New York Daily News

October 3, 2014


 

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton declares war on dirty cops, says he will rid NYPD of those who are 'poisoning the well'

 

Backing up his words with a disturbing video montage of police officers mistreating members of the public, Bratton said they have to face facts.

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA , TINA MOORE , CORKY SIEMASZKO

Police commissioner Bill Bratton has declared war on dirty cops.

The city’s top cop challenged the department to take a hard look at itself Thursday and weed out officers who are “poisoning the well.”

“My intention going forward is to ensure that we will aggressively seek to get those out of the department who should not be here — the brutal, the corrupt, the racist, the incompetent,” Bratton said in a tough talk to police brass.

Backing up his words with a disturbing video montage of police officers mistreating members of the public, Bratton said they have to face facts.

“The reality is at this moment that there’s some in the organization who shouldn’t be here — not the right fit for the NYPD of 2014,” Bratton said. “There are a few, a very few, in a very large organization who just don’t get it.”

The video montage, titled “What Would You Do?” showed clips of cops caught on tape kicking, punching and otherwise mistreating people who do not appear to be fighting back.

Put together by Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick’s office last month, it has already been shown to trainees and other officers. The footage comes from the news media, witnesses, lawyers and the Internal Affairs Bureau.

It includes:

  • Startling footage from Sept. 14 of a cop caught kicking 22-year-old fruit vendor Jonathan Daza in the behind at a street fair in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, after other officers had already subdued and cuffed the man.

  • Daza said he was attacked by cops “for no reason” after he spoke up as officers were grilling his teenage sister. Officer Vincent Ciardiello has since been suspended.

  • Footage of an officer in a clash with a five-months pregnant Sandra Amezquita last month. Officer Joseph Degan was placed on modified duty for pushing a different woman in the same video.

  • Video of Bronx cops Jose Ocasio and Joseph Murphy punching and kicking 17-year-old Tyre Davis three years ago in an alley outside the 46th Precinct. Both cops were convicted last month of attempted assault.

  • -And there was the infamous “shove seen ’round the Internet” of rookie cop Patrick Pogan pushing a man off his bicycle at a July 2008 Critical Mass rally in Times Square.

Pogan was on his 11th day on the job when he body-slammed Christopher Long. He resigned from the NYPD. And while prosecutors sought four years of prison, a judge let Pogan off.

Bratton said there is no room in the department for any officer “who’s so callous, so brutal, so corrupt that they feel comfortable engaging in those acts of brutality, acts of corruption without fear.”

The city’s top cop did not mention New York’s most controversial case of alleged police brutality that was caught on camera — the July 17 killing of 43-year-old Eric Garner by a Staten Island cop using a chokehold. The video sparked charges of racism and calls for a federal probe.

And the Garner video was the first in a recent chain of recorded incidents that shed light on alleged police abuse.

Reznick, speaking at the conference for 800 NYPD leaders — from the rank of captain and above — said a change in attitude among cops can not only improve community relations, it could also help the city’s bottom line.

“Just about everything we do is captured on video,” he said. “If a picture’s worth a thousand words, I can’t imagine how much a video could be worth, especially when it is used against us in a lawsuit.”

Bratton called the “All In” executive meeting to give leadership a preview of changes that will be made as part of his departmental reorganization. One of the key points of his address to the NYPD leaders was the growing lack of trust of police by certain communities and ongoing reports of bad behavior by some cops.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, did not specifically address Bratton’s assertion that the NYPD had to get rid of “the brutal, the corrupt, the racist (and) the incompetent” cops on the forces.

But Lynch did warn that allegations against cops are merely claims until proven in court. He said “police officers are entitled, like anyone else, to due process.”

“It is our job to ensure that every officer who is accused has the same opportunity to defend him or herself as any other American,” he said in a statement. “We have defended police officers from rush to judgments in the past, we are defending them today and we will continue to defend them long into the future.”

Bratton made his remarks at the city’s new $800 million police academy in College Point, Queens, which will open next year.

tmoore@nydailynews.com