Friday, June 09, 2006

The NYPD's mission: to subjugate and harass

"To subjugate and harass" as opposed to "To protect and serve." I expect the following will offend some of you. "Law and order" is great, but as with all things, at what cost? What price are you willing to pay to have it? I was not at all raised with a negative attitude toward police, but having encountered two corrupt sheriff's deputies several years ago, and after realizing how the NYPD works, I've really come to distrust and even hate so-called "law enforcement." In fact, my natural skepticism and cynicism of any authority is largely responsible for my libertarian leanings. There's even a religious component: one thing I enjoy about being a Protestant is that I reject the concept of a priestly hierarchy.

As my friend Charlie reminds me from time to time, courts have ruled that police do not have a duty to protect the public, only to apprehend suspects. Considering that there really never is a cop around when you need one, and that the NYPD loves to go after the most non-criminal "criminals," you're better off packing your own heat to protect yourself. Then add the additional problem of police not just enforcing the law, but "keeping people in line."

The northwest corner of 43rd and Vanderbilt is a popular drop-off point for Grand Central Terminal (across the street from the west exit). That makes it a popular spot to get a cab, since cabbies can easily get a new fare. Let me emphasize from the beginning that we've always waited there for cabs, and I personally have never seen nor heard of a problem with that spot. Except, of course, for newcomer jerks who walk up Vanderbilt to flag down a cab, which is cutting in front of those already waiting.

Yesterday morning, for the first time I've ever seen, two pigs have been stopping cabbies at that intersection. I couldn't hear what one was saying, but he was holding a ticket pad, and the cabbie was forking over documents (probably registration, medallion info, etc.). I asked the other uniform what they were doing, and he replied that because of the stop sign, there's no standing allowed at the corner, and that we have to get cabs around the corner.

Now wait a minute. Standing? If a cabbie is actually standing, then he's not making money. I started to say that we've always gotten cabs at that corner, and I would have pointed out the ludicrous notion of a standing cab, not to mention that there are no signs against passenger pick-up. However, the pig cut me off and repeated, "Go around the corner," just like his Gestapo predecessors. In other words, a cab must come south on Vanderbilt and drop people off, turn right onto 43rd, and then pick up new passengers. Why must they make it inconvenient, forbidding new passengers to get a cab right where passengers are getting off?

Update: when walking back Friday night, I noted that there is a "No stopping any time <--->" sign at the corner of 43rd and Vanderbilt. Of course, it directly contradicts the stop sign. Or would the city like to redefine "Stop" as "Pause"? I don't recall having seen the "No stopping" sign before, but I do face the other way when hailing cabs. If it is new, then depending on its age, it's morally wrong for police to give out tickets so soon when, as I've said, people have always flagged down cabs at that spot.

Part of me wanted to really confront him, but this is the NYPD we're talking about. I really didn't want to risk them arresting me on some stupid charge ("He looked like a terrorist" or "He threatened us"), or even planting shit on me. And since we citizenry are disarmed, we have no effective means to defend ourselves against this jack-booted arm of government. What good will vindication in criminal court do me, what good will come from victory in my civil lawsuit against the city, when I'll have spent a nightmarish 24 hours in central booking among the worst of the worst? And that fear of the very people hired by government to protect us, of the consequences for merely invoking our God-given right to question our government, is wrong. Brethren, these things ought not to be.

Am I imagining too much, or am I in fact drawing upon actual events? Remember Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo? Those are just prominent examples; so much more happens, and ever so quietly, that you don't realize what these thugs do on a regular basis. Look at the extremes the NYPD goes to when chasing down cyclists: just who are the "armed and dangerous" criminals now? A co-worker at my previous job told me that when he was outside a downtown bar one night, he saw two NYPD stop and practically rough up a guy on the street, without a warrant, accusing him of carrying marijuana. It didn't matter that the guy wasn't carrying any: the NYPD considers their word, and indeed their mere suspicion, to be the ultimate law and hence justification for anything they do. Many victims don't know that they can contact the ACLU and NYCLU for help with a lawsuit, which wouldn't necessarily be for damages, but an injunction against NYPD thuggery. And even when such suits are filed, the ACLU and NYCLU have already prejudiced the public with their overzealously liberal agenda.

Once upon a time, I always quickly dismissed stories of police brutality and harassment: "They deserved it anyway." The situation complete changes once it happens to you, a peaceful, law-abiding citizen on the commute to work. Now I'm starting to understand what Ice-T and Body Count were singing about. Just like in Nazi Germany "when they first came for the Jews," often a people might think a government body has become too strong and too corrupt, but it's not a sufficient matter to be worth fighting over. We'd rather ignore that it happens to others, living our lives quiety, until it happens directly to us.

I was checking the NYPD's website, and I see they have a summer youth police academy. Evidently they want to start recruiting thugs from an early age.



Blogger Mike said...

"I expect the following will offend some of you."

Heh, understatement of the evening.

While I don't totally agree with you, I also can't fully comment because I haven't experienced the NYPD. I imagine that a lot of this is dependent on the local force. For example, as I've blogged about previously, there is one police force around Omaha that seems to be the equivalent of the NYPD. Full blown searches during routine traffic stops for no apparent reason, demands for information completely irrelevant to enforcing the law, and a general attitude of arrogance. However, several of the other police forces largely appear to still remember their primary mission.

All that said, it appears that you've got a severe "who will watch the watchers" problem in NYC.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 4:55:00 AM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

And I'd bet it's a well-armed citizenry that's keeping them in line. I would like to see a study examining the relation between gun control laws and police forces with a reputation for brutality/harassment.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 8:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Hm, well-armed citizenry to a point; there are a lot of hunters in urban areas of Nebraska, probably considerably above the national average for urban areas, but Nebraska just finally passed a concealed carry law a few months ago. Probably more likely the fact that Nebraskans, for all our "conservative Midwestern values" still have a strong independent/libertarian streak, so if police forces really get out of hand (like they seem to have done in NYC), we would do something about it. And I think the abusive police force has recognized that, because I'm pretty sure they've mainly been abusing teenagers, the easiest group to abuse (in our area anyway.)

As for that study, I'd definitely like to see it as well. I would be willing to bet there's some kind of correlation.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 8:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but having encountered two corrupt sheriff's deputies several years ago"
These people have nothing to do with the NYPD. Sheriff's in NYC only get involved in civil matters and scff law violations.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 4:04:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

Anonymous, no shit. I was referring to deputies elsewhere. To be specific, out west.

Thanks for playing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 8:03:00 PM  

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