Flatbush Councilman Jumaane Williams are right to grouse about the degrading and detainment at the West Indian Day Parade last week, but he and pal Kirsten John Foy — an aide to Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio — are wrong if they think that the hasty cuffings happened just because they are black.
Rank-and-file officers can be all-too-quick to ignore NYPD’s “Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect” policy, according to one victim whose brush with the law quickly dwindled into an ordeal from hell.
“John,” a Brooklyn resident who didn’t want his real name used, describes himself as “whiter than a ghost,” but he says that didn’t stop a cop from disrespecting him beyond the call of duty — or calling him “[expletive] disgusting and worse” — as he and two work mates tried to dodge the rain on their meal break by seeking shelter under a train trestle last year.
John, who works a night shift, says that no sooner had he closed his umbrella than a speeding cop car manned by a single officer screeched to a halt at the moonlit curb.
“I thought he stopped because of the homeless man sleeping on the other end,” states the mild-mannered husband, grandfather and veteran working stiff with a clean record and more than four decades on the job, whose experience with NYPD’s “Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect” policy has left him boiling blue.
“He summoned me over with his finger without getting out of the car, and started calling me ‘[expletive] disgusting,’ and accusing me of urinating in public,” says John. “He kept on repeating, ‘You’re [expletive] disgusting,’ I was astounded, especially as I wasn’t guilty as charged, and plus who would urinate two blocks away from where they had worked for the last 43 years?”
John says the “agitated” cop wasn’t interested in an explanation or even a cursory investigation.
“He didn’t get out of his car to inspect the area, which was bone dry, but he kept on yelling at me, and talking over me, and spewing filth at me in front of my friends, I was mortified.”
The man contends that the officer shrugged off his co-workers when they tried to intervene on his behalf and slapped him with a summons while ignoring the homeless man sprawled in full view.
John adds that before speeding away, the cop reiterated the court date on the summons and sneered at him, “You come and see me.”
The incident left the hardened New Yorkers so shell-shocked that all three of them went to the officer’s station house after work to see the commanding officer.
“One of my friends lives in northern Jersey and it usually takes him two-and-a-half hours to get home, but he was so outraged that he insisted on coming with me,” states John, whose three-month “nightmare” for self-justice included filing a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board and writing a letter to One Police Plaza which inquired, “Dear Commissioner Kelly, how would you like to be falsely accused of urinating in public?”
John plead not guilty in court and the summons was dismissed at trial when the officer failed to show. Still, he contends, the docked pay, the time off work and the reckless injustice didn’t bother him as much as the shocking realization that if a rank-and-file cop could react so aggressively without cause, how would he react under some real pressure.
Councilman Williams should have focused upon this simple lack of Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect by the police when complaining about how he was treated — and not the color of his skin.