For the most part, police officers and law enforcement officials protect and serve our communities with dignity, honor, and respect for all citizens. However, a recent incident involving an NYPD police officer calls attention to a problem that still pervades the police culture in many parts of the country. Prejudicial attitudes among police officers, unfortunately, still exist. These prejudices can lead to gross injustices, including the false arrest of innocent citizens.
An 8-year veteran of the NYPD was sentenced to five years in prison in June for admittedly falsely arresting a young black man who he had stopped and frisked on Staten Island. The 33-year-old officer, who is Caucasian, was recorded bragging to a friend about the incident in which he falsely charged the young man with resisting arrest. The phone conversation included blatant racial slurs toward the young man in question.
Before the incident on Staten Island, five cases of previous misconduct by the officer had been brought to the attention of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates complaints against the police. Each of these five complaints was brought by African-American men. This pattern of alleged misconduct may indicate that the officer’s false arrest of the young man on Staten Island was not just one “bad judgment call” as the officer insisted, but rather, a pattern of racial profiling.
During court proceedings, the officer admitted that he does not blame people for “not liking cops” and cited the stop and frisk policy that NYPD has implemented as being “nonsense.” It is possible that this policy, which allows officers to stop and frisk suspicious individuals at their own discretion, facilitated the officer’s decision to stop and eventually falsely arrest the young man.
Unfortunately, this case is not an isolated occurrence. An incident of police misconduct could happen anywhere in the U.S., involving people from all walks of life. If you are a victim of police misconduct, an experienced attorney can advise you of your rights and help you to seek justice for the wrongdoing of others.
Source: The New York Times, “Ex-Officer Gets 9-Month Sentence Over Racially Tainted False Arrest,” Mosi Secret and Aaron Edwards, June 23, 2012.