They call themselves New York’s finest and their mission is to enhance the quality of life in the city by working in partnership with the community in accordance with constitutional rights to enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide for a safe environment.
However, with hours of NYPD-brutality videos on YouTube it begs the question: Are the men and women in blue who swore an oath to protect and serve and to uphold The Constitution really there to help?
There are obviously cases where an appropriate amount of violence is necessary to bring down a criminal suspect, but one can’t help but feel for those who are tasered for no apparent reason other than the officer being insecure about how to handle the situation.
Often in videos of police officers stepping far and beyond their job descriptions, they hurl profanities at the people who are filming them, and even threatening them with arrests if they don’t put their cameras away. Filming police in action is not a crime and a lot of citizens believe it’s the only way for them to feel safe in case something goes wrong and they end up in court.
On September 14, 2013, an emotionally disturbed man walked up to a couple of officers outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal and pointed his fingers at them like a gun. The two officers responded by pulling their weapons and firing three times at him. All shots missed but struck and injured two female bystanders.
Three Bronx siblings aged 13, 14, and 15, were roughed up and handcuffed on August 26, 2013, inside their neighborhood park after police told them to leave the park because it was closed. The officers followed the trio out of the park and then things escalated out of control.
The youngest two said police ripped off their hijabs, a Muslim headscarf, and forced them down on the ground. Shytike Wilson tried to defend his younger sisters but swiftly received similar treatment. Jonathan Harris, 18, witnessed the incident and pulled out his phone to document it.
This prompted the cops to chase him down, mace him, tackle him to the ground and punch him in his eye. According to Harris, the arresting officer screamed for his phone and threatened to break his arm.
The police have counterclaimed the incident and say two of their officers ended up in hospital with scrapes, bruises and sprains. NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is currently investigating what happened.
These are just two recent examples of cops allegedly crossing the line. In 2012 there were more than 14,500 complaints raised against the NYPD by civilians, compared to almost 16,100 the year before, according to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Police brutality may be declining, but with almost 40 complaints per day it’s still very high.