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Queens Judge Experiences Police Brutality, Tells the Times


06.06.12 Allison Burtch

A Queens judge experienced what far too many New Yorkers know already – that the NYPD can and will beat the shit out of you on a whim. But this time, the NYPD beat up the wrong person. The NYTimes reported that New York State Supreme Court justice Tomas Raffaele was walking in Queens with a friend when he saw two NYPD offers standing over a shirtless, handcuffed man lying on the sidewalk.

The crowd was getting unruly, so he called 911 to get more help for the officers. But one of the officers turned on him, and delivered a “sharp blow to the judge’s throat that was like what he learned when he was trained in hand-to-hand combat in the Army.”

The judge asked for the commanding officer in order to file a complaint, but:

The sergeant, he said, stepped away and spoke briefly with some other officers – several of whom the judge said had witnessed their colleague strike him – and returned to tell the judge that none of them knew whom he was talking about. As the sergeant spoke to the other officers, the judge said, the officer who hit him was walking away.

The sad thing is that this is what many New Yorkers feel all the time – a complete inability to hold the police accountable for the violence they do to our communities.

“I’ve always had profound respect for what they do,” said Justice Raffaele said to the Times. “And this I thought was very destructive.”

Destructive indeed. When we look at stop-and-frisk statistics, we see that such violations of rights and privacy have increased from less than 100,000 stopped in 2002 to 685,724 people stopped in 2011. Bloomberg and Kelly tout this as their way to decrease violence, yet the same number of people continue to get shot – 1,821 in 2002 and 1,892 in 2011.

The only thing decreasing is our trust in the police.