Cops Like Frascatore Are Exactly What The NYPD Wants
Sept. 24, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio met with former tennis star turned police reformer James Blake and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. The stated point of this meeting was to give James Blake a chance to speak face-to-face with the two most powerful political figures in New York City about his now infamous run-in with Officer James Frascatore. The true reason for this meeting has become all too clear. De Blasio and Bratton again wanted to make it appear as if they give a damn about changing the flagrant and constant abuses of the NYPD.
After the meeting, De Blasio told CNN why James Frascatore had, without any legitimate reason, tackled James Blake to the ground and manhandled him.
“This particular unit had not yet been trained. I think about 20,000 [of the NYPD’s 36,000 cops] have been trained. But everyone will be ultimately.”
To those, like myself, who have been critical of the barren wasteland that is NYPD accountability, here is our answer. “Sorry about your rights, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
So what will this “training program” entail? The Mayor explains:
“But let me tell you, this will make a world of difference to help the officers understand how to do their job effectively but use the least force in each situation. That’s something that professional training allows for, veteran officers who know how to show others the best way to do it. That’s where we’re moving.”
Basically, we all need to cut Officer Frascatore some slack. How could he have known that an unprovoked attack on the wrong suspect of a non-violent crime was not only illegal, but completely unnecessary? Frascatore, and the 44% of other cops policing our streets, have apparently not been told that roughing innocent people up for no good (or legal) reason is against the rules. This training sounds really, really important. Maybe they should move it ahead of training their officers that touching a hot stove will give them an ouchee.
These are not some obscure concepts we are talking about. These are the basic tenets of the 4th Amendment. If the government does not have a legal reason, they are supposed to keep their damn hands off of us. And if they do have a proper basis to detain someone, they should only resort to violence if absolutely necessary.
But allow us to assume for a moment that this “training” is an actual thing and not just a fiction to get the NYPD through this particular news cycle. The only detail of this supposed program, having veterans training the violent tendencies out of the young ruffian cops, is a terrible idea.
Who better to shed light on the proper way to treat civilians than the guys who cut their teeth splitting black and Hispanic heads during the heyday of the crack epidemic? If these paragons of police/community harmony are unavailable, maybe Bratton or his predecessor Ray Kelly could personally tell the younger officers about the NYPD’s still-running stop and frisk policy. Even though stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional, it is still a common tactic of the NYPD. No judge is going to tell cops how to do their job. Just ask Pat Lynch (I do not advise ever speaking to this man).
This dog and pony show from De Blasio and Bratton is a farce. There is one simple thing these leaders could have done to assure New Yorkers that our concerns matter. They could have fired James Frascatore. If not for the tackle, then for his failure to report the incident to his superiors. If not for either of those, he should be fired for compiling a record of abuse complaints so drastic, that he was featured in a WNYC story last year about police misconduct. Remember, ignorance of the law is no defense.
Part of this abusive culture exists because of those veterans that De Blasio foolishly sees as the path to a kindler, gentler department. But another major part is the NYPD Police Academy. Much like those Army and Marine commercials on television, a brief sampling of the Police Academy web page shows pictures of cadets in riot gear and hazmat suits. It shows cadets lifting weights and shooting firearms. Some guy is even learning how to press a person’s face firmly into the floor. The NYPD Police Academy is designed to entice guys like Frascatore. The training programs are designed to turn cadets into Frascatore.
The Police Academy spends 13 days on Basic and Tactical Firearms Classes. During these sessions, the officers are taught how to use a firearm, Taser, pepper spray, and a variety of other weaponry. It would be interesting to find out how many days are spent teaching 4th Amendment rules against illegal search and seizure. The Police Academy webpage mentions nothing about such training.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with cops being trained in the proper use of firearms. In fact, I am all for it. The issue that I and so many other New Yorkers should have is that when the NYPD is training their cadets, they should spend a little less time teaching them how to be warriors and a little more time teaching them how to be law enforcement officers and public servants.
Since the NYPD has shown no willingness to change its ways, we must look to our elected representatives. Although the Mayor has fully thrown his lot in with the NYPD, City Councilors Dan Garadnick and Jumaane Williams recently proposed creating a monitoring system to identify problem officers, with a “penalty” of “enhanced training” for those officers. Who will run this monitoring system and determine the training? You guessed it.
We will leave it to the police department to determine whether somebody should actually get additional training or monitoring. We wouldn’t put forward what punishments might be. That’s something that is well within their expertise to deal with.
Correct. It is well within their expertise. But again, it is not a matter of knowledge, it is a matter of willingness. The police do not respect the rules because they do not respect the people those rules intend to protect. If only there was a training program that could teach our elected leaders how to stand up to the NYPD.
Sadly, we all know what will happen to James Frascatore. Nothing. He will continue to pull down a taxpayer-funded paycheck while proving himself to be a liability and danger to the community he is supposed to serve.
Unfortunately, the real reason that Frascatore will not be fired is because he is exactly the kind of cop that the NYPD wants. Even though the crime epidemic left New York City almost a quarter century ago, the police have simply taken their war from Times Square to the poor and minority communities of our city. While cops will park in the bus lanes of the Upper East Side or Brooklyn Heights, they will gladly park a boot in your ass in Brownsville, Jamaica and Inwood.