Summary: Hundreds of recently unearthed NYPD case files showed the department kept officers who committed serious offenses.
On Monday, Buzzfeed News revealed that the New York Police Department had kept employees on who had committed egregious offenses such as stealing from residents or beating up civilians. The publication said that these secret files covered at least 319 NYPD staff members who worked there from 2011 to 2015.
Buzzfeed said that some officers had light offenses like mouthing off to a supervisor, but many others committed acts that if they were civilians they’d be arrested.
“Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. At least fifty employees lied on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation. Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. Another, Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched a fellow officer,” Buzzfeed News wrote.
The publication exclusively obtained the secret files, and it stated that in every occurrence, the police commissioner gave these officers a penalty with few practical consequences. Those who were written up got to keep their job with the same salary, and at worst, were given probation for a year.
Buzzfeed News stated that these records were kept secret and that these officers posed a threat to the public. For instance, if you were arrested by someone with a record of lying, how could you trust them to testify honestly in court?
The NYPD deputy commissioner of the Department Advocate’s Office, Kevin Richardson, told Buzzfeed News that the department’s main type of punishment, dismissal probation, had a purpose.
“The department is not interested in terminating officers that don’t need to be terminated. We’re interested in keeping employees and making our employees obey the rules and do the right thing,” Richardson said. “But where there are failings that we realize this person should be separated from the department, this police commissioner and the prior police commissioner have shown a willingness to do that.”
Buzzfeed News stated that they obtained the records anonymously and independently verified that they were real. They stated in the next coming months they would publish an easy-to-read database about NYPD officers and staff who received some sort of disciplinary action.