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02-20-2014, 01:46 PM #1
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What Do I Know About Corrupt Cops? My Family Owned a Few.
What Do I Know About Corrupt Cops? My Family Owned a Few.
Ultimately, the only people watching the watchers are those realistic enough to admit that it's necessary.
J.D. Tuccille | February 18, 2014
Elijah BosleyYears ago, members of my extended family were gangsters connected with the Genovese crime family. They had the ability, which they used, to place people in favored positions within the New York City Police Department. I know this, because my father was offered one of those slots.
This is a big part of why I've always had a problem with claims that you can trust the police, in addition to the civil liberties abuses we report at Reason. Cops can be as crooked as anybody else—and are more dangerous for it, because of their power and position. It's the old problem of "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"—"Who watches the watchmen?" The more you give the watchmen to do, the more tempting it becomes to corrupt them, and for them to let themselves be corrupted. And the more temptation for corruption, the more the likelihood that such temptation is the main attraction for people who want to be watchmen.
That temptation sometimes really is the main attraction. Remembering some of the old family stories, I asked my father for details. He told me:
The time was 1954 when I was graduating from high school and my Uncle Puggy, Watermelon King of the East Coast, who presided over the Bronx Terminal Market, told my father he was wasting his money sending me to college. He could get me a beat around the market, located in the South Bronx before it moved to Hunts Point, where I could get on the family’s payroll and get an envelope stuffed with cash every week.Puggy was called "the Watermelon King" because the New York Daily News once published a picture of him standing on top of a mountain of watermelons. The photo illustrated an article pointing out that he extracted his cut from every banana, every tomato, every kind of fruit and vegetable known to mankind that passed through the Bronx Terminal Market. And, if you're going to be in that kind of business, it's helpful to own the people who are supposed to prevent that sort of thing from happening. Puggy did. He wanted my father to join in the lucrative fun.
My father decided not to go that route.
The law enforcement connections continued and expanded. At the end of the 1960s, that crew pulled off an art heist that was elegant in execution, but went to hell pretty quickly. As it turned out the buyers they arranged were FBI agents. But the thieves were tipped off that the buyers were feds. And they were tipped off about a raid on a house where the paintings had been stored. As my father tells me, "they probably had a plant in the FBI as well." (If you're interested, and it's a hell of a tale, you can read the full story of the heist in Gallery of Fools.
None of this is news to anybody who remembers Frank Serpico's revelations about the NYPD. But it's also something that doesn't go away. My father's brief opportunity for a law (non)enforcement career passed 60 years ago. The Knapp Commission convened over four decades ago. But the NYPD still faces allegations of corruption, including traditional ticket-fixing, outright theft of cash and jewels, and taking bribes to deliver accident reports to doctors and clinics who then market their services to the victims.
Honest cops who blow the whistle still suffer retaliation for their pains.
Not that the NYPD should be singled out. Baltimore cops have been accused of working as muscle for drug dealers. Cops elsewhere have been drug dealers, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by their badges to shut down competitors in the illegal but highly profitable trade and keep the opportunities for themselves
And then there are the FBI agents who got tight with Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger.
Some of this corruption overlaps with civil liberties violations committed in the course of police work. Those jewel-stealing cops mentioned above also gained a taste for gathering evidence in the absence of warrants. It's probably not surprising that police officers who engage in theft, accept bribes, and carve out illegal narcotics empires might find the Fourth Amendment an unimpressive barrier to further depredations.
There may be no way of doing entirely without professional police forces that are paid and empowered to enforce the laws to some extent (though I'm very willing to consider alternatives). Like many things in life, there's probably no perfect fix. But, so long as we have police forces, we're going to have a problem with police who abuse their positions and succumb to corruption. We'll also have a problem with people who become cops just so they can exploit the opportunity to engage in abuse and get an envelope stuffed with cash every week, offered by the likes of Uncle Puggy.
Asking police officers to suppress highly profitable activities where there's money to be had just for looking the other way is just begging for trouble.
That's enough reason to give extra thought to every job, tool, power, legal protection, and consideration given to police officers. And it's reason to turn a skeptical eye on the people we've hired to keep the peace. Because, in the end, the only people watching the watchers are those realistic enough to admit that it's necessary.
J.D. Tuccille is managing editor of Reason.com.
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02-21-2014, 10:19 AM #2
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Single Mom Spends Night in Jail After Cop Accuses Her of Committing a ‘Felony’ During Simple Traffic Stop… Except She Didn’t
Feb. 18, 2014 9:20pm Jason Howerton
A Florida woman spent the night in jail after a Broward County sheriff’s deputy accused her of committing a “felony” by audio recording their conversation during a simple traffic stop. Upon review, all charges against her were dropped — but now the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) is facing a lawsuit.
Brandy Burning (WPLG-TV)
Brandy Burning, a single mom, was pulled over by BSO Lt. William O’Brien for driving in an HOV lane. After some back-and-forth about her traffic violation, Burning informed the officer that she was recording their conversation.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you I was recording our conversation,” Burning is heard saying in the audio.
“I’m sorry?” O’Brien responds.
“I have to tell you, I forgot to tell you I was recording,” she repeats.
It was at this point that O’Brien accused her of committing a “felony” and demanded the cellphone. He also told her he knows the law better than she does.
“You are committing a felony. Hand me the phone,” O’Brien orders.
“No, I am not,” the defiant woman says in the audio. “I am not giving up my phone.”
As Washington Post opinion blogger Radley Balko correctly notes, “[In] every state in America, you are well within your rights to record an on-duty police officer.”
“There are a few limited exceptions, such as if while recording you physically interfere with an officer trying to perform his duties. But as long as you aren’t in the way, you’re protected by the First Amendment,” he writes.
After allegedly climbing into the car and attempting to take the phone forcefully, O’Brien removed Burning and arrested her. The mom can be heard screaming on the tape, demanding the officer take his hands off of her.
“Get off of me! You are breaking the law!” she yelled. “I am not getting out of my car. Get off of me!”
video at link below
Burning was eventually charged with traffic violations and resisting arrest — but no crimes related to the recording. All charges were eventually dropped.
The single mom still spent a night in jail and claims she suffered several bruises and scrapes during the traumatic experience.
“Touching me, trying to take my personal belongings from me, trying to put me in jail for something so small,” she recalled in an interview with WPLG-TV.
Burning’s attorneys have already notified the Broward Sheriff’s Office that they are planning to file a lawsuit on grounds of battery, false arrest and false imprisonment.
Other Must-Read Stories
- On-Duty Police Officer Pulled Over Teenager, Placed Her in Cuffs, Then Allegedly Did the 'Unthinkable'
- Police Suing Woman For Allegedly Failing to Warn Officers About Dangerous Situation in 911 Call
- Young Ohio Woman Charged With a Daycare Sex Crime That Is Almost Impossible to Fathom
It also came to light that a former deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office is facing criminal charges after allegedly smashing a woman’s phone for videotaping him.
Last edited by kathyet2; 02-21-2014 at 10:24 AM.
02-22-2014, 02:30 PM #3
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Thursday, February 20, 2014
"Doesn't Add Up" - Attorney on Teen with Wii Remote, Killed by Cop
A viewing takes place today for Christopher Roupe, a teen who was shot in the chest by a female police officer immediately upon opening the door. The aspiring Marine and ROTC student would have turned 18 on Sunday.
The officer claimed he had a gun; and the Euharlee, GA police department appears to stand by that claim. What he was holding was in fact, a white Wii gaming controller; an ubiquitous object shaped like a remote control.
Published on Feb 19, 2014
An attorney representing the family of a Georgia teen who was fatally shot by police at his home says the boy only had a Nintendo Wii controller in his hand.
Christopher Roupe, 17, died Feb. 14 when one of two Euharlee police officers who came to his home to serve a probation violation warrant for his father shot him in the chest.
The female officer told investigators that the teen answered the door with what appeared to be a gun pointed at her, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"The officer fired one shot, striking Roupe," Lang told the paper. "The officer immediately called for medical assistance. Roupe was transported to the hospital in Cartersville where he was pronounced dead."
Cole Law, an attorney representing the family, told WSB that the story "just doesn't add up." He says eyewitnesses claim the boy had a Wii controller in his hand and was preparing to watch a movie.
"As the eyewitnesses on the scene clearly state, he had a Wii controller in his hand. He heard a knock at the door. He asked who it was. There was no response, so he opened the door, and immediately upon opening the door, he was shot in the chest," Law told WSB.
Roupe was in the ROTC at Woodland High School and hoped to join the U.S. Marine Corps, the station reported. His friends remember him as a good kid.
The officer who fired the shot has been placed on administrative leave. Neighbors told WSB that they saw her right after shots rang out.
"She came out of this house. She put her head in her hands and she was sobbing," neighbor Ken Yates told the station. "This is tragic."
Credit - Andres Jauregui
News & Politics
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Two Euharlee officers showed up at Christopher's home in the Eagle View Mobile Home Park to serve a probation violation warrant for his father. After the shooting, the officer told GBI investigators that Christopher pointed a gun at her when he opened the door. The family is filing suit against the police department. Their attorney, Cole Law, said the story of Roupe's pointing a gun at the officer “doesn’t add up.” Law said:
We don't know where that statement came from. The eyewitnesses on the scene clearly state that he had a Wii controller in his hand. He heard a knock at the door. He asked who it was, there was no response so he opened the door and upon opening the door he was immediately shot in the chest.“When we got up there, they said there was a Wii remote in his hand and she shot him,” said neighbor Tia Howard. Roupe survived the initial shot but suffered major blood loss before medics could arrive, and died at the hospital. One witness reports seeing "an ungodly amount of blood on a Wii controller and the gaming system laying nearby.”
One source says that the father, who was home, was arrested at the time of the incident (for the warrant) and that the two siblings at the home were released to a neighbor until their mother could pick them up.
One report claims that the officer involved is Beth Daniel-Gatny, aka Nancy B Daniel-Gatny, as this woman's photo was removed from Euharlee department's page and her Facebook account is deactivated. The report claims that when Christopher's 13-year-old sister came to console her crying, wounded brother, the officer pointed the gun at her and told her to "shut-up," but there are no supporting sources for that quote.
Neither the police department nor Georgia Bureau of Investigation is willing to comment on the incident. Evidence has been turned over to the District Attorney's office. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Christopher Roupe's family and friends called him Bubba and set up a memorial page for him. He and his older sister had hoped he would soon meet his baby niece. The family posted a contact to fund his funeral costs in the comments.
Front page message from Chief of Police Terry J. Harget:
The Euharlee Police Department is a police organization with a modern, well educated, highly competent staff. We value high integrity, the Community Policing philosophy and we continually strive for excellence in all that we do. In this regard, our primary focus is on protecting and serving our citizens with the highest possible levels of devotion to duty by all members of the Euharlee Police Department.In accordance with our Community Policing philosophy, we use strategic planning methods to move the department toward becoming less, incident-driven and more proactive in addressing the root causes of crime and disorder in our community. Our strategies include analytic problem-solving techniques; teamwork with all stakeholders of neighborhood problems coupled with collaboration of the full resources of local government; and candid open communications dialogue with the Euharlee community.[...]Most importantly, the foundation of the Euharlee Police Department is the set of Core Values with which we approach everything we do: P-O-L-I-C-E Professionalism, Obligation, Leadership, Integrity, Courage, and Excellence.Euharlee Police Dept. Contact:
Monday Through Thursday 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Phone: 770-386-7339 Fax: 770-386-7340 Police Chief Terry J. Harget: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image of Christopher Roupe: Facebook
Recent other articles by Amanda Warren
- Cop Kills Service Dog at Boy's Birthday Party: "I Love Dogs"
- NYPD Breaks Child's Leg for Filming, Assaults Mom
- Police Dig Into the Underwear of Pulled Over Drivers and Passengers
02-24-2014, 11:55 AM #4
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- Jun 2013
Sometimes it is good to read about our Police Officers who do good!!!!
Police go above the call
Posted by Joe For America on Feb 23, 2014
According to TheBlaze,
Follow Joe For America on Facebook!Logan Pearson had never experienced a real birthday party. His family says a traditional celebration for the severely autistic 11-year-old, turning 12 on Monday, was just never possible.After his mother posted on social media in an attempt to make Logan’s birthday something this year, people responded.
“(The post) was brought to my attention by my better half, my girlfriend,” Cambridge police officer Steven Bikofsky told WBZ-TV. “When I realized he was in Andover, I knew he was a special boy and I figured we’d do something special for him.”Read more at http://joeforamerica.com/2014/02/pol...gVVtq0Xwp2a.99
Thank you gentleman for stepping forward!
Last edited by kathyet2; 02-24-2014 at 11:58 AM.