New York City’s law enforcement officers have lying in court and viciously beating innocent persons and kept their jobs.
That’s been the rumor in some of the city’s neighborhoods for decades. Now, it’s no longer a rumor as files leaked from the NYPD show hundreds of officers committing terrible acts, lying to grand juries and stealing from civilians all while keeping their job and holding criminal-esque power over city residents.
Buzzfeed received the documents from an anonymous source in February 2018. Fact-checking the reports involved making over 100 phone calls, talking to prosecutors, cross-checking court records and, in a few instances, visiting cops at home.
Over 50 employees lied on official reports or under oath according to the documents. Another 38 were found guilty of excessive force as determined by an internal police tribunal.
57 were found guilty of DUIs, and more than 70 were charged with ‘ticket-fixing’ as favors for friends and family. One cop even threatened to murder someone, and 24 were assigned to work in schools where they inappropriately touched students or sold drugs.
According to the documents, Buzzfeed found that one cop, Raymond Marrero, beat a man with his department-issued baton based on the victim’s alleged insult. The man ended up in the hospital, his wounds closed with 12 staples. Marrero also arrested, falsely, another victim, assaulted another man and fabricated evidence against still another. Through it all, the cop kept his $120,000 annual salary but did have to forfeit 45 vacation days.
Every cop in the files, who faced disciplinary hearings, kept their jobs. They were assigned “dismissal probations,’ which made them ineligible for promotion. The probation period, during which promotions were frozen, averaged one year.
“Personnel records” was the excused used by the department to keep the documents out of the public’s hands. New York is one of three states allowing police departments to hide the nefarious actions of cops. Delaware and California are the other two.
“The department is not interesting in firing individuals who don’t need to be terminated,” Kevin Richardson, deputy commissioner of the department told Buzzfeed. “However, when there is failing we realize the individual should be separated from the department.”
Porter, now a dryer vent technician, left the NYPD five years ago. The 19-year veteran was one of the few who spoke with Buzzfeed. He also provided a copy of his disciplinary record.
Five years into his career, Porter joined other officers in a lawsuit accusing the department of discriminatory discipline criteria and standards. Later, Porter said, supervisors began writing him up for even the smallest infractions; ones they ignored for other officers.
Kelly decided Marrero should have a second chance and signed off on the punishment: dismissal probation.
In May 2012, Porter was called to the trial room at One Police Plaza.
As many of Porter’s charges were minor, Robert Vinal, the trial commissioner claimed Porter had been discourteous to a supervisor and had been lax in investigating one case. Vinal recommended one-year probation — Porter’s partner, in that case, got just a reprimand.
Porter appealed to then-Commissioner Kelly who ruled dismissal probation was not sufficient. Kelly decided Porter was not fit to be a copy and was terminated just one year shy of being able to retire. That decision cast Porter over $10,000.