro-mass transit group, the NYPD issued 76,000 tickets for excessive speeding, compared with 82,000 for tinted windows. The Council believes that speeding and reckless driving has contributed to an increase in pedestrian deaths citywide and is urging the NYPD leadership to pressure their officers to crackdown on dangerous motorists.
According to data provided by the City Council and Transportation Alternatives at least 1,745 pedestrians and bicyclists have been killed in traffic between 2001 and 2010 while 142,485 have been injured or maimed.
Erika Lefevre, who waged a heated one woman campaign against the NYPD after her son was murdered by a motorist, was a featured speaker at the hearing. In her testimony before the Council she said, “The NYPD should take its responsibility to investigate crashes more seriously.”
Michael Bloomberg - Mayor of the City of New York
Michael Bloomberg - Mayor of the City of New York
Rubenstein
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February 16, 2012 - Brooklyn: Officer Matthew Sobora, 43 a member of the mounted unit was photographed by a passenger snoozing on a Brooklyn subway train while in uniform.
Martin Bisi used his cellphone to snap the humiliating image of Sobota, sleeping on the F train - with his hat in his hand and his holstered gun in plain view at 3 p.m.
Sobota, a 20 year veteran, was off-duty (though he was in uniform) at the time of the incident and was heading to his second job where he moonlights as a security guard.
Bisi, e-mailed the photo to NYPD brass, who punished Sobota with a "command discipline."
Bisi, believed to be a regular at OWS events, posted the photos on his Twitter account and Twitted: "NYC cop sleeping on F train last Thus w/weapon - i reported/his vacation docked. if you see something, say something!
February 19, 2012 - Melrose, Bronx: Off-duty NYPD Sergeant Kwando Karikari-Awere, 38, was arrested on DUI charges after getting into a minor car accident at East 150th street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx around 8:40 p.m. The sergeant was arrested by responding officers at the scene when he refused to take a Breathalyzer test. He was later suspended by the NYPD. Police said that there were no injuries.
February 22, 2012 – Lower Manhattan: A Manhattan jury awards Stephanie Adams, 41, $1.2 million for injuries stemming from a 2006 run-in with NYPD officers that left her with injuries.
In her lawsuit against, Adams, a former Playboy Playmate and Miss November 1992, says police used excessive force when they threw her on the ground at gunpoint after she got into a confrontation with a taxi driver.
The incident began when Adams hailed a taxi on May 25 to go home to her apartment and was picked up by cab driver Eric Darko.
Stephanie Adams  41 - professional model and blogger.
Stephanie Adams, 41 - professional model and blogger.
stephanieadamsdotcom
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When Adams got into an argument with Darko over directions to her apartment, he began to yell and curse at her which prompted the woman to call police. Darko also called police but told the dispatcher that Adams had threatened to shoot him.
A team of four plainclothes officers and a sergeant were dispatched to the scene on “high alert.” When they arrived at the scene, they immediately zeroed in on Adams. All five of the cops pointed their firearms at Adams while shouting at her to get down on the ground.
The former Ms. November says that despite officers searching her bags and failing to uncover a firearm as well as following the officer’s orders to keep her hands up and not to move, they slammed her face down in the street and yanked her hair.
“They yanked my hair, they shoved me to the ground in the street and I closed my eyes and started crying,” Adams said.
The officers confirmed they threw the ex-model to the ground to subdue her after they arrived on the scene, claiming they were unsure if the bunny was armed.
Adams, for her part, countered that she was dressed in skintight jeans and a bare midriff top at the time.
Sergeant John Rajan later admitted to the jury that Adams' attire that evening left "no place to conceal a weapon."
Though the police released her from the scene without charge, the adverse aftereffects of that night would last her a lifetime.
Adams says she suffered permanent neck and back injuries as a result of the rough police treatment she endured. She also says that she is now fearful and distrustful of the NYPD.
A doctor for Adams testified that the incident injured spinal discs causing her serious and chronic back pain.
The niece of a former New Jersey police commissioner, Adams said she was traumatized by the manhandling by cops and by having guns pointed at her.
However, lawyers for the city countered that Adams claims of being traumatized by the incident were overblown - citing images on her website, Goddessy.com, which feature the former centerfold in scantily-clad attire holding and shooting firearms.
Besides the sexy images of her handling and displaying firearms, Adams also speaks of her experience with and fondness for guns.
A juror who spoke to the New York Post after the $1.2 million verdict in favor of Adam’s called the pictures on her website “a smokescreen.” According to the juror, the smoking gun for the panel was the spine and neck injuries suffered in the incident.
“No one should be treated that way,” the juror said.
At a press conference held by her attorney after the verdict, Adams told reporters, “I’m very gratified,” adding that for her, the case wasn’t about cash, “it was about justice.”
Adams also said that she had no animosity towards the NYPD but encouraged others who are victims of police abuse to come forward.
The jury actually gave Adams $385,000 more than her lawyers asked for.
Lawyers for the city disagreed with the verdict and continue to standby the officers involved in the incident saying that they acted properly.
Drako, the cab driver who falsely accused Adams of having a firearm had his taxi license revoked by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission after telling investigators that he thought Adams was a werewolf who’d threatened him with her “vampire teeth.” Drako was also fined $2,700.
When she was crowned Ms. November in 1992, Adams, was proclaimed as the first openly lesbian playmate and hailed by the Village Voice as “the Best NYC lesbian sex symbol.”
Though Adams is now straight and says that her husband and son are the focus of her life, she is still recognized as an advocate for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.
February 26, 2012 - Fordham: Off-duty officer Melvin Thomas, 33, was arrested after groping a woman while partying at a Bronx nightclub. Thomas was charged with assault, forcible touching and sex abuse after allegedly grabbing the woman's buttocks and crotch.
February 28, 2012 - East New York, Brooklyn: Officer Christopher Morris, 31, of the 75th precinct is arrested on drunk driving charges after being involved in an early morning traffic accident.
However, unlike past incidents of drunken driving involving NYPD officers, Morris was actually on-duty and conducting routine police patrol. The vehicle he was operating was an NYPD police cruiser, which was totaled in the wreck.
Morris, who was on-duty and in uniform, stopped by the Lidenwood Diner where a late night police fundraiser was being held for the daughters of slain officer Peter Figoski.
Morris consumed several alcoholic beverages and was actually kicked out of the party by supervisors and other officers when he became too drunk.
The now sloshed officer got back into his squad car and attempted to resume police patrol.
He made it several blocks before plowing into a parked SUV and a light pole, which fell on a parked car at the intersection of Schenck and Sutter avenues a little after 4:30 a.m.
Morris was arrested and charged with DWI by responding officers. Police sources say he refused to take a breathalyzer test.
No bystanders or motorists were harmed and Morris suffered relatively minor injuries.
At the conclusion of a swift probe by Internal Affairs, NYPD leadership placed Lieutenant Paul McMahon and Sergeant Greg Ostrowski on modified duty after it was discovered that both were at the party but allowed Morris to leave the Lidenwood Diner visible drunk and behind the wheel of a patrol car.
The two face departmental charges of failure to supervise.
February 28, 2012 – New York: controversy arises over allegations of misappropriation of federal funds by the NYPD. The Associated Press reports that since 9/11, the Bush and Obama administrations have approved $135 million to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA) but that some of those funds may have been diverted by the NYPD to conduct surveillance on Muslims and counter-terrorism rather than the counter-narcotics operations for which it was intended. HIDTA is a nearly 20 year-old joint narcotics task force comprised mainly of the NYPD and NY State Police as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which is the lead agency in the federally-funded alliance. HIDTA targets drug traffickers and violent street gangs in the New York–New Jersey metro area.
March 2012 – Upper East Side, Manhattan: Internal Affairs Bureau detectives open an investigation on Sergeant Richard Wall, 35, for possible connections he may have to Anna Gristina – the millionaire madam accused of operating a high-profile prostitution ring at an apartment building on East 78th Street on Manhattan’s ultra-swanky Upper East Side. According to local news media reports, residents of the area told IAB investigators that the Sergeant was a fixture at the location while on-duty and in uniform. Wall is a 14 year veteran of the police force and is assigned to the 19th precinct.
Gristina supplied wealthy businessmen with call girls and claimed to have friends in high-places – including the NYPD, FBI agents and politicians. Some of the call girls supplied by the madam were reportedly underaged. According to the New York Post, Gristina had employed Sylvan”Sly” Francis, 54, a burly ex-NYPD detective, as a bodyguard. Francis worked as a former undercover narcotics officer and was even a chauffeur for a first deputy commissioner under top boss Ray Kelly. Though Francis retired from the NYPD in 2002, authorities believe he was serving as Gristina’s muscle as far back as 2001.
Though Francis was no longer working for Gristina at the time authorities smashed her call girl ring, he is still being sought for questioning.
Gristina, who is awaiting trial at Rikers Island correctional facility, was busted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office after a five year-long investigation.
March 9, 2012 – Tottenville, Staten Island: Sergeant Colleen Leonard, 39, was arrested for driving while intoxicated shortly before 5 p.m. at Sprague Avenue and Hylan Boulevard in the Tottenville neighborhood of Staten Island. While making a turn on Sprague Avenue, Leonard’s Jeep Liberty clipped another car. Neither Leonard nor the motorist in the other vehicle was harmed in the incident.
Responding officers found more than a dozen empty beer cans including a half-empty Corona in her center console and noticed the smell of alcohol on her breath.
Leonard refused to take a breathalyzer exam and was taken to Staten Island University hospital for observation where she was also charged with DWI.
At the time of the incident, Sergeant Leonard was heading to her South Shore home on Staten Island after finishing a late night shift at the 70th precinct in Brooklyn.
March 25, 2012 – North Shore, Staten Island: Off-duty police officer Daniel Smith, 26, was arrested on drunk driving charges after being involved in what the NYPD referred to as a “minor traffic incident” at 8 a.m. Smith was arrested at the scene after he refused to take a breathalyzer test. No injuries were reported.
An NYPD cruiser
An NYPD cruiser
Adam E. Moreira
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March 28, 2012 – New York: The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) along with the Bronx Defenders, the Latino Justice group and several tenants filed a class-action lawsuit at the Southern District of New York federal court in Lower Manhattan against the NYPD for patrolling inside apartment buildings, saying residents are routinely stopped while simply going to check their mail or taking out the trash. According to the lawsuit, nearly everyday the NYPD “unlawfully” stop and question residents of apartment buildings enrolled in a program called Operation Clean Halls.
The NYPD says Operation Clean Halls is meant to protect residents of buildings in high-crime areas and is aimed at targeting illegal activity, including trespassing and drugs.
The Village Voice referred to the NYPD program as an indoor version of the highly controversial stop-and-frisk campaign.
March 28, 2012 – Inwood, Manhattan: Off-duty rookie officer Ariel Frias, 27, is arrested by Internal Affairs Bureau detectives on misdemeanor assault charges in relation to the January 8, beating of Edwin Veloz, 23, at Mamajuana Café, a nightclub, on Dyckman Street.
At 3:30 a.m. Frias and Veloz got into a heated argument with each other while at the nightclub. During the argument, Frias struck Veloz with a single blow to the head that left him in a coma.
Security camera footage shows Frias coldcocking Veloz, sending him crashing to the floor unconscious.
After the beating, Frias ran from the nightclub without seeking aid for the victim or reporting the incident to police.
Veloz, spent weeks in a coma before regaining consciousness in late January. His family says he is making a slow recovery and still cannot walk or talk.
Court records say the beating left Veloz with brain damage.
Prior to the assault, Veloz worked as a stock boy at a community college while studying for a degree in accounting.
A judge released Frias on his own recognizance, despite prosecutors' request for a $2,500 bail.
April 14, 2012 – Rego Park, Queens: Off-duty police officer Alexandra Baiasu, 27, was arrested shortly before 11 p.m. on domestic violence charges after he allegedly assaulted his 31 year-old fiancée. The officer was charged with harassment and assault. The Internal Affairs Bureau is conducting an investigation into the incident.
Officer Baiasu was an NYPD rookie assigned to the police academy.
April 15, 2012 – Hollis, Queens: Off-duty detective Michael Fantrol, 42, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident after he allegedly struck 82-year old Doris Gadpaille with his SUV shortly after 10 p.m. According to prosecutors, Fantrol sped through a stop sign and struck Gadpaille but kept going. A witness followed Fantrol home and took down his license plate information. Gadpaille suffered cuts to her head and hand, a bruised hip and a fractured face in the incident.
April 29, 2012 – Lower East Side, Manhattan: Off-duty police officer Sergio Carrillo, 31, was arrested on drunk driving charges after slamming his vehicle into another car while driving on Second Avenue and East 11th Street at 4:30 a.m.
No one was injured in the incident.
Officer Carrillo lives on Long Island and was assigned to the 7th precinct. He has been a police officer with the NYPD since 2005.
April 29, 2012 – Sunset Park, Brooklyn: Sergeant George St. Louis was arrested at 10:30 p.m. on assault and unlawful imprisonment charges after he got into an argument with his wife, Tania St. Louis at their Brooklyn apartment.
St. Louis allegedly held his wife inside their bathroom for a few minutes, yanked her arm and choked her.
According to the New York Post, police were called to the St. Louis residence last year when St. Louis punched his wife in the face and choked her unconscious.
April 30, 2012 – Manhattan: Demonstrators affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement and four city councilmembers – Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane Williams, Letitia James, and Melissa Mark-Viverito – filed a civil rights action in federal court.
The lawsuit, a copy of which was posted on the Occupy Wall Street website, showed the defendants to be Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., among others.
The suit claims the plaintiff’s First, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated by NYPD in a series of incidents beginning on and around Sept. 17, 2011, and that the violations are ongoing.
The suit also charges that the NYPD uses excessive force during Occupy Wall Street protests and interferes with the rights of journalists.
Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Square in New York City  NY. October 09  10  12  2011.
Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Square in New York City, NY. October 09, 10, 12, 2011.
ACORN-flickr
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All but James faced charges stemming from their attendance at the demonstrations, all of which have either been dropped or are on track to be dismissed.
The councilmembers are also calling for an outside monitor for the NYPD.
May 6, 2012 – Downtown Brooklyn: Officer Ronald Gonzalez, 41, was arrested on drunk driving charges at 12:30 a.m. near Joralemon and Adams streets after being involved in what the NYPD referred to as a “minor” traffic accident with another car. Gonzalez was arrested and charged with DWI upon his refusal to submit to a breathalyzer exam at the scene. Gonzalez has been suspended from the police force. No injuries were reported.
Prior to his suspension from the NYPD, officer Gonzalez was assigned to the 77th precinct in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights.
May 7, 2012 – Manhattan: Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers sentenced former officer Michael Pena, 28, to 75 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting a 24 year-old school teacher at gunpoint in an alley in the Inwood section of the borough last August.
Pena, who was off-duty at the time, approached the teacher at around 6 a.m. as she was heading to work at a school in the Bronx. The ex-cop pulled his NYPD-issued 9mm handgun on the terrified young woman and forced her into an alley where he sexually assaulted her. Throughout the assault, Pena threatened to, “blow your f**king head off” if she resisted him.
The rogue cop was convicted this past March at trial by a jury which found him guilty of oral and anal sodomy.
Pena admitted to assaulting the woman but insists he never penetrated her.
The NYPD suspended Pena at the time of his arrest and later fired him.
Before his sentencing in court Pena made an attempt at an apology for an his actions. According to the New York Post, the disgraced cop said, “I’d like to go back in time to the day of this incident and somehow grab myself by the shoulder.”
Judge Carruthers had little mercy or sympathy for Pena as he sentenced him to 75 years to life – the maximum penalty for his crime.
“For you Michael Pena, there is scorn,” the judge told the police officer turned rapist.
According to the New York Daily News, Judge Carruthers held back little as he condemned the ex-cop: “She was a young woman at the time of the incident, looking forward to teaching underprivileged little children their ABCs, unaware of the evil incident that was about to undertake her.”
The judge went on to say, “Michael Pena is a sexual predator. He repeatedly threatened to shoot her in the face. Michael Pena acted purposely and intentionally throughout the dreadful incident.”
Pena currently remains in protective custody at Rikers Island correctional facility until he can be transported to a prison upstate to begin serving his sentence.
May 15, 2012 – Queens: Officer Devon Daniels, 30, a five-year member of the NYPD, was arrested by a joint team of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, Internal Affairs Bureau detectives and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents at the culmination of a drug investigation.
The officer was arrested for allegedly helping Guy Curtis, the leader of a violent heroin distributing gang in Queens called “Pov City.”
DEA agents began looking into Daniels after they arrested the local drug kingpin and started combing through his phone.
According to the New York Post, Daniels allegedly used NYPD databases to provide Curtis with background checks and information on drug subordinates, rival dealers and even fellow police officers.
Law enforcement sources say Daniels and Curtis grew up in the same neighborhood together and were childhood friends.
Curtis ran a drug trafficking network that shipped drugs between New York and Kansas.
Curtis pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute in January.
Daniels has been suspended from the NYPD without pay and was released on $150,000 bond.
May 16, 2012 – Citi Field, Queens: Off-duty police officer Eduardo Cornejo, 30, was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. The officer tried to sneak into a better seat at the Citi Field stadium during a game between the Mets and the Cincinnati Reds. When he was confronted by stadium security guards and reportedly refused to return to the seat for which he had a ticket, the police were called and Cornejo was arrested.
Cornejo was assigned to the 67th precinct in Brooklyn. He has been on the police force since 2005.
May 17, 2012 - Brooklyn:
The City of New York will pay a settlement of $360,000 to Brooklyn couple who were falsely arrested and beaten by NYPD officers after objecting to the assault of an alleged local drug dealer during a Summer 2007 incident.
Michael Warren and his wife Evelyn were driving through Brooklyn when they witnessed Sergeant Steven Talvy allegedly kicking a handcuffed man, a drug suspect, in the head on Vanderbilt and Atlantic Avenue on June 21, 2008.
When the couple got out of their car to protest the Sergeant’s actions and tell him that what he was doing was wrong and illegal, they allege that Officers Joseph Tillotson, Anthony Carozza and John Acconi beat them and then charged them with disorderly conduct.
The Sergeant and the three officers belonged to the 77th precinct.
The couple’s lawyer Jonathan Moore told reporters outside Brooklyn federal court that the substantial payout confirms the officers engaged in wrongdoing.
The city’s Law Department said the lawsuit was in the best interest of all parties involved.
Since the incident, Talvy has been promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant.
Both Michael and Evelyn Warren are civil rights attorneys.
May 22, 2012 – Astoria, Queens: Officer Ankur Joshi, 35, was arrested on drunk driving charges after slamming his vehicle into a Honda Accord at Steinway Street and 25th Avenue and then fleeing the scene.
The accident, which occurred at 5:25 a.m., left the unidentified driver of the Accord hospitalized with minor neck and back injuries; Joshi was uninjured.
Police arrested Joshi at his Queens home about 11:40 a.m. The officer was hit with charges of drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident. If convicted he faces up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Joshi worked as a patrol officer at the 114th precinct – the same neighborhood where the incident occurred.
The NYPD has suspended Joshi without pay.
June 1, 2012 – Jackson Heights, Queens: A New York Supreme Court Justice filed a brutality claim with the Civilian Compliant Review Board (CCRB) after being punched by an NYPD officer.
Judge Thomas Raffaele, 69, witnessed officers attempting to make an arrest on a Jackson Heights street when an unruly crowd gathered and began to surround them. Raffaele, concerned for the safety of the officers dialed 911. While on his phone, an officer targeted Raffaele and struck him with an uppercut punch. The judge tried to make a compliant to a sergeant at the scene, who dismissed his accusations.
Raffaele told The New York Times that he experienced “a lot of pain.” The judge went to Elmhurst Hospital Center where he was treated and released.
The CCRB and Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating the incident.
June 3, 2012 – Lindenhurst, Long Island: Detective Rafael (Ray) Astacio, 39, was arrested by Long Island authorities on burglary charges.
Astacio and three other men were caught in the act by authorities as they broke into the Lindenhurst home of diner owner Anastasios Matheos, 64, on Sunday morning.
Matheos was attending church services at the time his house was being burglarized.
He told the New York Daily News that the intruders didn’t ransack the place but rather went right for jewelry belonging to his wife, Lasiliki, 60, and his daughter Eleni, 27.
He said he was grateful the burglars apparently overlooked his daughter’s $10,000 engagement ring, which was just sitting out on a table.
Matheos is a Greek immigrant and restaurant owner who has lived in the U.S. for 40 years.
Astacio is a 14-year veteran of the NYPD and is a detective in the Special Victims Division. He is a resident of Copiague, Long Island where he lives with his wife and their two children.
The other three men arrested with Astacio during the burglary of Matheos’ residence were identified as: Paul Adams, 46, Michael Brown, 24, and Joseph Alacqua, 31.
Both Nassau and Suffolk county police believe Astacio and his crew may be involved in other burglaries on Long Island and have opened an investigation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also recently joined the probe into Astacio and his crew. The FBI believes the crew may be behind numerous burglaries and robberies in both Long Island and New York City.
Astacio is reportedly the main target of the FBI’s investigation. The federal agents are doggedly investigating the disgraced detective in an effort to find out if he committed other crimes or was involved in corruption during his 14 year career working as a detective in the NYPD’s Vice Squad and most recently as a sex crimes investigator for the Special Victims Division.
Astacio is being charged with second-degree burglary and is currently free on $2,500 bail. The NYPD suspended him without pay after the arrest.
June 12, 2012 – Midtown Manhattan: Officer Raphael Ospina, 28, is sentenced to six months in prison in relation to a February 2010 drunk driving offense. In the incident, which took place at 3 a.m., a drunken Ospina, who was off-duty at the time, slammed his Chrysler 300 sedan into the back of a garbage truck at 71 mph and then careened into the ultra swanky Tiffany’s flagship department store on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan, shattering glass window displays and causing extensive damage to the famed establishment’s entrance.
Ospina suffered severe injuries in the wreck, including five broken ribs and a broken hip. Two passengers reportedly suffered lasting and debilitating injuries. No other motorists or bystanders were harmed in this incident.
Officials at the scene described a scene of carnage with the sidewalk in front of Tiffany’s littered with glass and blood.
Ospina told officers and doctors at the hospital, “My life is over. My career is over.”
The disgraced officer went to trial this past March in a failed bid to keep his badge. Ospina tried to pass off blame for the wreck by claiming that it was one of his two passengers who had been behind the wheel at the time of the crash. Prosecutors brought in both of those passengers to testify at the witness stand and both denied having been in the driver’s seat.
Upon his release, Ospina must install a breath-test device in his car, enroll in a DUI program and do five years’ probation.
June 16, 2012 – Bronx: Officer Raul Gabriel, 36, was arrested on assault charges at 10:45 p.m. somewhere in the northeast section of the Bronx. Officer Gabriel is alleged to have beaten a woman. His relationship to the woman was not made known to the news media and the NYPD declined to release any further details of the incident.
June 19, 2012 – Wallkill, New York: Officer Rosandre Burgher, 26, was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 16 year-old boy.
Police in Wallkill, an upstate town in Orange County, began investigating Burgher after they received an anonymous tip from a concerned citizen. Wallkill police notified the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau which dispatched a team of investigators from New York City to assist local authorities in that town with their investigation.
Burgher was arrested by local police after their investigation uncovered numerous sexual encounters between the officer and the 16 year-old.
Authorities note that the relationship was consensual.
Burgher was charged with third-degree criminal sexual act, unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child. He was released from an Orange County jail after posting $35,000 bond.
Burgher has been suspended from the NYPD.
Prior to his arrest and suspension, Burgher was an officer assigned to the NYPD’s 46th precinct in the Bronx. He had six years of service with the city’s police force.
July 8, 2012 – Long Island City, Queens: Off-duty officer Brayan Terrazas, 26, is arrested on DWI charges after he was involved in a traffic accident.
According to the NYPD, the officer collided with a concrete traffic divider at Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue just before 3 a.m. No injuries were reported in the incident and Terrazas had no passengers in his vehicle.
Terrazas has been on the police force for four years and was assigned to the Housing Bureau, a branch of the NYPD that conducts police patrols of the city’s public housing developments which are also commonly referred to as housing projects.
He has been suspended without pay.
July 10, 2012 – Brooklyn: Officer Kofi Nsafoah, 36, is arrested on domestic violence charges after allegedly choking his wife during an argument at 2:30 a.m., according to DNAinfo.com.
Nsafoah was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing.
NYPD caught dirty dancing during West Indian Parade.
NYPD caught dirty dancing during West Indian Parade.
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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