Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lying NYPD cops

Via The Agitator, here's video from a Critical Mass event in New York City which compares what actually happened on the scene from multiple angles to what police officers wrote in their reports. I have no sympathy for people who violate traffic laws like running red lights (which happens near the beginning of the video) or behaving like five-year-olds (which happens near the end), but this video also shows people who are supposed to be public servants violating people's rights and lying to make arrests on false pretenses. Officers like Sgt. Timothy Horohoe need to be not just fired, but criminally prosecuted.

The video asserts that Joyce Lin (the aforementioned person acting like a five-year-old) was within her rights to not produce identification and walk away, but this may not be true depending on New York law. Nevada has a law that requires suspects to identify themselves in certain conditions, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada (542 U.S. 177, 2004). If New York has a similar law, Lin was required to identify herself.

UPDATE (December 17, 2008): A Critical Mass bicyclist knocked from his bike by an NYPD cop in a similar incident in July, caught on video and viewed over 1.8 million times on YouTube has been cleared, and the cop indicted, stripped of his badge and gun, and assigned to desk duty. The NYPD officer in that case was Patrick Pogan. Sometimes flagrant police abuses do get punished, but it's a pity they often have to be caught on video and seen widely for that to happen.


Winnie said...

New York appears to work differently:

"Under New York law, an individual is seized if the police action results in a "‘significant interruption [of the] individual's liberty of movement’" (People v Bora, 83 NY2d 531, 534 [1994] quoting People v De Bour, 40 NY2d 210, 216 ). Not all encounters with the police amount to seizures. In People v De Bour, the Court of Appeals set out a four-tiered method for evaluating the propriety of encounters initiated by police officers in their criminal law enforcement capacity. The first level is referred to as a request for information and that request must be supported by an objective, credible reason, not necessarily indicative of criminality."

Jim Lippard said...

Might not the mere fact that Critical Mass bicyclists had been running red lights be such an objective, credible reason? At which point fleeing from the officer without comment might constitute grounds for seizure?