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New York NY - The Rage Of A Privileged Class


To get some sense of where we are with the police in New York, it's worth reading every single word of this stunning story from the Times:

A three-year investigation into the police's habit of fixing traffic and parking tickets in the Bronx ended in the unsealing of indictments on Friday and a stunning display of vitriol by hundreds of off-duty officers, who converged on the courthouse to applaud their accused colleagues and denounce their prosecution.

As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting, "Down with the D.A." and "Ray Kelly, hypocrite." As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom. 

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward. The unsealed indictments contained more than 1,600 criminal counts, the bulk of them misdemeanors having to do with making tickets disappear as favors for friends, relatives and others with clout. 

But they also outlined more serious crimes, related both to ticket-fixing and drugs, grand larceny and unrelated corruption. Four of the officers were charged with helping a man get away with assault. Jose R. Ramos, an officer in the 40th Precinct whose suspicious behavior spawned the protracted investigation, was accused of two dozen crimes, including attempted robbery, attempted grand larceny, transporting what he thought was heroin for drug dealers and revealing the identity of a confidential informant. 

The case, troubling to many New Yorkers because of its implication that the police officers believed they deserved special treatment, is expected to have long tentacles. Scores of other officers accused of fixing tickets could face departmental charges. Some officers have already retired. Moreover, the indictments may jeopardize thousands of cases in which implicated officers are important witnesses and may be seen as untrustworthy by Bronx juries.

Read the whole story down to the rather stunning end...

On Friday morning, on the street outside the courthouse, some 350 officers massed behind barricades and brandished signs expressing sentiments like "It's a Courtesy Not a Crime." 

When the defendants emerged, many in the crowd burst into raucous cheers. Once they had gone and the tide of officers had dispersed, the street was littered with refuse.'s a shocking look at a privileged class. Privileged we have awarded them. 

MORE: This a department with one officer presently accused of rape, (again) and another caught on the radio saying falsified reports after falsely arresting and imprisoning a black man, bragging that he "fried another nigger."

There are a number of issues here.

First, the off duty cops who shoved the camera people should be arrested for assault.     The NYPD should have had enough on duty uniformed people to control the off duty idiots and as the NYPD has deployed cameras during the OWS protests they should have deployed cameras here.
Second, part of the rage is based on the fact of the hypocrisy of it all and Kelly in particular.  Ticket fixing has been an accepted part of the NYPD culture for generations.      Kelly had to know this.     This goes beyond some cop flashing his badge to get out of a traffic ticket.   I understand that.     Cops actually provide their friends and family with little "tokens" which identify them as friends or family of cops and "deserving" of a break.   This is even worse because it is nullifying tickets AFTER the fact.
Third, the current Superintendent(Chief) of the Chicago Police Department, Garry McCarthy, is a former high ranking NYPD official.   
In 2005 he had an altercation with New Jersey cops who had the temerity to give his daughter a ticket.

He later tried to get the agency that issued his daughter the ticket and arrested him shut down.       The arrogance is breathtaking.
I'm about as reasonably pro cop as one can be.   I felt the BART shooting was an instance of a scared cop screwing up and I said that in this forum as was roundly attacked for it.
During my glorious magnificent military service I had a weapon in a holster and a badge on my chest.    Not the same as civilian policing, but it gave me a wee bit of an idea what they put up with.    Thankfully, military police in peacetime have a much easier job generally than civilian cops.      I considered a civilian police career in Chicago, but when I got out of college they weren't hiring and after my second stint in the military I decided on a different path.     I became a golf caddy to the rich and famous.    The Dalai Lama promised me total consciousness on my deathbed.    So I have that going for me.
I generally think most cops are decent people trying to do a difficult job.   That being said there is a significant percentage of cops, say 20 percent, who should not be cops.   
Many of the problems in policing come down to leadership at the highest levels.     My impression of the NYPD under Kelly is not good.    Right now NYC has a Mayor who seems to almost be a monarchist and a Police Commissioner who seems to believe in a quasi police state.    
It's  unfortunate because with their size and high profile the NYPD could be a beacon of change to help policing improve generally.

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