Police Abuse

New York City Pays $300K After Cops Beat Elderly Couple and Kill Their Dog

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SWAT
US Government

What's the appropriate police response when authorities suspect that an adult man is having a sexual relationship with a teenager? How about sending a SWAT team crashing into his grandparents' home, beating the crap out of his septuagenarian grandparents and (of course) killing their dog? That's what New York City police officers did to Elaine McCarthy and Egbert Thomas in 2008, and the city is now giving them $300,000 for their troubles.

Oh … Did I mention that Thomas was already partially disabled by a stroke before the officers laid into him?

From my old stomping grounds at the New York Daily News:

McCarthy went to investigate, and a shotgun-toting cop promptly wrenched her arm behind her back. She was then handcuffed and thrown to the floor. She has had two surgeries on her shoulder and knee to repair the damage.

Thomas hadn't heard the ruckus and was hobbling to the bathroom when he heard someone shout, "Hey, boy, where are you going?" court papers state.

Thomas was grabbed by his collar and flung to the floor. But an unidentified cop muttered "Oh, s–t!" when he realized the senior citizen was infirm and could not get up, according to Thomas' deposition.

He suffered a broken arm. …

In addition, the couple's pit bull, Trouble, was whacked by a cop with his heavy ballistic shield and died three days later.

This was all because "the officers had a warrant only to collect evidence against the couple's adult grandson, who had been arrested the previous day for having an illicit relationship with a teenage girlfriend."

Three weeks after the raid, the leader of the invading police officers, Lt. Michael Pigott, made headlines again when he ordered the tasering of a man perched on a building ledge. Unsurprisingly, Iman Morales fell to his death. During the subsequent scandal, lawsuits and threatened prosecutions, Pigott committed suicide.

But that was after Pigott and company crashed through the door of the home of McCarthy and Thomas, broke their bones and killed their dog in order to collect evidence in what sounds like a possible "Romeo and Juliet" case, though it's not clear how wide the age range was between the grandson and his girlfriend.

As McCarthy told the Daily News, "They could have just rang the bell, said they had a warrant and come in to take what they were looking for."

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  1. The NYC taxpayers will pay.

    Those responsible will get off scot-free.

    1. OTOH, McCarthy & Thomas will have a nice retirement nest-egg.

      1. 300k isn’t what it used to be.

        1. In NYC it’s the equivalent of a night out drinking with friends. And maybe a slice of pizza after.

      2. 300K for getting your bones broken and your beloved family pet killed? Sounds like they needed a better lawyer.

  2. Pigott committed suicide.

    I love happy endings.

    1. Rationally I know I should feel bad about that, Christian ethics and all. But emotionally I just can’t do it. I had a visceral reaction of “good” before I could catch myself upon reading that.

    2. Pigott committed suicide.
      Pig + Bigot = Pigott?

      Anyway, yes… this was a happy ending.

    3. I do not regard it as a happy ending.

      I have no idea whether the suicide was due to genuine remorse* or the fact that he was going to lose his lovely job of beating up on people, but the fact is that he never had to face his victims or make reparations.

  3. Yesterday my wife said, “You hate cops more than anyone I know.”

    Reading H&R doesn’t help.

    1. Yeah, my relatives don’t exactly like what I’m teaching my daughter about police officers. But it’s the correct thing to be teaching her.

    2. Yesterday my wife said, “You hate cops more than anyone I know.”

      You should introduce her to Sloopy!

      1. I’m just a pup in comparison.

  4. I’m trying to come up with a scenario where it’s okay for cops to beat up old people.

    1. It’s always best to tenderize them before processing. It yields a more pleasurable mouth-feel to the soylent product.

      1. As we all know, texture is just as important as flavor.

    2. There isn’t. The fact that this happened shows that they have trained these goons to totally dehumanize the people they deal with and act completely on instinct and reaction. It is what you do if you want guys to clear a building in combat. You want them to hit this sweet spot of letting the fear and terror give them enough adrenaline to act as they were trained without thinking but not be so powerful they freeze.

      Only someone in that kind of mental state could do the things that happened in this raid.

      The thing to understand about all of this is that it is not that cops hate old people or dogs. It is that police departments have decided to train their officers to react in ways that do not make any distinction between the 80 year old woman and the 25 year old muscle bound criminal wanted for murder. It is all just sweep and clear to them.

      1. I mean, I guess the old people could be immortals with swords or something. Or maybe they’re on PCP. Or zombies.

        I’m having trouble not coming up with an explanation rooted in fiction. How do cops justify these things, anyway?

        1. They don’t justify them. They act like they are trained. If you are trained to do it this way, that is how you do it no justification required.

        2. He was probably on PCP. Broke every bone in his hand and wouldn’t feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar?

          1. +100 for one of the best and most retarded urban myths of all time reference. The “the guy took PCP and he put his hand though the windshield and took seven shotgun blasts to the chest and kept coming” myth is an oldy but a goody.

          2. Bath salts. Makes you go cannibal.

      2. It is what you do if you want guys to clear a building in combat.

        That’s exactly it. They see this as a WAR against CRIME, and everyone is a suspect. It’s like Vietnam: they can’t tell just from looking at us who’s Kong and who’s just a peasant.

        Hell, my uncle is the head of a small-town SWAT team in southern Illinois, and he openly refers to the people in his town as “the peasants”. That shoot-out in LA all those years ago, with the guys in the full body armor, really changed the dynamic. Now every cop I know thinks they’re facing a Legion of Doom of heavily-armed super criminals, and are the only thin reed standing between Order and Chaos.

        And they act in accordance with that mindset.

        1. And remember, that mindset is a huge ego boost. It is pretty cool to think that you are in danger. It is especially cool when you can convince yourself you are in danger without actually facing much or any danger. That is the best of both worlds. You get to feel the self esteem boost of facing death without actually risking getting killed. So you have a bunch of men and some women with pretty mundane jobs who allowed to go out and play soldier on the SWAT team. It is not surprising they would delude themselves into thinking it is a war.

      3. It is all just sweep and clear to them.

        Well maybe it’s time to pay them E-1 and E-2 wages then. Fucking 130K a year to assfuck the municipal treasury due to complete and utter ineptitude! Most of these things seem to involve these morons reading the address incorrectly and terrorizing the wrong people.

        Stupid dickheads!

        1. Less than E-1. At least the E-1s are actually in some danger. I have a hell of a lot more respect for the typical E-1 than I do for the typical cop.

          1. I have a lot more faith in the IFF of a random infantry squad than I do with a random police department.

      4. But why send a SWAT team on routine police business anyway? Was there evidence that his grandparents were actually a gun running ring, like the one Eric Holder led?

      5. “The fact that this happened shows that they have trained these goons to totally dehumanize the people they deal with and act completely on instinct and reaction. It is what you do if you want guys to clear a building in combat.”

        That’s some ignorant bullshit right there. You must get all your knowledge about the military from Vietnam movies. The modern army is far more selective, precise, and professional than cops. It is so bad that when my buddy was in Iraq, he dreaded getting cops under his command because they were too unpredictable and ready to light people up.

        1. The modern army is far more selective, precise, and professional than cops.

          Of course t hey are. I never said the Army wasn’t better trained, more precise and much more professional. What I said was that cops are training themselves to get into a similar mindset.

        2. And a modern Army, unlike cops doesn’t always go to 11. They moderate their violence depending on the situation. Cops only know one way.

  5. Lt. Michael Pigott, made headlines again when he ordered the tasering of a man perched on a building ledge. Unsurprisingly, Iman Morales fell to his death.

    Suicide was too good for this pig. At least he did the right thing finally.

    1. It is interesting that he felt bad enough about the guy dying to commit suicide himself. That tells me that the problem was not so much him being a sociopath, no sociopath would ever feel bad about another person dying, but that the NYPD trained him to totally disregard the safety of anyone who wasn’t a cop.

      Committing suicide in guilt is the kind of thing soldiers who feel guilty about killing people in wars do.

  6. Was watching ‘Airplane Repo’ last night and one of the guys almost got himself killed by the cops. He repo’d a plane, but left the paperwork in the car with his partner. Without the paperwork the cops who were called on him thought he stole it. As he stopped to refuel, the cops swarmed him. Some were shouting “Hands out to your sides!” while others were shouting “Hands behind your back!” He said “So which is it? Behind my back or at my sides?” I’m surprised they didn’t start shooting when he said that.

    1. Another good example of what I am talking about. The guy was in a plane. He wasn’t going anywhere. It is not like you can run from the cops in a plane. Where do you plan to land? And it is very unlikely a guy would want to turn a plane theft wrap into a cop killer wrap. So they were in very little danger stopping him. But they drew their guns and ran up and treated him like he was one of the Boston bombers. Why? Because they are trained to do that every single time. They don’t know any different. And that is really fucking scary.

      1. He wasn’t even in the plane. He was outside, fueling it. Then a half a dozen SUVs rolled up and a couple dozen cops came out. They all had their weapons trained on him and they were all shouting conflicting orders.

        What the heck are you supposed to do when a couple dozen armed thugs are shouting conflicting orders at you and they’re ready to kill you if you don’t obey?

        1. It is absurd. I know cops are stupid, but even a cop isn’t dumb enough to actually think that someone is going to pull out a gun and start shooting when faced with 12 armed goons jumping out of an SUV. They only did it because running up with weapons drawn is how they do it. They only go to 11. It would never occur to them to walk up, show their badges and tell the guy you have reason to believe he stole the plane. To do that would require them having some discretion and doing anything but mindlessly following the SOP.

    2. Clearly a fan of A Fish Called Wanda:

      Archie: Keep your hands up.

      Otto: No!

      Archie: Put ’em up!

      Otto: I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll put one up.

      Archie: Put the other one up!

      Otto: Which looks better?

  7. During the subsequent scandal, lawsuits and threatened prosecutions, Pigott committed suicide.

    I hope this involved repeated botched attempts.

    1. Seppuku should be a requirement for law enforcement officers like this as well as elected officials who destroy civil liberties.

  8. I’m trying to come up with a scenario where it’s okay for cops to beat up old people.

    Failure to Comply.

    duh

    1. Like that big robot in Robocop? “You have ten seconds to comply.”

  9. It is interesting that he felt bad enough about the guy dying to commit suicide himself.

    I call bullshit. More probably, he feared he was looking at real jail time, and was too much of a coward to face the thought of not being Head Baboon in Charge.

    1. Maybe. But since when did a cop face real jail time for anything other than straight up murder? I can’t see a cop going to jail for “I fucked up and thought tazering him was the way to get him off the ledge”. Never happen.

      1. It’s not like cops are all that bright. He might have been brainwashed by the dunphy fallacy that there is a double standard for charging cops, but it is weighted against the police.

        1. “the dunphy fallacy”

          Excellent.

      2. To be fair, tazing him did get him off the ledge.

    2. I agree, Brooks. I think he was just distraught at the fact that at the very least he was going to lose his status as a vaunted paragon of justice and couldn’t face that reality.

  10. And why are we sending SWAT teams to serve a search warrant?

    1. Because fuck you..that’s why!

    2. Seriously. Doesn’t the NYPD just send Brisco and Green over to knock on the door, present the warrant, then look around? That’s what I thought.

    3. At first weren’t they only used for possible hostage situations like bank robberies?

      1. Special Weapons And Tactics, right? But these pigs were just delivering some court paperwork. I wonder if process servers deliver their summons in armed groups as well?

        1. I wonder if process servers deliver their summons in armed groups as well?

          Don’t give them ideas. Seriously though, I think a lot of the SWAT mission creep has to do with trying to justify their budget. IOW, why spend all that money on SWAT teams if you never get to use them? Actual no shit hostage situations, raids on real, big time drug dealers (as opposed to petty street dealers), shootouts with heavily armed bank robbers, etc. are extremely rare afterall.

  11. What the fuck?

    They beat up an old couple?

    Fucking pigs. Big, tough guys…when they have guns.

    Fuck.

  12. “They could have just rang the bell”

    What fun is that? Are they supposed to tell all their buddies about how they spent the day ringing doorbells, collecting evidence, and taking people in for questioning without incident? Boooring.

    1. It is really sick. Most of this is due to incompetence, laziness and inertia. No one ever looked at the warrant. They just forwarded it to the SWAT team because that is how they serve warrants. And the SWAT team took it and went in and terrorized the people on the other end because that is how they do it. Every warrant is served the same whether it is against an elderly couple whose grandson is in jail or it is on the home of mob hitman.

      I think that is partially the result of our obsession with fairness and profiling. Originally we had a system where someone looked at the warrant and figured out best how to serve it. But that resulted in nice old people living in the village having the warrant served in a polite manner and minorities disproportionately being served in violent manner. So the solution was to treat every warrant the same and subject every person to the same treatment we used to reserve for minorities. Basically, cops are no longer racist. They treat everyone like they used to treat black people.

  13. OTOH, McCarthy & Thomas will have a nice retirement nest-egg.

    They can put it in the bank and like on the $3k per annum interest.

  14. like live

  15. Of course there were nationwide demonstrations against this totally inappropriate use of SWAT. No???

  16. Out of curiosity, how old are the grandson and his girlfriend? Is this like a 20 year old and a 16 year old or a 30 year old and a 13 year old? Not that the police would be any more justified in their actions here, obviously.

    1. Since 16 is the age of consent in New York, I’d have to guess 15 or younger on the girl for any police action. Noe idea what his age would be.

  17. Lt. Michael Pigott, made headlines again when he ordered the tasering of a man perched on a building ledge. Unsurprisingly, Iman Morales fell to his death. During the subsequent scandal, lawsuits and threatened prosecutions, Pigott committed suicide.

    At least the story has a somewhat happy ending.

    What do you suppose the odds are that the teenage girlfriend in the story is the daughter of a cop?

  18. The stupidity it burns

    “MarcDonato5 hours ago
    The Community Safety Act??
    legislation to protect people from who – the COPS?? Question: is it the POLICE who have turned once-good neighborhoods into crime-ridden war zones???
    Just watch: The effects of this law will be HIGHER CRIME as cops will be so wary to do their jobs for fear of suspension.termination.jail time, etc. Crime is going to SPIKE and the people who will suffer are those who a) live in the high crime areas and b) vilify – yet need – the police the most.
    *
    Should be fun to watch as crime goes back to the pre-Giuliani days!”

  19. During the subsequent scandal, lawsuits and threatened prosecutions, Pigott committed suicide.

    Good, finally someone takes responsibility for their actions.

    1. “I’m sorry for the mess!!” Lt. Michael Pigott scrawled on a desperate day in October 2008. “I was trying to protect my guys that day!”

      “Protect his guys” from an unarmed mentally ill man on a ledge. Kay…

  20. once-good neighborhoods into crime-ridden war zones???

    Can I just say again how much it pisses me off when someone uses this phrase regarding an American city?

  21. As McCarthy told the Daily News, “They could have just rang the bell, said they had a warrant and come in to take what they were looking for.”

    Ha! Yeah.

    OH wait, they were serious? Oh no, cops don’t ‘ring the bell’… that only happens on TV.

    By the way, it occurs to me that paying settlements while keeping the officers in good standing is a major part of the problem. The settlements just become part of the cost of business.

    Lt: We need to do a couple of swat raids this month?

    Chief: Kay… how much we got in the settlement account?

    Lt: ‘Bout a mil.

    Chief: That’ll cover two to three SWAT raids. Go to it.

  22. More Reasonoid Anti-Cop bigotry. For shame.

    /Dunphy

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