New York, N.Y.
After two massive news items by the N.Y. Daily News regarding NYPD insouciance regarding a revered Police Captain’s statistic findings of whitewashing criminal offenses and one detective’s dereliction of duty by completing investigative reports by fabricating non-existent witnesses (as chronicled here in parts I and II), Commissioner James O’Neill wrote a detailed and thorough editorial in the paper of record that covered these stories and set the record straight on how the NYPD will be a more transparent and honest city service under his command and promised to put an end to future abuses, legal and cultural. Actually, when it involves testifying during court hearings.
Truth in testimony is the cornerstone of the American justice system. When allegations are made against police officers for lying under oath, every good cop cringes. In our profession, we are only as good as our word, and recent cases here in New York have cast a critical eye on the testimony of some of my officers.
The New York City Police Department recognizes that the results of willful, false testimony can not only change the consequences of an individual case, they undermine the public’s trust in its police. The NYPD and all the people we serve expect the highest levels of integrity and truthfulness from our public servants. And New Yorkers deserve nothing less.
Make no mistake: Perjury and making false statements need to be addressed. Since 2010, a span of time during which 36,000 NYPD officers prepared reports for approximately 9 million radio runs and testified in more than 1 million criminal cases a year, 98 Police Department employees, including 87 police officers, were fired or left the NYPD because of perjury or false statements.
Police departments, just like other segments of society, are staffed by human beings who are fallible, make mistakes, and yes, on rare occasion, lie. But a police officer who intentionally lies under oath has no place in law enforcement. Officers who err in good faith are a different story.
Our members have the capability to arrest people and, because of that power, we also have the utmost responsibility to hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
Well, Paul just made himself a tall ass order for himself. Because 2 days after he wrote that legalese op-ed, the normally useless website Buzzfeed (or clickbaitfeed or chickenfeed) came out with a damning report on how in a span of 5 years from 2011 to 2015, a total of 319 cops were able to remain on the force despite lying on police reports. Other than that, random police officers engaged in criminal behavior on duty ranging from offenses like sexual harassment, petty drug dealing, fixing tickets, abusing authority while conducting illegal searches and using excessive force on citizens, and engaging in brawls with other officers and misusing their government appointed weapons and wound up with barely a slap on the wrist and were able to continue their jobs enforcing the law.
And as for the subject matter of O’Neill’s op-ed which appeared on page 5 of the paper edition, cops get very creative when they testify in front of a judge and even during disciplinary trials, just so they can either illuminate the arrest or bring down the severity of their own transgressions on and off duty. It is defined by the Colbert-esque term “testilying” and it’s so embedded in the culture at the department that cops don’t seem to care. Whatever discipline is meted out to these rogue cops, it gets filed under the official sounding yet meaningless charge of “dismissal probation”
To make things worse for O’Neil and making his sincere published plea even harder to back up, the Buzz is going to follow up with snazzy live datastreams to track every incident made by every lousy cop fucking it up for the honest and dutiful cops.
Well, the NY Daily News wasn’t going to wait for that, as the editors pounced a week later with a four-part series. First focusing on 55 disciplinary cases of dereliction involving the usual gutter illegal police procedures and abuses and blatant testilying.
The devious machinations of Lt. Adam Lamboy, who got a rape victim drunk and enabled his cop partner to fondle her as she slept and he slept, who logged in over 200 hours including OT totalling $15,000 by forging his supervisors name under the ruse of investigating rape cases and still was still awarded his pension.
The taxpayer time thievery done by Sgt Ruben Duque, who spends the majority of the work day in his home borough of Staten Island while claiming to be on the job in the midst of cases while under the supervision of the Crime Control Strategy Chief Dermont Shea, who obviously couldn’t see Duque’s strategic glomming of tax dollars. Despite his habitual and larcenous absence, Internal Affairs never investigated his peculiar and suspicious sojourns, yet he still got promoted by Commissioner Kelly.
And then there is the story of Detective Bullethead (this is begging to be an animated cartoon character), known officially as Det. David Greico, who has graced the recently rezoned for forced gentrification area of East New York with his overzealous method of preventing drug dealing and gun running. As he racked up $280,000 in settlements for citizens on various occasions when he and his imitation SWAT team broke into homes without warrants and destroyed people’s property with reckless abandon in the name of courtesy, professionalism and respect. Despite the costs at the expense of the taxpayer, which includes the innocent victims of his raids, he still got paid vast amount of overtime pay for his destructive incompetence.
It should be noted that all this egregious behavior and lack of disciplinary and punitive measures by supervisors happened under the command of the last years of Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the short tenure of Commissioner William Bratton while under mayor Bloomberg and current co-mayor Bill de Blasio.
It should also be noted that this moral blight happening every day with New York’s Finest comes during other distressing and disturbing revelations that got lost and forgotten even in this digital age. Like how the NYPD is not properly training and disciplining recruits regarding the use of force. And how the cops recently are abusing facial recognition technology and using X-Ray vans to scan random people and refuse to honor freedom of information requests to monitor their usage or dependence of it. And how one time a precinct mindlessly threw out documents related to terrorism prevention (which include a map of Times Square) in a garbage can that was found by a street art blogger.
And how the NYPD arbitrarily abused the nuisance abatement act, ruining businesses, disenfranchising home owners and renters and upending innocent people’s lives and livelihoods. To top that off, the database mining the information of the forfeitures worth millions resulting from those bogus cases is in peril of disappearing because the NYPD allegedly doesn’t know how to back up the data for it.
And ultimately what the costs, looking at billions here, from all the lawsuit settlements will be from this higher brass and court brazen criminal perjuring, violent abuse of authority and incompetence will cost the city for decades to come.
And this fubar byzantine dungheap system and culture in the NYPD will continue to stink and fester with the baneful 50-a civil rights law preventing the public from knowing who is incompetent, violent or corrupt with a badge, cuffs and a gun and the offenses they racked up before and got willfully ignored. And again it should be noted, that the use, or maybe more like exploited use of 50-a has increased manifold ever since the street homicide of Eric Garner by Officer Daniel Panteleo while he was being arrested for suspicion of selling loose cigarettes and the killing of Ramarly Graham by Officer Richard Haste on the suspicion that he was selling pot, as city lawyers cite the antiquated law to prevent the victim’s families and their lawyers from seeing those cops prior disciplinary records.
In a way, the NYPD’s standards for accountability and honesty is at the same level of the infrastructure and management at NYCHA and the MTA. And it’s going to take a miracle, or more drastically a meteor to hit it or hiring Frank Serpico to be commissioner, to get the N.Y.’s finest to become the honest agents of the CPR they purport to be that they emblazon on their patrol cars. O’Neill has got a lot on his plate to gorge, which is a police force with close to a half-century of endemic brazen dishonesty.
And Commissioner O’Neill has a few years to do it. And under a pathological lying mayor too, which is going to make enforcing his policy even more difficult with a perpetually jaded and unfortunately majority lying police force.
For all the self-congratulatory blather about lower crime rates, if this insouciance continues the real criminals that they missed hassling law abiding citizens will creep back up and with the dirty cops making their own contributions. Whether by their own shady and arrogant actions or by the public to scared or cynical to call 911.
Perjury is the last thing he should be worried about with all the other criminal shit that is accepted by the higher ups and ignored by the electeds.