Is “To Protect and Serve,” All About Protecting Themselves?

“To protect and serve,” is a phrase that often comes to mind when thinking about law enforcement. Police officers are trained to respond to emergency situations and help individuals in distress. Many people associate a general feeling of trust with police officers, but one cannot help and wonder if anyone can be trusted when alarming stories of police misconduct filter through the New York news.

Multiple Misconduct Allegations

For the NYPD, there appears to be no shortage of allegations of police misconduct. Recent headlines have decried officers for fixing traffic tickets and hiding each other’s domestic violence and drunk driving charges. In addition to a large-scale investigation of over 40 officers for alleged ticket fixing, the trial involving two NYPD officers accused of raping a 27-year-old woman began last month.

In December 2008, NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata responded to a 911 call from a taxi driver who had a woman in his cab that was too drunk to get out on her own. Surveillance video from a nearby bar showed the officers helping the woman into her apartment building. It also showed them returning to her apartment at least two more times that evening.

According to prosecutors, Officer Moreno raped the woman while she was passed out on her bed. Officer Mata was also present, making him an accomplice to the rape. Charges were not brought against the two officers until April 2009, when the woman secretly taped a conversation with Officer Moreno in which he answered “yes” when she asked if he wore condom.

The officers have been charged with rape, official misconduct, falsifying record, burglary and other crimes, and could receive up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Police Brutality

Unfortunately, stories of police brutality and misconduct are not as uncommon as one would hope. Often, police brutality can result in trauma and serious injury to individuals involved. Some common complaints of police brutality and misconduct include:

  • Excessive or unnecessary use of force, including attacking or mistreating detainees.
  • Abuse of authority
  • Discourtesy, such as searching or harassing people for “loitering” in public areas, or racially profiling individuals.
  • Using offensive language, or verbally attacking or provoking individuals.

According to the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), complaints filed against the NYPD have been, for the most part, increasing since 2001. In 2008, 7,405 complaints were filed with the CCRB – 57 percent of which included allegations of unnecessary force.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a police officer or a corrections officer who used unnecessary or excessive force, or another abuse of authority, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about how to protect your rights.