Tag Archives: NYPD

NYPD Union Introduces Campaign Asking Officers To Take Photos Of Homeless

A memo from the the Sergeants Benevolent Association has revealed an initiative calling on NYPD officers to take pictures of homeless people around the city.

The campaign outlined in the memo, written by SBA President Ed Mullins, appears to be fueled by frustration over local politicians, proposed leniency on quality-of-life offenders and other police reform proposals.

Mullins requested that “as you travel about the City of New York, please utilize your smart phones to photograph the homeless lying in our streets, aggressive panhandlers, people urinating in public or engaging in open-air drug activity, and quality of life offenses of every type.” Mullins asked that the photos be emailed to SBA so the union can publish them on the SBA’s Flickr account. The SBA’s “Peek A Boo” album has already published over 200 photos of homeless people.

“Today we hear the loud cries of the naysayers and critics who call for change simply for the sake of self-interest, self-promotion and self-aggrandizement,” Mullins wrote. “Yet, they offer no solutions- absolutely NONE! The naysayers are our inept and spineless public officials who sit amongst the City Council and propose legislation that can only be described as preposterously disingenuous.”

Mullins expressed frustration with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city council, who have been discussing the decriminalization of quality-of-life offenses, according to CBS New York. “I want them to stop with the phony policies that exist,” Mullins said. “What they are doing is they are jerking the public around.”

In the memo, Mullins described proposals that he appears to have identified as unfavorable to police officers, including a proposed Right to Know Act, which would require officers to identify themselves stopped suspects by showing their business card and gaining consent before searching a person without a warrant or probable cause.

Mullins wrote sternly about other proposed reform bills, including one to require reports on the location of officers who have been identified by the Civilian Complaint Review Board; one to create annual reports identifying the city’s top high-crime areas; one to require the NYPD to “issue quarterly reports on the use of force and how often it is related to quality of life offenses”; one to require the NYPD to “publish annual reports on how often officers use force”; one to allow officers the use of “injurious physical force” only when there is a need protect themselves or the public from death or threat of injury; and one that would federally ban the use of choke holds. Choke holds are currently prohibited in NYC under department policy.

Since on-duty officers are not allowed to take pictures of the public, the memo specifies that officers should take these photos in their free time or when traveling to or from work. Family members and citizens are also encouraged to take pictures in the letter.

Mayor de Blasio has expressed support for arrests stemming from quality-of-life offenses but has also expressed support for a limit to those arrests. “There’s no law in this country against sitting on a park bench. There’s no law against standing next to a store asking for spare change. But there sure as hell is a law against quality of life abuses that bother a lot of us in this city,” said de Blasio.

Family Of Eric Garner And City Of New York Reach Settlement

The family of Eric Garner has reached a settlement with the city of New York. According to New York City Comptroller Scott Stinger, the city has agreed to pay the family $5.9 million to settle the lawsuit surrounding Garner’s choking death at the hands of New York police officers.

The Garner family was suing the city of New York for $75 million. Garner, who died 1 year ago this week, was approached by a number of officers who confronted him over selling loose leaf cigarettes. Garner’s death was captured on cell phone video. He was unarmed and told officers more than a dozen times that he could not breathe as the choke hold was applied. Garner’s final words, “I Can’t Breathe”, became a rallying cry in New York and across the nation as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Monday, a statement released by the comptroller’s officer read in part: “Following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of Eric Garner that is in the best interests of all parties.”

Garner’s death was ruled a homicide, but the officer who choked Garner to death was cleared of wrongdoing by a Staten Island grand jury in December. That decision to not indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo sparked protests held by tens of thousands of activists in New York City and across the country.


Stringer said that the settlement doesn’t mean New York City has accepted liability for the death, but he believes the agreement “acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the City.”

The New York Post reported that Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD union Sergeants Benevolent Association, was critical of the settlement deal. “In my view, the city has chosen to abandon its fiscal responsibility to all of its citizens and genuflect to the select few who curry favor with the city government,” Mullins told the Post. “Mr. Garner’s family should not be rewarded simply because he repeatedly chose to break the law and resist arrest.”

Proposed Bill Would Make Police Chokeholds a Federal Crime

The Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act, a bill sponsored by New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), would make the use of chokeholds by officers on suspects a crime under federal law.

The bill, which defines a chokehold as “the application of any pressure to the throat or windpipe which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce the intake of air,” will be introduced in Congress on Tuesday.

At a press conference on Monday, Jeffries was joined by Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old black man who was choked to death on July 17 by New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Garner’s encounter with Pantaleo was captured on video, which revealed that after Pantaleo confronted Garner for allegedly selling untaxed “loose” cigarettes, and put him in a chokehold, Garner said, “I can’t breathe” 11 times before the chokehold took his life. The Staten Island grand jury announced their decision not to indict Pantaleo on Dec. 3.

“The chokehold is a classic example of violent police tactics,” Jeffries said. “It is an unreasonable measure. It is an unnecessary measure. It is an uncivilized measure. This bill will make it an unlawful measure.”

Carr called this bill a “step in the right direction,” and said she was going to do whatever she could to help the bill pass.

Because police officers are just like other citizens – if there’s a crime, if there’s misconduct, they should arrested and they should be held accountable just like any other citizen,” Carr said. “They should enforce the law, but not be above the law.”

The Huffington Post reported that the United States Dept. of Justice is currently investigating Garner’s death to determine whether Pantaleo violated Garner’s civil rights, and noted that DOJ investigations into alleged police misconduct, “rarely lead to charges being filed.”

According to the Associated Press,  Jeffries defined the bill was a way to amend civil rights laws dealing with excessive force by “defining chokeholds as a depravation of rights under the color of law.”

Jeffries said it is clear that the current department police is “not sufficient,” referencing over over 1,000 complaints that have been filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board regarding NYPD chokeholds from 2009 to 2013. The Huffington Post noted, “only nine of those complaints were substantiated by the CCRB, and only one officer was disciplined – by being docked some vacation days.”


REPORT: Chicago Police Perform ‘Stop and Frisk’ Four Times as Often as NYPD

Recent revelations regarding the Chicago police’s use of Stop and Frisk searches, StingRay surveillance, and the existence of a ‘black site’ in Homan Square, begs the question – What is happening in Chicago?

A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has found that the Chicago Police Department is the nation’s leader in the use of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” practice. Chicagoans are now stopped four times as often as New Yorkers. The report finds that when Chicago police stop individuals, the justification for the stops rarely meet constitutional standards.

In the Summer of 2014, the CPD performed more than a quarter million stops of individuals that did not lead to an arrest. This puts the CPD ahead of the NYPD in stops per 1000 residents. The NYPD has had to scale back the use of the practice after a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional in the city. The ACLU also found that African Americans were often singled out for the searches.

“While most of the media coverage has suggested that that stop-and-frisk was a New York phenomena – it’s misuse is not limited to New York,” said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “Chicago has been systematically abusing this practice, for reasons that are not justified by our constitution.”

The Chicago Police Department has faced increased scrutiny in recent months for their surveillance practices and violating suspects’ rights to due process. In the last six months the CPD  has spent more than $120,000 to fight a lawsuit around the departments use of StingRay surveillance tools. The StingRays are a brand name of cell-site simulators, a device which tricks cellphones into thinking it is a cell tower and gathers up sensitive data.

Chicago resident Freddy Martinez is suing the city for what he calls unlawful surveillance.  Chicago police say the device has only been used to catch criminals, and refuses to release details of how they use the new technology. The Chicago PD and other law enforcement agencies sign non-disclosure agreements with Harris Corp, for the use of StingRay surveillance. This has created a dangerous situation where the police often are unwilling to speak freely about how they tools are being deployed.

StingRays are not the only tools the CPD is using, however. In early 2014 it was reported that the Chicago police are experimenting with a new program designed to predict whether a person will commit a crime in the near future. In recent years predictive analytical systems have become increasingly popular with police departments determined to stop crime before it happens, also known as “pre-crime”. One of the CPD’s tools is a “heat list”, a list of around 400 citizens who are most likely to be involved in a violent crime.

Hanni Fakhoury of the Electronic Frontier Foundation stated, “My fear is that these programs are creating an environment where police can show up at anyone’s door at any time for any reason.” CPD Commander Jonathan Lewin believes, “This [program] will become a national best practice.” The CPD received more than $2 million from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to test the program.

BenSwann.com also reported on the revelation that the CPD has been using a warehouse as a “black site” to illegally hold suspects without access to family, attorneys and subject to beatings. The facility is located in Chicago’s Homan Square and has been used as a work station for special police units.

The Guardian interviewed lawyers and former detainees who revealed several facts, including detainees being kept out of official arrest databases, shackled for extended periods of times, and denied access to attorneys for 12 to 24 hours. Some suspects were as young as 15 years old. One man was found unresponsive while at the facilities interview room and later died.

Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the United States. Every day the city’s police department looks more and more like the violent, criminal police departments in other major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston. To recap, the Chicago are: police stopping individuals at an increasing rate; operating cell phone surveillance systems and “heat lists”; and illegally holding suspects under the threat of violence. At what point do we ask ourselves, is this the best we can do? Is this the only form community protection can take?

NYPD Strips Badge from Joint Terrorism Task Force Cop Who Bullied Uber Driver

BenSwann.com previously reported on a road rage incident last Monday involving a then-unidentified New York Police Department detective who snapped on an Uber driver who had motioned for the officer, who was attempting to park on the side of the road in an unmarked car without a blinker and appeared to be blocking traffic, to move aside. The officer reacted to the gesture by pulling over the Uber driver, who happens to be a recent immigrant to the US, and unleashing a profanity-filled, xenophobic tirade, which was caught on viral cellphone video by the driver’s passenger, Sanjey Seth. CBS New York notes that Seth, who was offended by the incident, released the video online and testified on Wednesday before NYPD’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, alleging that the officer violated NYPD’s courtesy and offensive language policies.

The New York Post identified the officer as Detective Patrick Cherry of the elite NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which operates out of controversial fusion centers and is tasked with investigating potential terror threats in New York City. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton responded swiftly to the controversy and announced at a Wednesday press conference that Cherry’s badge and gun had been stripped, that he had been placed on desk duty, and that he would be transferred out of his position with the department’s anti-terror division. Cherry, who currently faces 12 other similar verbal abuse related complaints, is under investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Internal Affairs Bureau and, if found guilty, faces having misconduct charges listed on his permanent employment record.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said at Wednesday’s press conference, “No good cop should watch that video without a wince, because all good cops know that officer just made their jobs a little bit harder… In that kind of encounter, anger like that is unacceptable. In any encounter, discourtesy and obscene language like that is unacceptable… That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform.” Commissioner Bratton also extended an apology to the passengers who experienced Cherry’s tirade.

CBS New York notes that Detectives’ Endowment Association President Michael Palladino defended Cherry’s actions, saying he was en route to visit a fellow Joint Terrorism Task Force detective in the hospital at the time of the incident and was under stress. “The past five days have been emotionally draining for the members of the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) dealing with their fellow detective’s health. Despite what some people think, cops have feelings, too,” said Palladino, whose labor union represents Cherry.

Commissioner Bratton said that the NYPD had been engaging in an ongoing retraining effort to bolster its image in the community and that Cherry’s actions violated new policies. Said Bratton, “We are engaging in a major effort to provide additional training to our personnel on tactics in interaction with the public… That officer’s behavior violated every one of the tenets we are attempting to teach at the police academy in that three-day course that we are currently engaged in.”

NYPD Cop Caught on Video Bullying Uber Driver in Swear-Laden Road Rage Incident

On Monday, Uber passenger Sanjay Seth posted a YouTube video, seen above, which appears to show a New York Police Department officer arbitrarily pulling over and berating an Uber driver, who happens to be a recent immigrant to the United States. The officer was reportedly angry at the Uber driver for a hand gesture he made in an effort to get the officer, who seemed to be needlessly blocking traffic while parking on the side of the road without using a blinker, to pull aside and let him pass.

New York Daily News notes that Seth wrote on Facebook, “Our Uber driver, Humayun, was abused by a police officer today in New York… The unending rage, door slamming, throwing items into the car, threatening arrest without cause was bad enough — but the officer’s remarks at the end really took it to another level.”

Near the end of the video, the officer can be heard saying, “I don’t know where you’re coming from, where you think you’re appropriate in doing that; that’s not the way it works. How long have you been in this country?” When Humayun indicated that he had been in the US for two years, the officer continued, “Two years? I got news for you, and use this lesson — remember that in the future. Don’t ever do that again. The only reason you’re not in handcuffs going to jail and getting summonses in the precinct is because I have things to do. That’s the only reason that’s not happening, because this is not important enough to me. You’re not important enough.”

The officer can be heard swearing at Humayun throughout the video, despite the fact that the Uber driver apologized repeatedly and said very little throughout the encounter. Though the officer did not identify himself, Sanjay Seth wrote down his license plate number and noted that the officer’s patrol route appeared to belong to NYPD’s 6th Precinct.

An official with the New York Police Department issued a statement on the incident to New York Daily News, which said, “We are aware of the incident and video and it is under review with the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.”

Uber representative Matt Wing commented on the incident as well and said, “We are disheartened by the officer’s behavior, and we appreciate the NYPD investigating the incident.”

NYPD Commissioner Bratton: Privacy Advocates Have To “Get A Life”

In a WABC Radio interview with Rita Cosby, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton confirmed for the first time that the NYPD plans to create a new unit to investigate officer-involved shootings in New York City. Bratton went on to deny that the department’s Shot Spotter technology, now in use, is capable of picking up conversations, and he criticized privacy advocates worried about the devices.

In an exclusive interview on The Rita Cosby Show on WABC Radio late last week that aired on Sunday, Bratton told Cosby that there will be an NYPD unit created specifically for investigating officer-involved shootings:

“I am looking to form a new unit- a force investigation unit- that would have the specific function of taking over what is now a decentralized investigative function that’s handled by, initially by, each of the eight patrol bureaus, instead have that as a unit that would report to the First Deputy Commissioner,” Bratton told Cosby. “It’s modeled after what I created in Los Angeles when I was there and it worked very effectively there. It’s much more cost-efficient. It’s much more timely and I think the overall quality of the investigation, which is already very high as you might expect because it involves officer use of force, but I think we have the ability to enhance it even further.”

Cosby asked how large the unit would be, and Bratton responded that “That’s still in the process we are working on as far as what the staffing would be. We’ve identified some of the lead issue part and I would expect that within several months that we would have it up and running.” Bratton confirmed earlier speculation that Deputy Inspector John Sprague would be leading this new unit. “He will do very well in that environment,” Bratton said. “He’s got a lot of experience. He was recently, most recently, Chief of Detectives over in Staten Island and has a lot of background in the investigative world so Commissioner [Benjamin] Tucker obviously has a lot of confidence in him. He was hand selected by the Commissioner.”

When asked if this unit may serve to restore public confidence in the police, Bratton said he believes that there already is a “high degree of confidence” in police investigations. “We are just seeking to improve the quality of our investigations, the timeliness of it and taking advantage of new technologies that have been developed over the years that we can now bring into these investigations,” he said.

Cosby brought up the NYPD’s recent utilization of the Shot Spotter program, which connects recording sensors that identify gunshot locations to the police. Cosby noted that privacy advocates have been critical of the sensors’ ability to pick up other sounds such as conversations.

“The advocates have to get a life,” Bratton said in response to the privacy advocates’ concerns. “We are not out there eavesdropping. That’s not what the system does, that’s not what it is designed to do, it’s not what it is capable of. So get a life and move on to some other issue. We’re not out there eavesdropping on public conversations. I’ve got enough to do without doing that.”

The full  interview is available below.


This post has been updated.

Edited Wikipedia Entries About Police Brutality Traced To NYPD; Department Investigating

New York- Last Friday, Capital New York reported that several changes had been made to Wikipedia entries including those regarding the deaths of Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo, and those changes were traced back to computers operating on the NYPD’s network. Garner, Bell, and Diallo were three unarmed men killed by the NYPD in separate incidents.

According to Capital New York, a spokesperson confirmed over the weekend that the Wikipedia edits stemmed from NYPD servers, and police have identified one editor of an Eric Garner entry as an individual working from NYPD computers outside of 1 Police Plaza. The NYPD has not publicly named the individual.

“We are conducting an internal investigation to identify what member of the service may have accessed the Department’s server. These incidents did not originate from computers located at Police Headquarters,” said Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis regarding edits to the “Death of Eric Garner” Wikipedia page made on Dec. 3, 2014, shortly after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

Capital New York revealed the following edits reportedly made by a user on the 1 Police Plaza network to the “Death of Eric Garner” entry:

  • “Garner raised both his arms in the air” was changed to “Garner flailed his arms about as he spoke.”
  • “[P]ush Garner’s face into the sidewalk” was changed to “push Garner’s head down into the sidewalk.”
  • “Use of the chokehold has been prohibited” was changed to “Use of the chokehold is legal, but has been prohibited.”
  •  The sentence “Garner, who was considerably larger than any of the officers, continued to struggle with them,” was added to the description of the incident.
  •  Instances of the word “chokehold” were replaced twice, once to “chokehold or headlock,” and once to “respiratory distress.”

The screenshots of those changes can be seen here.

Capital New York reported that on April 12, 2007, a user on 1 Police Plaza’s network tried to delete a “Sean Bell Shooting Incident” Wikipedia entry. “He [Bell] was in the news for about two months, and now no one except Al Sharpton cares anymore. The police shoot people every day, and times with a lot more than 50 bullets. This incident is more news than notable,” the user wrote on Wikipedia’s “Articles for deletion” page.

Capital New York also reported that on On Nov. 23, 2013, a user on the 1 Police Plaza network edited a Wikipedia entry for an unarmed man named Amadou Diallo, who was killed by the NYPD in 1999 after his wallet was identified as a gun. Changes were made to a sentence referring to NYPD Officer Kenneth Boss, an officer who was involved in the shooting. The sentence “Officer Kenneth Boss had been previously involved in an incident where an unarmed man was shot, but remained working as a police officer” had been changed to “Officer Kenneth Boss had been previously involved in an incident where an armed man was shot”.

Changes have also reportedly been made to Wikipedia entries about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies:

“The stop-and-frisk program of New York City is a practice of the New York City Police Department to stop, question, and search people” was changed to “The stop-and-frisk program of New York City is a practice of the New York City Police Department to stop, question and, if the circumstances of the stop warrant it, conduct a frisk of the person stopped.”

“The stop-and-frisk program of New York City is a practice of the New York City Police Department to stop, question and, if the circumstances of the stop warrant it, conduct a frisk of the person stopped” was changed to “The stop-and-frisk program of New York City is a practice of the New York City Police Department by which a police officer who reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or a Penal Law misdemeanorstops and questions that person, and, if the circumstances of the stop warrant it, conducts a frisk of the person stopped.”

“if the circumstances of the stop warrant it, conducts a frisk of the person stopped” was changed to “if the officer reasonably suspects he or she is in danger of physical injury, frisks the person stopped for weapons.”
“The rules for stop and frisk are found in New York State Criminal Procedure Law section 140.50, and are based on the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Terry v. Ohio” was also added to the Wikipedia entry.

Capital New York pointed to a list of anonymous Wikipedia edits tracing back to NYPD IP addresses that can be seen here. Davis said that a thorough investigation will be difficult because the NYPD maintains just one-year logs of computer activity. The NYPD may be able to investigate its records regarding recent changes such as the Eric Garner edits, but the department may not able to trace older activity. Capital New York reportedly discovered Wikipedia edits connected to the NYPD spanning at least ten years.

NYPD officer indicted for stomping a citizen’s head

An NYPD officer has been indicted on multiple charges, including assault, after he allegedly kicked a subdued citizen in the head during an arrest over the summer.

A video of the arrest allegedly shows Officer Joel Edouard, 37, and his partner arresting 32-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee, according to CBS New York.

Cuffee was allegedly drinking on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, and the officers claim he was in possession of marijuana at the time. While attempting to arrest Cuffee, a bystander began to videotape the incident with their cellphone. This video shows other officers begin to arrive to help mediate the situation, but near the end of the video, Edouard allegedly is seen stomping on Cuffee’s head after he was already handcuffed and on the ground.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said, according to RTPolice officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe. However, this defendant allegedly stomped on the head of a suspect as he lay on the ground, which is unacceptable for a police officer.” Thompson continued by saying this indictment should not reflect the work the majority of officers who perform their duty honorably are doing in New York City. 

At the trial on Tuesday, Edouard’s attorney, Stephen Worth, pleaded not guilty to the charges he is faced with. Worth also said Edouard was simply trying to place handcuffs on Cuffee and this is no more than a case of an officer doing their job. “The act, so-called kick, was part of the arrest process and to attempt to get his hand in custody so he could be handcuffed… It’s not a kick, we’ll leave that for trial.”

After the incident, Edouard was stripped of his badge and gun according to New York Magazine. If convicted, Edouard could face up to a year in prison.

NJ Muslims Seek Reversal in Case that Allowed NYPD Mass Surveillance

On Tuesday, a group of New Jersey Muslims went before the Federal Court of appeals, in hopes of reversing a ruling in the district court from February 2014, which justified the New York Police Department’s massive surveillance program that targeted Muslims as potential terrorists, solely because of their religion.

The Guardian reported that the case has 11 plaintiffs, including “an Iraq war veteran, university students, a coalition of mosques, and the head of a religious school for girls.”

According to the Associated Press, the three-judge panel “questioned whether police had any specific leads to justify the surveillance of Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups in New Jersey following 9/11.”

After the decision was made to dismiss the Civil Rights lawsuit in February 2014, Judge William Martini claimed that the “motive of the surveillance program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.”

According to the Huffington Post, Muslims such as Imam Abdul Muhammad said attendance at his Newark, New Jersey, mosque “dropped by half,” and Farhaj Hassan said he “feared for his position in the Army Reserve,” because of the massive surveillance program.

However, in Judge Martini’s 2014 ruling, he claimed that any damages done by the surveillance program only occurred after the Associated Press revealed that it was being conducted in 2012.

The Guardian reported that starting in 2002, the NYPD dispatched “plainclothes officers or ‘rakers’ to Muslim neighborhoods in New Jersey, monitoring bookstores, bars, nightclubs and cafes” to compile surveillance papers that catalogued “religiously oriented facts.”

According to the Associated Press, the three U.S. Circuit Judges received the case on Tuesday, were critical of the program, asking a lawyer for New York City questions such as, “You’ve got to admit there are a lot of people in this country that became prejudiced against Muslims after 9/11,” and “Whether that includes the people who have instituted the surveillance practice in New York City – how can we know at this point?

The Huffington Post reported that following the hearing, “plaintiffs and their lawyers expressed optimism that the appeals judges will overturn Martini’s ruling.”

We definitely put a good foot forward,” said Farhaj Hassan, the lead plaintiff in the case. “Today was a very, very good day for America.

NYPD on alert after ISIS video release

The New York Police Department is on high-alert after ISIS re-released a propaganda video which tells people to murder “intelligence officers, police officers, soldiers and civilians” throughout the US.  

The specific propaganda video was originally released in September 2014, but following the events in France last week, the NYPD is taking the resurgence of the video seriously.

An internal memo released throughout the NYPD told officers to “remain alert and consider tactics at all times while on patrol,” according to FOX News. Similarly, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, a police union in New York City, sent out an email to union members which reads, “Pay attention to your surroundings. Officers must pay close attention to approaching vehicles . . . Pay close attention to people as they approach. Look for their hands.”

However, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, John Miller, said according to CNN, “I don’t think that we are under any more threat … or any less threat than we were the day before.” Miller also said the NYPD has not detected any specific threats in New York City, but the NYPD has stepped up their police presence at central locations throughout the city, such as in Times Square.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told the citizens of New York City to also be on the lookout for anything suspicious. “We are the number one terror target, and that has created in us a sense of vigilance every day,” said de Blasio according to CBS New York. “There is no down day. There is no day when we’re less vigilant. We’re vigilant every day,”

The NYPD was not the only agency to take notice after the video resurfaced.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are also taking the video seriously. These agencies released a nationwide bulletin to law enforcement offices with similar warnings found in the NYPD memo as well as the union released email.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said he hopes intelligence agents in the U.S. are prepared and ready to prevent attacks similar to those carried out in France last week. “What we have to do,” said Menendez, “is be able to create a sense in communities of the importance of high alert, of vigilance, of being able to share information.”

Slowdown Sanctions: NYPD Orders Cops to Meet Arrest, Summons Quotas Or Lose Vacation Time, Sick Leave

Following a tragic incident in which two New York Police Department officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were brutally murdered, police across the city have been protesting by refusing to issue summonses and make arrests for low-level crimes that do not imminently threaten the public. However, the shift in focus from small-scale, discretionary infractions to hard crimes with victims has been praised by some in the media who believe that the police protest, called a slowdown, should be transformed into permanent policy. Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi penned, “This police protest, unwittingly, is leading to the exposure of the very policies that anger so many different constituencies about modern law-enforcement tactics,” noting the fact that NYPD’s “broken windows” style of policing, in which the enforcement of smaller, discretionary crimes in “hot spot” neighborhoods is given top priority, has been pinpointed by community activists as a source of tension between police and residents in targeted neighborhoods. According to NYPD police officers interviewed by The Daily Beast, many New York cops enjoy the slowdown and prefer focusing on what they call “good arrests” that protect the public, rather than discretionary offenses aimed at raising revenue for the city.

However, city officials and NYPD administrators are fighting back, fearing lost revenue, as, between December 29, 2014 and January 4, 2015, the number of summonses issued have dropped by 92% and arrest totals have plunged by 56%. According to the New York Post, NYPD police precincts are being ordered to submit activity sheets proving that officers are meeting arrest and summons quotas, with those who fail to meet numbers facing punishments. “Police officers around the city are now threatened with transfers, no vacation time and sick time unless they write summonses… This is the same practice that caused officers to be labeled racist and abusers of power,” said a police union rep, criticizing NYPD’s use of arrest and summons quotas.

A police officer interviewed by the New York Post said that cops at his precinct were dispatched to a driver checkpoint last Thursday and told that they would not be allowed to take a lunch break or return from the checkpoint until at least two summonses were issued. Said the officer, “And the majority of [new] summonses written aren’t protecting the public in any way… But now they’re realizing how much revenue the city is losing, and they’re enforcing their will upon us… To have all the manpower utilized for the sole purpose of writing summonses is a very dangerous way to utilize manpower. This is not what we’re out here for.” An announcement posted at the officer’s precinct indicated that, until officers catch up on revenue-generating activities, no additional vacation days would be approved and no sick days would be authorized without a doctor’s note.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton admitted at a press conference that, despite the drop in discretionary arrests and summonses, crime overall has been on the decline during the slowdown.

Matt Taibbi: New York Police Only “Arresting People When They Have To”?

The New York City Police Department work stoppage is “surreal” and a clear attempt to strangle the city’s budget and place pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi.

Ben Swann talks with Taibbi about the fact that “arresting people when they have to” is what all police should be doing. Taibbi explains how the police force’s attempt to punish De Blasio for criticizing the department is merely political, despite what they may say.

The NYPD has effectively stopped working

A few days after the funeral for NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, one of two slain police officers whose deaths have sparked a rift between the police and the mayor in the city, reports are claiming the NYPD have virtually stopped working.

According to the New York Post, traffic tickets and minor offense summonses have dropped in the city by about 94 percent since the funeral. Some officers are saying they feel betrayed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and fear for their safety while on the job.

The overall arrest rate has dropped by about 66 percent throughout the city, and officers are only making arrests “when they have to.”

One source told the New York Magazine, “This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake. Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.”

As of right now, according to CBS New York, the slowdown of work is not an intentional or coordinated plan. Rather the drop in arrests is being attributed to the number of officers who are still grieving after the lose of both Officer Ramos and Liu, as well as officers being on edge after their shooting deaths.

The stoppage comes as de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton are scheduled to hold an “emergency summit” with the leaders of five different police unions in the area.

One tweet from the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association read, before it was deleted, the mayor needs to “humble himself” as well as “change his philosophical views on policing,” in order to deal with the new protests and manner in which they are handled by the police in the city.

Officers turning their backs on mayor called inappropriate by police commissioner

When Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, spoke at the funeral of fallen NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos, many other NYPD officers in the crowd turned their backs towards the mayor in open protest. Now, New York Police Commisioner William Bratton is calling this act inappropriate at the funeral for the fallen officer.

“I certainly don’t support that action,” said Bratton according to the AP. “That funeral was held to honour Officer Ramos. And to bring politics, to bring issues into that event, I think, was very inappropriate.”

The mayor has been criticized recently for his remarks concerning the relationship between officers, specifically those working with the NYPD, and members in the African American community.

Various leaders of police unions in New York City were responsible for some of the negative remarks towards the mayor. The symbolic gesture of the officers turning their backs on the mayor at the funeral of Officer Ramos though, has not been claimed by any police union members. Patrick Lynch, the head of one union, dodged reporter’s questions about the action after the funeral.

“The issues go far beyond race relations in this city,” Bratton said to Chuck Todd on ‘Meet the Press.’  Bratton continued by saying, “I think it’s probably a rift that is going to go on for a while longer… However, we will be making efforts to sit down and talk with the union leaders in particular to deal with their issues.”

Bratton also said de Blasio has been “totally supportive” of the NYPD by contributing many millions of dollars to the department’s budget for officer safety enhancements.

Civilians and non-civilians alike gather to bid farewell to fallen NYPD officer

It has been hard to be a police officer in America after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and two NYPD officers were killed in retaliation for the failure of grand juries to indict officers in relation to their deaths.  In retaliation, two NYPD officers were killed by a civilian on Dec. 20.

One of those slain NYPD officers though, received an emotional sendoff Friday, as officers, civilians, and others gathered to say goodbye to the fallen.

Officer Rafael Ramos, 40, was one officer killed in the line of duty.  Ramos was said to be a devoted member of the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, and his funeral is expected to draw thousands according to the New York Daily News.  Ramos was an active member in the church, which he attended for the past 14 years with his wife and two sons.

“Ralph was one of the faithful ushers who made Christ Tabernacle feel like home,” said executive pastor Rev. Adam Durso.  “He loved his family and his church.”

Police officers from all over the country are also said to be in attendance for Ramos’s funeral.  ABC News has reported JetBlue has flown about 670 law enforcement officers from all over the country to New York City so they can show their support for the fallen officer.  The airline company also said they are offering free transportation for those officers across the nation who wish to attend the funeral.

Vice President Joe Biden has also said he would be in attendance for Ramos’s funeral on Saturday.

Mayor Bil de Blasio, who NYPD officers have said has “blood on his hands” for the killings of the two officers, has said, according to Reuters, he hopes the funerals for both officers will help in reuniting the broken city.

The funeral arrangements for Officer Wenjian Liu, who was killed alongside Ramos, have not yet been announced as federal agents have begun to help transport his family members from China to America for his funeral.

Man Arrested For Allegedly Threatening Police With Facebook Post

A man in Massachusetts has been arrested for making an allegedly threatening Facebook post which reads “Put wings on pigs.”

According to CBS Local News Boston, Charles DiRosa, 27, was arrested Monday by the Chicopee police after they were warned by residents in the area of “very disturbing posts” made by DiRosa.  The post made by DiRosa is similar to one made by Ismaaiyl Brinsley on Saturday before he shot and killed two NYPD officers and then turning the gun on himself.

The Chicopee police made their own Facebook post in response to DiRosa’s arrest, writing, “After the events of the past few days, the PD took this threat very seriously.”  A spokesman for the Chicopee Police Department also said the phrase in question is a threat “in the eyes of every police officer in America today.”

DiRosa was arrested on charges of making a threat to commit a crime.

As we reported, the

However, some are arguing the post is protected speech under the First Amendment.

A New York Times article cites the legal cases of Hess vs. Indiana (1973) as well as Brandenburg vs. Ohio (1969) to say the post, without further evidence of intended harm, may not qualify as a punishable incitement of a crime.  According to their article, in order for speech of any kind to fit into the incitement exception made by these cases, “speech must be intended to and likely to produce imminent unlawful conduct, as opposed to just being ‘advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time.'”

The post made by DiRosa does not say he will kill a police officer, nor does it encourage another to kill a police officer, which makes this more of a general statement, and most likely not punishable according to the author.

The author of the article does say the Chicopee police are in their full right to investigate persons who make such comments, but prosecution for such a crime is very unlikely.

After Killing of Two Officers, NYPD Union Declares Itself a “Wartime” Police Department

Following the shooting that killed two New York police officers, the NYPD’s union has issued a statement announcing that in response, it has become a “wartime” police department.

As previously reported, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, after he who ambushed and shot them both, in an alleged attempt to avenge the death of Eric Garner. Brinsley’s ambush of the two officers occurred shortly after he shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore, and then posted his plans to strike back at the police to her Instagram account.

According to the New York Post, Liu and Ramos were “working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill in Bedford-Stuyvesant,” when they were “shot point-blank in the head” by Brinsley.

Newsmax reported that the NYPD’s union, the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, issued a statement regarding the way the department is responding to this incident, and the way it is working to prevent future threats:

Starting IMMEDIATELY: At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be.”

The statement went on to say that from this point forward, there would be no unnecessary arrests by New York police officers:

IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest.”

The statement noted that these precautions were ones that had been taken in the 1970s, when “police officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis.

The union concluded its statement by criticizing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and blaming him for the fact that the NYPD has become a “wartime” police department:

The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

“Questionable Police Conduct”: Report Examines Alleged NYPD Gun Planting, Judges’ Distrust Of Police

A New York Times investigation of three individuals arrested on gun charges by the NYPD has shed light on several similarities involving anonymous informants and some of the same arresting officers in each case. The Times’ report on the three men- Eugene Moore, John Hooper, and Jeffrey Herring- is part of an outline that questions the methods of one group of police: “Taken individually, the cases seem to be routine examples of differences between the police account of an arrest and that of the person arrested. But taken together, the cases — along with other gun arrests made in the precinct by these officers — suggest a pattern of questionable police conduct and tactics.”

Moore, Herring, and Hooper were each arrested on gun charges with similar circumstances involving tips given to police by anonymous informants. No information regarding informants in these cases had been introduced by police until months after prosecution began. The report stated that the suspects, who were all arrested on different occasions in Brooklyn’s 67th Precinct, claimed that the guns were planted by the police.

Moore was arrested by NYPD Detective Gregory Jean-Baptiste and Sgt. Vassilios Aidiniou on gun possession charges. The police said that Moore “had stored a gun in a white plastic bag underneath containers of takeout food” based on a tip from an informant. Moore spent a year in jail before his charges were dismissed. According to the Times, the judge was not convinced by Jean-Baptiste’s testimony:

“Detective Jean-Baptiste went on to give conflicting testimony about the informer and the circumstances of the arrest. Justice William Harrington of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn called the detective ‘extremely evasive’ and said he did not find him ‘to be credible.’ The judge suppressed the gun evidence, and Mr. Moore’s case was dismissed and sealed.”

In the separate case of Hooper, he was also arrested by Jean-Baptiste, who was dressed in plainclothes at the time of the arrest. Aidiniou was involved in Hooper’s case as well. Similarly to the arrest of Moore, Jean-Baptiste was allegedly tipped off by an anonymous informant that Hooper was in possession of a gun. Police claimed that as Hooper was approached by Jean-Baptiste, Hooper took a gun that was wrapped in a red bandanna and threw it into a wastebasket.

Police failed to produce the informant who had allegedly seen Hooper with a gun. In a probable cause hearing Jean-Baptiste said that he could see a gun-shaped bulge in Hooper’s pocket despite being a car length away and acknowledging that Hooper was dressed in a long shirt and baggy pants. The judge in Hooper’s case was also doubtful of police testimony:

“Supposedly this defendant doesn’t see the police coming, but elects out of nowhere to take the object out of his pants pocket and dump it in a garbage can?” Justice Guy J. Mangano said. “I find it incredible that they thought it was a gun.”

The district attorney offered Hooper a plea deal for time served ahead of Mangano’s decision. Hooper agreed, having spent almost a year in jail.

Herring is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. He was arrested in 2013 after police said that a plainclothes officer saw Herring reach “into a white plastic bag and removed a gun, putting it in a black plastic bag” before tossing the bag. Debora Silberman, Herring’s attorney challenging his charges, noticed that Jean-Baptiste- one of the officers involved in Herring’s arrest- had been found providing undependable testimony in the past.

Silberman contacted Moore’s attorney, Jeffrey Chabrowe, and discovered that the circumstances surrounding Herring’s arrest were close to those of Moore’s.

Silberman and another defense lawyer, Scott Hechinger, have implied through court papers that officers might be fabricating these confidential informants for different reasons. One could be a motivation to fulfill department quotas. The attorneys also questioned the possibility of officers collecting money from an initiative called Operation Gun Stop, where informants are given a $1,000 reward; the officers have been unable to produce any informants in these three cases, even when ordered by judges to do so.

Grand Jury Indicts Man, Who Filmed Eric Garner’s Chokehold Death by NYPD, on Gun Charges

“You’re just mad because I filmed your boy,” said Ramsey Orta, according to The Huffington Post, as officers with the New York Police Department arrested him for allegedly owning a gun. Orta is the man behind the camera in the now-infamous video in which NYPD officers put unarmed Eric Garner in a banned chokehold that suffocated him to death on a packed New York street. When a grand jury declined yesterday to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Garner, protests erupted across the US, as many Americans felt that justice had not been served.

In light of the grand jury’s non-indictment of Eric Garner, Nick Wing at The Huffington Post pointed out the fact that a grand jury did indeed indict Ramsey Orta on gun charges that he claims were pinned on him by NYPD officers in an act of retaliation against him for filming the choking death. According to SILive.comOrta, who filmed Garner’s death on July 17, was arrested on August 2 after police allegedly saw him handing a .25 caliber handgun to a friend. While firearms ownership is constitutionally protected and legal in most US jurisdictions, citizens in New York City are subject to strict gun control laws.

On August 15, a grand jury indicted Ramsey Orta, who has a prior drug conviction, on two felony charges, criminal firearm possession and third-degree criminal weapon possession, and a misdemeanor weapon possession charge. Orta plead not guilty and is fighting the charges. The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association issued a statement on Orta’s arrest with harsh words for “criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.”

Orta’s wife Chrissie Ortiz told SILive.com that the charges against him were “total b.s.” and said, “I’m just worried about my husband and getting out the truth and making sure justice is served for Eric Garner and my husband.” She claims her husband was set up by NYPD and told CBS New York, “He called me and said, ‘babe, hurry up and come over here. They’re trying to pin something on me’… The day after they declare [Eric Garner’s death] a homicide, you find someone next to [Ramsey Orta] with a gun, and you saw him pass it off? Out in public when he knows he’s in the public spotlight? It makes no sense.”

The above-embedded video coverage of Orta’s arrest, which was broadcast back in August by CBS New York, notes that Orta’s mother Emily Mercado claimed that police had been following him ever since he filmed the video of Garner’s death. She said, “They’ve been following him. They’ve been sitting in front of my house, putting their spotlights in my window.” She called his video “something that needed to be shown, you know, that people needed to see.” Going further, she said, “I’m glad that he is the one that did it.” Back in August, Mercado said that Orta was placed on suicide watch following his arrest.

Orta’s lawyer Michael Zuntag pointed out the fact that no fingerprints were found on Orta’s alleged weapon. A DNA test is being conducted on the handgun to determine whether or not any samples are a match with Orta.