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"Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect" or The NYPD may enforce the law, but they're also a law unto themselves -
June 9, 2012
"When a New York police officer karate chopped Thomas Raffaele in the throat as the 69-year-old watched the arrest of a man in Queens, he probably did not think too much about it. Certainly his fellow officers did not seem bothered. As revealed in the New York Times, Raffaele immediately sought to complain about being randomly assaulted by a man sworn to protect citizens, not abuse them. But the sergeant at the scene basically ignored him and Rafaelle went to hospital to check out his injuries. Unfortunately for the New York police department, Raffaele was not your average bystander. He is a judge on the New York state supreme court. Not surprisingly, the NYPD is now taking the assault on him a bit more seriously and has begun an internal investigation. But, really, if Rafaelle was not a judge would we have ever heard about this? How many other cases of flagrant disregard by the police for the laws they are supposed to uphold go unreported because their victims don't happen to sit on the state's highest court? I have even had my own experiences. One afternoon several years ago, walking home from work through Chelsea, I heard a voice call out. I looked around to see two officers running towards me, hands hovering over their gun holsters in a way familiar from Hollywood films but much less so from real life. I was hustled over to a wall while they consulted over the radios. It quickly emerged someone wearing a grey shirt had been spotted shoplifting in the area. I explained – perhaps a little sulkily (my mistake, I admit it) – that I was a British journalist not prone to theft and, much more importantly, was not actually wearing a grey shirt. They let me go. I gave them a dirty look as I walked away (again, my mistake, but dirty looks are not yet illegal). The two men chased after me, stood me against a wall and screamed abuse for several minutes. It ended with one yelling: "Why don't you fuck off back to your own country?" It was, in the end, a trivial incident. But...
I think this is a significant daily issue in the UK - we typically don't sanction police for any of their misdemeanours (ranging from killing to racism to simple fraud) and so they feel a strong sense of impunity. I think they are rotten to the core. -
Enemy of the State? Not anymore. Nowadays it's more like: enemy, the state. -
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