Lying Media Bastards

April 14, 2005

Things the NYPD Taught Me

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Very instructive article about the police, or at least about the police in NYC.

The article begins by talking about Dennis Kyne, allegedly the first protester arrested outside the last year’s Republican National Convention. The article then quotes Kyne’s arresting officer Matthew Wohl, who said “We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed. I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own.”

The article then tells us than independent video footage of Kyne’s arrest shows that he was not carried by police, was not screaming and was not kicking. Also, Wohl is not in the footage at all. In fact, video footage shows Wohl was absent at at least five arrests that he claimed to be a part of.

I’m no lawyer, but that seems like that should be five counts of perjury or false witness or something.

Next, the article tells us about Alexander Dunlop, a non-protester who was arrested, a guy who was out geting sushi when thoughtless cops went on a spree. After his case went to trial, Dunlop learned that the video footage that the prosecutors were going to use against him was missing two scenes that would undercut their case. In one of the worst excuses ever, the prosecution said that “a technician had cut the material by mistake.” That’s really only about one step above “my dog ate it.”

Then we get some fun figures:

- Cops arrested 1806 people at the protests.
- 1670 of the arrests have been resolved one way or another
- 91% of those 1670 were found innocent, although no investigation is taking place to find out why the police arrested so many innocent people.
- 400 people arrested at the protests were exonerated by amateur video footage of the protests and arrests.

Throughout the convention week and afterward, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that the police issued clear warnings about blocking streets or sidewalks, and that officers moved to arrest only those who defied them. In the view of many activists - and of many people who maintain that they were passers-by and were swept into dragnets indiscriminately thrown over large groups - the police strategy appeared to be designed to sweep them off the streets on technical grounds as a show of force…

In the bulk of the 400 cases that were dismissed based on videotapes, most involved arrests at three places - 16th Street near Union Square, 17th Street near Union Square and on Fulton Street… Those tapes showed that the demonstrators had followed the instructions of senior officers to walk down those streets, only to have another official order their arrests.

So what do we learn from all this?

- Cops arrest protesters to disrupt the protests, with no real concern as to whether or not protesters are breaking the law.
- Cops will lie to get people convicted.
- Unless we see an investigation and punishment of Officer Wohl, we see that there are no negative consequences for a cop lying to get innocent people convicted.
- Prosecutors will tamper with evidence to get people convicted.
- NYC prosecutors really need to brush up on their excuse-making skills.

It’s a cycle. A big protest is planned and the city officials start weaving grim predictions about foreign agitators and streets of chaos. They bulk up the police presence, and then perform mass arrests to take protesters off the streets and scare the rest. The media breathlessly cover these arrests, and choose to interpret them as proof positive of the initial scaremongering predictions. Then, months and months later, after the story is irrelevant and half-forgotten, the arrestees face the courts and are found innocent of any wrongdoing.

Makes you wonder how many innocent people we’ve got in American prisons…

Posted by Jake on April 14, 2005 11:02 pm

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