Another Example of How New York Cops Make Their Own Law

In my column today, I note that police in New York City are still arresting people for "public display" of marijuana in circumstances that Commissioner Ray Kelly says make the charge inappropriate. Yesterday a federal judge approved an agreement that settles a class action lawsuit by New Yorkers who were busted on another kind of bogus charge: Long after courts overturned anti-loitering laws on First Amendment grounds, the NYPD continued to arrest people for loitering. The $15 million settlement could mean up to $5,000 for each person who was the victim of an illegal arrest. The legal battles over loitering bans in New York go back three decades:

The settlement came after a federal judge held the city in contempt in 2010 for "obstinance and uncooperativeness," as the police continued for years to make arrests under laws that had been declared unconstitutional. The laws had banned loitering to panhandle or to search for a sex partner, or while in a bus or train station.

Federal and state courts struck down those laws between 1983 and 1993 as violating First Amendment rights, but some 22,000 people were charged with the offenses from 1983 to 2012....

Some of those who were caught in the web of laws that had been declared invalid testified about the frustration of being rounded up when they had not broken the law.

One panhandler described an evening on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens during which officers recited their flawed understanding of the law: "'You can’t be begging.'"...

The lawyers who filed the suit claimed that the police hierarchy was not aggressive enough in training officers and challenging the police culture. They noted that officers often carried "cheat sheets," handed down from one generation of officers to the next, that included simple descriptions of the laws used most often by officers on a beat for summonses and arrests. The sheets, still in use, are seldom updated.

You can begin to understand how it is possible that the NYPD is still arresting people for a bit of pot in their pockets 35 years after the state legislature supposedly decriminalized marijuana possession.

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  • Max||

    Well-paid private cops would hide their "wrong doings" a lot better.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Who let you back in the house?

  • Max has made his last post||

    Max|6.24.10 @ 3:29PM|#

    Go suck ron puals dick, morons. You peeple are fucking retarded. I`m done coming to this wingnut sight. this is my last post.

  • ||

    Typical Team Blue/Team Red promise.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Don't believe it folks! There's no was to fuck retarded. Either you're smart enough to do it, or it doesn't qualify.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I'm having thumb-fingered problems today. Please 'scuze my typing.

  • Gojira||

    Not to go too OT, but this happened literally one block from where I work yesterday. I saw the helicopters hovering when I went out on a smoke break. Now this "officer" (light rail cop) is claiming a cross saved her life.

    http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/0.....l-station/

  • ||

    I guess the bulletproof vest had nothing to do with it, then.

  • ||

    Two other individuals who were standing on the platform were also shot, Sgt. Kevin Perlich with the Richardson Police Department said during a Tuesday news conference. It was not clear whether those civilians were shot by the suspect, or accidentally shot by the DART officer.

    I am betting on the latter. The whole thing makes no sense. Why the hell would the guy turn around and just shoot her? I call shenanigans. There is more to this.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Why the hell would the guy turn around and just shoot her?

    Really depends on who the guy was. If a felon, he'd be looking at a good stretch (10 years?) for felon-in-possession, and he may have decided he didn't want to go back to jail.

    Definitely would like to hear more information though. Like the Dec. shootout in the Dallas Amtrak car though, I doubt we will.

    Bullets go through shit. Pretty easily as it turns out. One more reason I get nervous when the cops start showing up with belt-fed MGs.

  • PR||

    and the officer shot at least one bystander

  • ||

    I bet the perp never fired a shot. I bet the cop saw the gun and freaked out and shot those people and the guy ran and ended up being killed by the cops.

  • PR||

    the lady cop got shot too. but the bystander who survived said it was her who shot him.

  • ||

    But weren't there other cops there? Who is to say the cops didn't shoot each other?

  • PR||

    could be. seems bad enough based on what is known so far. she shot at least one bystander.

  • ||

    And were never be held responsible for it. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to start wildly shooting on a crowded terminal.

  • ||

    I believe legally the suspect would be responsible for the injuries, and the death of the bystander, regardless of whose bullet hit whom.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Legally, the department should still be sueable.

  • PR||

    legally yes. but in reality she shot one and probably killed the other bystander. I say probably because it appears she never hit anything she was shooting at, and the suspect did hit what he was shooting at, so odds are she killed the other bystander and will be allowed to continue to be a cop because the suspect's legal guilt somehow trumps incompetence.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    It doesn't make the news when it misses the cross, or just carries the cross inside with it.

    Go to (Battle of the) Crater Park and look at all the bullets they have that hit nose-to-nose. Think that was God's doing?

  • ||

    Doubtful that it hit the cross. And even if it did, so what?

  • Gojira||

    Think that was God's doing?

    No, I really don't. God could have done a lot more good by having that happen in WWI than at the Battle of Park, and chose not to. Frankly, if He exists, I don't think His first priority is causing bullets to hit eachother, when instead he could have just altered their trajectory, made them disappear, cause non-fatal wounds, or even better, not have allowed the fighting to happen in the first place (as long as He's physically intervening and all).

  • Gojira||

    *Battle of Crater Park

  • Abdul||

    Orthodox crosses have 2 cross beams--twice the protection!

  • Gojira||

    If we're going that route, I'm going to wear a Star of David.

  • Abdul||

    I thought about that, but it's hollow in the center.

    Better: sikhs wear an ornamental sword. It's offense and defense.

  • Fluffy||

    I never, ever believe the "training" dodge.

    "The officers need to be better trained" is just an excuse used when officers continue to employ laws that have been struck down just because it's convenient for the officers.

    I have little to no doubt that politicians in NYC wanted bums to be less visible, so they pressured police captains to do something about it, and the police captains sent their guys out to deliberately pretend not to know that loitering was no longer a crime.

    There's no doubt in my mind.

    Cops have lawyers yelling in their faces every day and spend more time in court than anyone other than prosecutors and judges. They know damn well what laws are still valid. And they definitely know damn well when an arrest they make or a summons they issue goes south because it's legally invalid.

  • ||

    ^^This^^ They receive tons of training. They know what is right. They just don't care. They are bullies and generally just small nasty people doing a job no one really wants to do.

  • Dumphy||

    It is the state legislature's fault that cops are bullies and small minded nasty people. If they would just pass better laws we wouldn't have small penis issues.

  • ||

    Agree.

    You can have a badge, handcuffs and a gun. Or you can get the benefit of the doubt. Not both.

  • ||

    With great privilege comes great responsibility. They never want the latter, just the former.

  • ||

    Everyone in NYC looks the other way when it comes to bums. It doesn't matter if you are an ultra-liberal or an ACLU lawyer or a homeless rights advocate. It's fucked up, but the cops are under an unstated mandate to keep the streets clean, and they know it. They will continue to do this. I was shocked by the aggressiveness and density of the bums in Seattle compared to NYC because of this invisible but religiously enforced "secret" rule.

  • ||

    East Coast liberals are fascist. You wouldn't believe the gnashing of teeth that occurs when young black people come across the DC line into Montgomery County. There is a cop there almost immediately. You never see a young black person, ever.

  • ||

    Spare me your KULTUR WAR bullshit, John. This has nothing to do with "East Coast liberals". Everyone in NYC looks the other way about this issue, whether they are liberal, conservative, or even libertarian. It's a specific feature of New York.

  • ||

    I wouldn't limit the "clear the bums" unspoken mandate to NYC. I suspect it is pretty common in many cities.

  • ||

    It is common in every city I have been in, at least to the upper class white areas. Seattle, San Fran and Portland seem to be the only places where white people actively encourage and like bums.

  • ||

    People fucking hate the bums in Seattle. Hate them. But Seattle does crazy shit like wethousing. The SPD are vicious, but for some reason, the bums flock here. Probably partly because there are no weather extremes.

  • ||

    But it is cold and wet as shit there. I don't get it. But I think once you get a community of them, they just attract others.

  • ||

    It almost never gets below freezing or above 85. No extremes is probably very attractive to someone living in Pioneer Park.

  • ||

    Who lives in Manhattan that isn't a liberal? And it is not a specific feature of New York. It is that way in every rich white suburb up and down the east coast. In Atlanta, the bums magically never go above Ponce De Leon. In Washington they never leave DC and young black people never go to Montgomery County.

    Phily is the same way. And Boston is even worse. These cities are owned and operated by liberals. And their police are the worst. That is just reality.

    And no one loves the culture war more than you. So spare me your tears about being dragged into it. You are the biggest culture warrior on here.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Oh John, you project so amusingly. I wanted to spur a discussion about why it's acceptable to everyone to have the bums disappeared (which Aresen responded to) and the first fucking thing out of your mouth is "East Coast liberals", followed by a rant about liberals.

    You're so boringly predictable, John. Could you maybe go do some work since we're paying for it anyway, and stop shitting all over every thread?

  • ||

    It is acceptable because rich white people don't give a shit if the cops are fascist as long as it is keeping their neighborhoods safe.

    And yeah, East Coast liberals run these cities. So they have to answer for the behavior of the cops. Just like Arizona conservatives have to answer for Sheriff Arapo or whatever his name is. You never seem to have a problem with that.

    As I said, you are biggest culture warrior on here. You only call everyone else one because you want a monopoly on the subject. And screaming team blue and team red at everyone is hardly interesting Epi.

  • ||

    Hey John, let's do a count of how many times you rant about liberals and get in hump-fests with MNG, and then do a count of mine.

    Just because you think that saying "I'm not, YOU are!" is an effective strategy doesn't mean shit. Just fucking spare us your shit for five fucking minutes for once. Really, do you ever do any work? Ever? And do you even know what "culture warrior" means? Because you are the textbook definition of one, so you really should. But I guess denial works for you.

  • ||

    Even assuming I am one Epi, it only bugs you because you are one too. And yeah, I find people in white people in Washington to be generally more liberal and more tolerant of cops being assholes to minorities, provided they are keeping said minorities out of their neighborhood, than I have in other places. If that makes me a culture warrior so be it.

  • Zeb||

    "Who lives in Manhattan that isn't a liberal?"

    Seriously?

  • ||

    Do you really think New York is the only city where the cops fuck with minorities that go to white neighborhoods?

  • ||

    ""Do you really think New York is the only city where the cops fuck with minorities that go to white neighborhoods?""

    What white neighborhoods?

    I can't think of a single neighborhood in Manhattan that is white. They are all racially mixed. Some more than others.

    Cops in NYC fuck with the minorities in their own neighborhoods more so than what you would call a white neighborhood.

  • Episiarch||

    Yeah KULTURE WAR JOHN you just have a WAR-BONER and HATE THE LIBURLZ!!!

  • ||

    That is a spoof.

  • ||

    You think?

  • Episiarch||

    ROTHBARD LOVED COPS:

    4. Take Back the Streets: Crush Criminals. And by this I mean, of course, not "white collar criminals" or "inside traders" but violent street criminals – robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error (which I'm sure will be of such comfort to those who the "punishment" was erroneously administered to - ed.)

    5. Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society. (again, his answer seems to be: give cops moar power! allow them to beat the shit out of bums!)

  • Live Free or Diet||

    You appear to be missing one person in six. Either that or the police filter is only 83% effective.

    2010 Montgomery County, Maryland
    White 57.5%
    Black 17.2%
    Indian 0.4%
    Asian 13.9%
    Pacific Is. 0.1%
    2+ races 4.0%
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/q.....24031.html

  • ||

    They live in Silver Spring.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I thought ignorance of the law is no excuse? Why does that not apply to cops?

  • Zeb||

    "ignorance of the law is no excuse"

    I think that's just something that cops made up.

  • ||

    And the New York taxpayers also took it in the ass for several million dollars last year when the city settled a suit over strip searches at Riker's Island. It has been settled law for about forty years now you can't strip search pre trial detainees arrested over nonviolent offenses. Riker's ignored that and did it anyway and the taxpayers of course had to pay.

    At some point this has to be criminal. They know the law. The courts have spoken numerous times and they do it anyway. Throw a few of them, including their leaders in jail or it will never stop.

  • ||

    ""At some point this has to be criminal. They know the law. The courts have spoken numerous times and they do it anyway. Throw a few of them, including their leaders in jail or it will never stop.""

    Can't disagree.

    I have a different idea. Take the lawsuit money out of the police budget or penson plans.

    Of course, I don't think either idea will happen.

  • Tim||

    Guard: It's time for a cavity search.
    Mr. Burns: Oh, I haven't had a cavity in forty years.
    Guard: I wasn't talking about your teeth.
    Mr. Burns: Nor was I.

    Read more: http://www.tvfanatic.com/quote.....z1lofgYej9

  • ||

    You can begin to understand how it is possible that the NYPD is still arresting people for a bit of pot in their pockets 35 years after the state legislature supposedly decriminalized marijuana possession.

    If you told me that police officers were still arresting people under the (long-dead) blasphemy laws, I would not be surprised.

  • ||

    Why not?

  • NYPD||

    Look buddy, you can take your complaints about outdated laws to the New Amsterdam court and tell it to the rechter.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Warning to everyone, New York pigs have a racket where they roam around filling prisoner vans with people for "quality of life" bullshit. If they want to arrest you they will just do it. Many of the charges get dismissed. Fuck Bloomberg.

  • Dumphy||

    Not beating the ride also applies to when we cuff you and toss you, unsecured, into the back of a metal paddy wagon. Then we drive the way cops normally drive. You will be beat to hell by the time we get you to the jail.

  • T||

    There's a saying I had never encountered outside of Texas: You may beat the rap but you won't beat the ride. You can get the charges dismissed, but in the meantime, you still got arrested for bullshit and went to jail. And cops joke about this.

  • ||

    Yes they do. You are screwed dealing with a cop. They can never be fired. They can make anything up they want and arrest you. Sure, you will beat the wrap. But it will cost you thousands of dollars and potentially your reputation.

    I am an utterly respectable person and I hate their guts and have no use for them. I can't imagine how much some black kid living in a bad neighborhood must hate them.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If the government wants to solve a couple problems, they should buy all the foreclosed houses in Detroit they don't already own. Then, take all the homeless who want to go a give them a room in one of the houses there. Stimulus! Plus, homeless problem is solved. And it's not like Detroit's going to get much worse than it already is.

  • ||

    The homeless are homeless by choice for the most part. They don't want a house. They just want to beg, do drugs and be bums.

  • ||

    Uh - what???

  • T||

    Most homeless are either mentally ill or chemically dependent. Some aren't, but the vast majority are in those two categories. The local homeless shelter discussed the uptick they get when it gets below freezing here. They won't allow drugs or alcohol, and many of the homeless will spend the night on the street in freezing weather rather than surrender the intoxicants.

  • ||

    Choices, choices.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If the government wants to solve a couple problems, they should buy all the foreclosed houses in Detroit they don't already own. Then, take all the homeless who want to go a give them a room in one of the houses there. Stimulus! Plus, homeless problem is solved. And it's not like Detroit's going to get much worse than it already is.

  • Fluffy||

    I wanted to spur a discussion about why it's acceptable to everyone to have the bums disappeared

    There's no real reason in liberalism for the bums to not be disappeared.

    If people in Philly can keep gun stores out, because "everyone should have a voice in what kind of community we have", then why can't they keep bums out, too?

    If all that's necessary for me to not be allowed to use my property is for someone to say that it might lower than property value if I do, why can't I say, "Well, it lowers my property value if you wander the streets being a bum, so get the fuck out"?

  • ||

    But if I am a bum, I don't own any property. What if I stand out in front of your business and harass people such that your customers go somewhere else? Aren't I damaging you?

  • Gojira||

    I see your point, but how can you actually determine that? Nobody has a right to "potential" customers; that's the argument that brick-and-mortars are making when they bitch about online retailers "stealing" their business (as if any such thing is possible short of kidnapping someone out of your store and forcing them to buy a competing product at gun-point).

  • ||

    But people don't go where there are large numbers of aggressive panhandlers. Want to kill a bar or a restaurant, get a few bums to hang out in front and beg and hassle the customers. IT will put them out of business. I don't have a right to customers. But my customers do have a right to come to my business without being hassled by a bum.

  • ||

    They go where the people are. Try walking home from a Mariners game some time. If you don't get accosted at least 3-4 times, it's like a gift.

  • ||

    It's not a property value thing, though. Here's my take on it, from my time in Manhattan.

    Bums are seriously annoying. No matter how much a person's supposed principles say that a bum has rights and shouldn't be treated badly, the relief of knowing that they can exit the subway and not be harassed overcomes any misgivings they might have about why there is no one harassing them. And since the cops make sure they deal with bums completely out of sight, there's no disturbing confrontations going on to make people feel uncomfortable.

    I don't think this is a liberal thing. I think it's a look the other way about an extremely distasteful situation thing.

  • ||

    It is the aggressive bums. If there is a bum sitting on the side walk with his cup out, no one cares. It is the ones who confront you.

  • Zeb||

    And don't forget that panhandlers are not all bums. A lot of them make a decent living mooching and have places to live and stuff.

  • cynical||

    So, how many lawsuits would it take for the PD to bankrupt the city? Let's get cracking, people.

  • ||

    Long after courts overturned anti-loitering laws on First Amendment grounds, the NYPD continued to arrest people for loitering. The $15 million settlement could mean up to $5,000 for each person who was the victim of an illegal arrest.

    Unless that money comes from either the arresting officers' salaries/retirement funds or from the police union's coffers - rather than from the taxpayers - then this is somewhat of a hollow victory.

  • ||

    NYPD Top Cop Ray Kelly Receives 2011 Bull Connor Award @ Columbia U.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcOqB06uwX0

  • ||

    If a nurse gave a pharmacist gave a medicine that was banned a month ago he'd lose his license. Cops dish out crap that was banned 12 years ago and don't even get a slap on the wrist. These guys should be arrested for kidnapping, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

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