By Yari Osorio
October 21, 2011
Cop corruption flows from anti-worker repression
Recent reports by The New York Times and NY1 News on two legal cases involving New York City police officers shine a light once again on the dark culture and practices of the NYPD.
One former undercover officer, Steve Anderson, testified for two days at the trial of another NYPD officer on the common practice of “attaching bodies” to drugs, a term he used to describe the practice of planting drugs on individuals in order to keep statistics-driven sergeants from questioning officer “productivity.”
The New York Times reports that detective Anderson had become ”numb” to the process after four years of being on a narcotics team based in Brooklyn and Queens.
“It was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators. … Seeing it so much, it’s almost like you have no emotion with it,” Anderson testified.
Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne have continuously denied the existence of “quotas,” the unwritten monthly number of tickets and/or arrests officers have to produce.
At a minimum, the public assumed that “quotas” could not be placed on arrests for the serious allegation of drug possession or distribution. However, Anderson’s testimony reveals that officers are also pressured to make a certain number of drug arrests, or face eviction from the prestigious narcotics unit teams.
Three years ago, Brooklyn police officers were caught turning in only a portion of the drugs they seized during drug busts. They explained the violation by claiming the pilfered drugs were being used as “rewards” for neighborhood informants.
As if it weren’t enough that the NYPD uses stolen drugs to put innocent people in jail, cops are also stealing drugs to pay their own snitches!
In another example of police disregard for the public, an eight-year veteran of the NYPD faced charges in court on Monday that he falsely arrested an African American man in the primarily Black neighborhood of Stapleton, Staten Island. The officer was then caught on tape talking about the arrest, exclaiming he had “fried another n—-.” He repeatedly used the N-word to talk about Black people.
Officer Daragjati’s record reveals a number of red flags.
To start with, the officer was also being charged with wire fraud, extortion and insurance fraud, related to a business he ran. He was being investigated by internal departments for allegations he was in business with a known drug dealer and was also accused of hiring a group to beat up a man he thought had stolen from his business.
Is Daragjati just a “bad apple?” Or is his behavior and that of the narcotics officers typical of the department as a whole?
The revelation of police abuse is no shock to New York residents who live outside of the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Protests are planned on Oct. 19 by social justice groups, community leaders, students and immigrant rights organizations who have been demanding an end to the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policies for years.
“They stop us for no reason, like, we don’t do nothing, you know?” said one young Stapleton resident interviewed by NY1 news. “Walk to the store, they stop us, go in our pockets. Throw your change which you got in your pocket after they done searching your pockets.”
It is common knowledge, based on countless documented cases, that the NYPD, like other police departments across the country, regularly breaks the laws it is supposed to be enforcing. Cases of police murder and brutality, law enforcement agents receiving payoffs from drug cartels and engaging in drug trafficking, officers fabricating or hiding evidence and many other violations are commonplace.
The class function of the police is to protect property relations by unleashing violence and terror on working people in the interests of the capitalist class. Rampant corruption in police departments is nothing but a manifestation of the class character of this force.
The New York Police Department has shown itself to be a toxic organization, drunk with its own lethal power of enforcement.