All Articles Tagged "NYPD"

In Latest Settlement For NYC, The City Will Pay $17 Million For Three Brothers’ Wrongful Conviction

January 15th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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The tactics of an unscrupulous New York City police officer is going to cost the city $17 million.

According to New York City comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, the city has agreed to pay $17 million to settle three claims based on wrongful criminal convictions.

“The settlements were reached with three defendants whose cases involved Louis Scarcella, the retired homicide detective whose investigative tactics have come under question and whose cases are being reviewed by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office,” reports The New York Times.

Robert Hill, Alvena Jennette, and Darryl Austin, who are half brothers, spent a combined total of 60 years in prison. And one (Austin) died there. Their false convictions, made in the 1980s, were vacated by a judge in May.

There are even more similar cases being investigated by the office of Kenneth P. Thompson, the Brooklyn district attorney. In all the office is looking into 130 convictions, including 70 cases in which Scarcella was actively involved in.

If more convictions are overturned, it could be very costly to the city.

“Clearly, our heart goes out to those who have been wrongfully incarcerated,” Stringer said. “We are also very concerned about the impact these cases will have on the fiscal health of the city.”

The city has settled a string of recent cases. In fact, these latest settlements are the third, fourth and fifth prelitigation deals in major civil rights cases reached by Stringer since he took office a year ago.

“The two earlier prelitigation deals were a $6.4 million settlement last February with David Ranta, who was imprisoned for 23 years after being wrongfully convicted of murder, and a $2.25 million agreement in October with the family of Jerome Murdough, a homeless veteran who died at Rikers Island in an overheated jail cell,” reports The Times.

Then there is the $75 million claim filed by the family of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died following an officer used a chokehold by police on Staten Island.

TWO NYPD Officers Shot and Killed By Man In Response To Police Brutality

December 21st, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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(See previous story) Alleged cop killer posts on Instagram…then executing to #NYPD officers in Brooklyn

A photo posted by Baller Alert (@balleralert) on

Two New York City Police officers lost their lives to a senseless act of violence Saturday afternoon. 

Wenjian Liu and Rafel Ramos, were sitting in a marked police vehicle around 3 p.m, in Brooklyn, NY, when they were both shot in the head. 

The killer, Ismaayil Brinkley shot the officers execution-style with no warning. Several news outlets are reporting the shooting was premeditated.  Reportedly, Brinkley instagramed a photo of a gun with the caption “I’m Putting Wings on Pigs today. They take 1 of ours…Let’s take 2 of theirs.”  Apparently, he shot the cops in response to the death of Eric Gardener and Mike Brown. 

In a statement, Mike Brown’s family condemned the shooting. 

“We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We must work together to bring peace to our communities,” read the statement from the family. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers’ families during this incredibly difficult time.

After shooting the police officers, Brinkley ran into the subway where he shot himself in the head on the platform.  Police also believe Ismaayil shot and killed his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore earlier in the day. 

According to police officers, Brinkley had a long criminal record, including multiple arrests for robbery and assault.

Yesterday, we reported police supporters wore “I can Breathe” t-shirts to a protest. Now, we report this. It’s truly sad to hear that we are not finding peaceful and meaningful ways to fix the problems in our nation. Our prayers are not only with the family of #MikeBrown #EricGardener #TroyDavis #Seanbell #JordanDavis #TrayvonMartin #EmmettTill but also the family of the police officers. 

Akai Gurley’s Mom Speaks Out Following NYPD Shooting: “My Son Didn’t Deserve To Die Like That”

December 5th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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As New York attempts to recover following the grand jury’s failure to indict the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner, residents are also speaking out about the death of Akai Gurley. The unarmed man was fatally wounded in the chest last month by officer Peter Liang, who fired his gun into a dark stairwell in the Lous Pink Houses in Brooklyn.

28-year-old Gurley was walking down the steps with his girlfriend when Liang says that his gun accidentally went off. For the first time since her son’s passing, Gurley’s mother, Sylvia Palmer is speaking out.

“There’s nothing in this world that can heal my pain and my heartache,” a heartbroken Palmer told the New York Daily News during a press conference held at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn on Friday before her son’s wake. “I need justice for my son because my son didn’t deserve to die like that.”

“I feel like I’m lying in the morgue with him right now,” she continued. “It’s not right.”

“My son was my heart and now he’s been taken away from me.”

Disturbingly, it has been reported that while Gurley lay dying in the stairwell, Liang texted his union rep to inform him of what had happened. It was actually a neighbor who called 911 to request the assistance of emergency responders.

“He loved life more than life itself and, most importantly, he loved his mother,” Palmer went on. “The night my son was murdered, he went out to get his hair braided to come home and surprise me for Thanksgiving. Now, there will never be another Thanksgiving, another Christmas, another Valentine’s, birthday, social gatherings.”

“We believe the officers should be charged with a homicide,” local organizer Kevin Powell added. “We don’t believe it was an accident…This feels like a series of modern day lynchings.”

Evidence regarding the shooting is scheduled to be presented before a grand jury by Brooklyn prosecutor Kenneth Thompson later this month.

Rudy Giuliani Says White Cops Help Keep Blacks From Killing Each Other

November 26th, 2014 - By Ezinne Ukoha
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Rudy Giuliani Says White Cops Help Keep Blacks From Killing Each Other

Source: MSNBC

This past Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, former NYC mayor, Rudy Giuliani got into a heated debate with Georgetown University professor, Michael Eric Dyson. The issue at hand was a touchy one. But Giuliani was true to form as he challenged Dyson’s argument regarding White policemen targeting Black communities and murdering innocent victims.

Giuliani, who had a longstanding and intimate relationship with the NYPD, was quick to defend their valor by blaming “Black-on-Black” violence for the maddening epidemic that is crippling the lives of young Black men. He goes on to point out that past NYC mayors did all they could to make sure that the police force was racially proportioned but their efforts were always thwarted by the unruliness of the Black community. “The fact is that I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing the fact that 93% of Black in America are killed by other Blacks. We are talking about the significant exemption here”.

Those damning words were immediately refuted by Dyson, who reminded Giuliani of he fact that law enforcement officers are literally getting away with murder, while Black people almost always get punished for their crimes. “Black people who kill Black people go to jail. White people who are policemen who kill people do not go to jail”.

But Dyson’s eloquent comeback did nothing to assuage Giulani’s temperament, he retorted with – ‘White police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other”. An infuriating response that pretty much sums up the reason why the White cops feel validated in their total disregard for Black lives, which is resulting in the eradication of the Black community.

Giuliani, who is also a Republican, makes no attempt to hide his solidarity with law enforcement and blatantly makes it clear that he supports the lethal tactics they have adopted when it comes to “enforcing” law and order. Despite mounting evidence that proves that almost every time men of color are subjected to “stop and frisk”, it isn’t warranted, majority of White America still maintains the sentiment that Blacks are a danger to themselves as well as society at large, so therefore need to be disciplined at any cost.

The disturbing aspect of Giuliani’s comments is how earnest he was in his approach. It is a warning and demonstration of how the Black community is still perceived – especially Black men. Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t apply to Black men who pose a threat based on just their racial makeup. The media has also done a fine job of accentuating the racial bias by religiously dedicating their local morning news to showcasing images of Black men systematically breaking the law. It is such a common occurrence that we have become desensitized to the damning consequences of this mentally altering habit.

For a former mayor of a major U.S. city to vocally accuse Black people of actively encouraging police brutality is grossly irresponsible and almost unforgivable. As high-profile figure with access to a public forum, his job is to remain respectfully neutral while trying to offer useful solutions. His choice to praise law enforcements for their efforts when it comes to ridding the streets of young Black men who deserve to die for doing nothing but just being themselves, is a clear message that the race war which is already in full effect will not be ending anytime soon. But then again we were already privy to that fact.

You can watch their exchange in the video below.

NYC Mayor de Blasio Under Fire After NYPD’s Highest Ranking Black Official Suddenly Resigns

November 5th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Mayor de Blasio

Many in New York City were shocked when the NYPD’s highest-ranking Black official abruptly quit late last week. Now, the department is trying to make amends with minority communities and mayor Bill de Blasio has come under fire.

Having been with the NYPD since 1986, Banks became chief of department in March 2013 under former Commissioner Raymond Kelly. He has worked as the commanding officer of a Manhattan patrol borough, and in several precincts. He was even mentioned as a possible successor to Kelly before Bratton was selected.

Banks’ step down is affecting NYC Mayor de Blasio’s strained relationship with the department. De Blasio took sides with the Rev. Al Sharpton in the chokehold death of an unarmed Eric Garner. The mayor also refused to fire a top aide living with a convicted killer who has often called officers “pigs.”

“He has served New York City admirably during his nearly 30 years on the force, and we were enthusiastic about the leadership and energy he would have brought to the position of First Deputy Commissioner,” De Blasio said in a statement.

But minority leaders still aren’t happy with de Blasio’s handling of the Banks situation. Some think de Blasio can do more.

“The mayor leads the city, not the commissioner,” Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) said during a City Hall news conference. “So we’re going to ask the mayor, along with the commissioner, to be held accountable, because ultimately, we know that those decisions they make here at City Hall and at 1 Police Plaza have a disparate impact on my community and those communities we represent throughout the five boroughs.”

Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx) charges that de Blasio hadn’t delivered on his promises to crack down on alleged abuses by cops and improve police relations with the city’s minorities.

“In month Number 11, we have not seen the changes that we believe should be happening in this time,” she said.

Several speakers  at the conference blamed de Blasio for “letting Bratton force out both Banks and former First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro, who resigned under fire from Bratton in September, reports The New York Post.

“When the top black and brown people resign from the NYPD, we’re worried that the atmosphere there is not yet right for the change we were hoping to see,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn).

In The Last Five Years, The NYPD Has Paid $428 Million In Settlements

October 15th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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shutterstock_210586318(1) $428 million. That’s how much money New York City has paid out in police-related settlements in the last five years.

The figure came to light after a response to a Freedom of Information Law request filed by MuckRock. Because of this, New York City released a document listing every civil rights lawsuit brought against the NYPD since 2009. It also documents how much money it costs to settle each case. The spreadsheet was titled “NYPD Closed Actions Commenced in 2009-2014 to Date.”

Not all of these settlements, however, are the result of basic misconduct by cops.

“For example, the largest payout, $11.5 million, went to Google engineer Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, who was nearly killed in 2009 when a tree branch fell on him in Central Park. Another big one — $2.75 million — went to the family of Ronald Spear, who died after being beaten by Rikers Island guards, who work for the Department of Correction, not the NYPD,” reports New York magazine.

But there are still more than 12,000 cases (with an average settlement of $33,875) listed on the document provided to MuckRock. The settlements range from $1 to $11,500,000.

“Those numbers are in line with the findings of a 2010 AP investigation, which discovered nearly $1 billion in NYPD payouts over the previous decade,” reports Gawker. And in 2012, Bloomberg News reported  the city planned to spend $735 million on settling lawsuits, police and otherwise. This was nearly six times what Los Angeles pays per capita.

For 2015, NYC has set aside $674 million for settlements and costs, reports TheGrio.

Minorities In NYC Ticketed More Under NYPD’s ‘Broken Windows’ Enforcement

September 11th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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New York City minorities are under extra pressure these days. And this can range from unfortunate and sometimes tragic incidents such as police profiling to basic living issues such as wage gaps. Minorities in the city also face disproportionate “Broken Windows” enforcement, especially if they reside in a predominantly White neighborhoods.

According to a New York  Daily News study, Blacks and Hispanics are way more likely to be ticketed in low-crime, mainly White neighborhoods, with 32 of the city’s 75 police precincts showing a disparity of 20 percentage points or higher, reports the newspaper.

Activists say this NYPD disparity has created two New Yorks where petty crimes done by Whites such as drinking on a front stoop or smoking marijuana are hardly ever punished, and another, primarily populated by Blacks and Hispanics, where walking down the street could be cause for a stop and frisk.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has an explanation for the disparity: Since police are concentrating their efforts on “the most problematic areas of the city” these are most often minority neighborhoods and thus more minorities get ticketed.

But not so, found The Daily News analysis. It found that no matter where they live, Blacks and Hispanics get many more summonses. On top of this, they are more apt to be ticketed in low-crime, primarily White communities not high-crime minority neighborhoods.

In some precincts there was as much as a spread of 50 percentage points, as the Daily News found in the 24th Precinct (Upper West Side – North), where Blacks and Hispanics comprise just 34 percent of the population but given an estimated 84 percent of the summonses. And the 84th Precinct (Brooklyn Heights,DUMBO), where they are 28 percent of the population but got 78 percent of the summonses.

The News examined Office of Court Administration data on 6.9 million criminal court summonses given out between 2001 and 2013 (mostly when former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was in charge) and NYPD figures on precinct demographics.

According to the analysis, Blacks and Hispanics were issued a disproportionate share of summonses, with a spread of 20 percentage points or greater in 32 of NYC’s 75 police precincts.

“The only precincts where the share of summonses received by blacks and Hispanics were close to their representation in the population were ones where they made up more than 90 percent of residents,” says the article.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and five other New York members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last month seeking an investigation into constitutional and civil rights violations due to the NYPD’s “Broken Windows” policy, citing an earlier report by The News that found Blacks and Hispanics, who make up about half of the city’s population, got an estimated 81 percent of the summonses.

Although NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio defended broken windows as a crime-fighting strategy,  he told reporters that he aims to have  it “applied fairly and equally” and the issue will be part of a department-wide retraining.

“We’re going to apply the law equally. We want people in every community to know they’re going to be treated fairly. We have more work to do,” de Blasio said.

“Thank God The Truth Is Finally Out” Eric Garner’s Death Ruled A Homicide

August 1st, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Eric Garner's Death Ruled A Homicide

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The death of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who was placed in an illegal chokehold by a police officer, has been ruled a homicide.

According to the New York Daily News, the New York City Medical Examiner said today that Garner died from compression of the neck and chest while being restrained by officers. The autopsy also found that Garner’s asthma, obesity and high blood pressure were factors that contributed to his death.

Garner’s widow, Esaw, says that she was relieved to hear the Medical Examiner’s findings.

“Thank God the truth is finally out. Thank God for that.”

“The Staten Island District Attorney’s office have been in touch with the examiner and released this statement in response to the recent news:

“We await the issuance of the official death certificate and the autopsy report. The investigation into Mr. Garner’s death continues.”

Garner, 43, died on July 17 when he was restrained for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. The whole encounter was caught on camera and Garner can be heard saying over and over again, “I can’t breathe.”

The officer who put Garner in the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, has since been reassigned.

Since Garner’s death, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton ordered that the NYPD’s 35,000 officers be retrained in how to properly apprehend suspects.

Do you think Garner’s death being ruled a homicide will result in a conviction for Pantaleo?

Brooklyn Using $1 Million To Investigate Wrongful Conviction Claims

July 29th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Brooklyn has dedicated $1.1 million annually to look into cases of potential wrongful convictions. It is under the tutelage of Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, who has expanded his office’s Conviction Review Unit. And the unit is grabbing national attention.

It has had seven people in six months exonerated. It may not sound like much, but with a country’s judicial system bogged down with paperwork, these numbers are outstanding.

“Since 2007, prosecutors have started conviction integrity units dedicated to making sure the right people were found guilty of crimes. In many cases, exonerations have involved misidentifications and new DNA testing,” reports USA Today. But it has been found that most of the wrongful conviction claims in Brooklyn may involve police misconduct.

“Brooklyn is ground central,” Samuel Gross, editor of the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, told the newspaper. “They are systematically examining a large set of cases in which there may have been serious misconduct by police officers and possibly by prosecutors themselves over a period of years involving dozens and possibly hundreds of homicide cases…That is an operation on a scale that nobody else has done.”

Compared to other parts of the city, Brooklyn’s cases are more complicated (and potentially more scandalous) as well as costly.

Of the 90 cases the unit is investigating, a whopping 57 of them involve former NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella. Scarcella’s policing tactics have been a sore spot for the NYPD, especially after evidence proved Scarcella coached a witness to pick a suspect out of a lineup. In that case, the suspect, David Ranta, spent 23 years in prison before being exonerated. “Scarcella is also accused of using one crack addicted witness to testify at a number of trials as well fabricating confessions and intimidating suspects,” reports USA Today.

Outrageous wrongful convictions such as Ranta’s have wound up costing the borough and the entire city. In an attempt to compensate Ranta for all the years he spent unjustly behind bars, the City of New York made a settlement for $6.4 million before a $150 million civil rights lawsuit went to trial.

Have We Learned Nothing From Eric Garner? Cop Puts Pregnant Woman In A Chokehold

July 28th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Cop Puts Pregnant Woman In A Chokehold

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Just weeks after the senseless murder of father and husband Eric Garner, the New York City Police Department is employing the chokehold as a way to restrain people.

This past weekend, an officer placed a pregnant woman in an illegal chokehold after he found her grilling on the sidewalk in front of her home.

An East New York advocacy group captured 27 year old Rosan Miller struggling with a police officer who clearly has his arm around her neck despite the fact that the NYPD are prohibited from using this method of restraint.

Officers went to Miller’s house in response to a violation of local law, grilling on a public sidewalk. During the citation, a melee broke out and Miller, her brother and her husband all ended up in handcuffs.

Miller’s brother, John Miller, was charged with harassment and obstruction of justice, her husband Moses Miller, was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction and Rosan was issued a summons for disorderly conduct.

When former city councilman Charles Barron heard of the incident and the two arrests, he called the police to express his displeasure and expedite the release of the Milers.

Barron summed up the ridiculousness of the situation with two simple and telling sentences.

“This was all over a grill. This is about grilling in front of her house.”

Barron also pointed out that Miller’s young daughter can be seen in the back of the photos, seemingly watching on as her mother is being placed in a chokehold.

Barron said the police were in the neighborhood responding to a domestic incident when they saw Miller and her family outside cooking.

This chokehold comes not even ten days after Eric Garner died as a result of a police chokehold. Right now, police are investigating whether or not a chokehold was used and how this particular officer should be punished, if he will be at all.

It really is astounding that a man could see a woman, visibly pregnant and endanger not only her life but the life of her unborn child as well.

Ridiculous.