How Not To Apologize: Detective Pat Cherry Of The NYPD's Joint Terrorism Task Force Edition

from the guys-this-totally-isn't-my-fault dept

Undercover cop (and former member of the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force) Patrick Cherry couldn’t handle a civilian being uppity. So, he ranted and raved at an Uber driver, who had the temerity to suggest Detective Cherry signal his intention to park his vehicle (via a nonoffensive hand gesture), peppering his unrehearsed speech with obscenities and racial slurs.

Patrick Cherry may have been an elite detective (Commissioner Bill Bratton stripped him of his badge, gun and task force position after the incident), but he failed to arrive at one very obvious conclusion before he started slinging slurs and swear words: almost everyone carries a cellphone and almost every cellphone contains a camera. The entire incident was recorded by a passenger.

With this undeniable evidence that Detective Cherry is willing to abuse his position to threaten other drivers for questioning his driving skills/actions, the NYPD (and Cherry himself) had no option but to address it. As mentioned above, Commissioner Bratton kicked Cherry of the joint task force.

Of course, the detective’s union boss felt compelled to blast Bratton for this “unprecedented punishment” in response to a “verbal discourtesy,” perhaps inadvertently signalling that any punishment of NYPD detectives is “unprecedented.” For reasons that only make sense to Detectives Endowment Association head Michael Palladino, he chose to compare this incident favorably to recent, high-profile officer-involved deaths.

“This is neither Ferguson nor Staten Island, but it is receiving equal attention.”

Again, perhaps inadvertently signalling that any negative attention paid to his union’s members is too much attention.

Commissioner Bratton fired back by stating the obvious.

“No good cop can watch that without a wince,” Bratton said when he announced Cherry’s punishment. “That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears that uniform.”

The supposed state-of-emergency level of attention also forced Patrick Cherry to offer an apology for his behavior. But his “apology” deserves every scare quote appended to it.

“I apologize. I sincerely apologize,” he said. “People shouldn’t be treated that way. I let my emotions get the better of me and I was angry. My intention was to be courteous and then we got into an argument. There was no intention to berate or hurt deeply the driver.”

It may not have been Cherry’s “intention” to “berate or hurt deeply” the person on the other end of his rant, but that’s what actually happened. Cherry may not always be angry and unhinged, but the video shows how little it takes to set him off. And if the video hadn’t existed, Cherry would still be a badge-carrying member of an elite task force — free to berate and hurt other citizens until outed on YouTube.

But then Cherry went on to blame his victim — and for the lousiest reason: contempt of special FBI joint terrorism task force detective.

Cherry told the network he pulled over the Uber driver to “clarify the problem” and that the driver “got smart” when Cherry asked for his license and registration.

“When I walked up, I was uptight. I wanted to know what the problem was. What did I do that was so wrong that I had to get chastised?” Cherry said. “I felt his driving actions were discourteous and impolite and when he stopped he said, ‘I’m not going to give you anything.”‘

All the driver asked was what he was being pulled over for. And Cherry refused to answer, choosing instead to berate the driver for not being a purebred American, among other things. If someone refuses to provide identification to an officer, it’s well within their rights, unless the officer can give them a better reason than “because I said so.” And if they are required to turn over identification, there are remedies for that, none of which involve banging on a vehicle and yelling at its driver.

Not only that, but being “discourteous and impolite” isn’t a crime. If it was, New York City’s jails would be even more well-stocked than they already are. It’s just that some law enforcement officers believe it is, and will throw out a barrage of BS charges in hopes that one sticks.

This “apology” shows Cherry either isn’t used to people questioning his authority or isn’t capable of handling these situations with any amount of professionalism. His non-apology “apology” simply provides more evidence that Bratton’s “unprecedented” decision to strip him of his badge and power was the correct thing to do.

The right way to apologize for an incident like this is to stop after you’ve admitted your actions were wrong and reflect badly on yourself and your position. Adding “but you have to understand, the guy was being a jerk” just makes you look like one of those people who routinely blame others for their own failings.

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Comments on “How Not To Apologize: Detective Pat Cherry Of The NYPD's Joint Terrorism Task Force Edition”

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Tariq says:

Re: Re:

To me, he looks like someone whose everyday is a bad day, someone who is ready to act like a jerk with anyone he doesn’t like or agree with. I personally think he has mental issues and should get professional help, perhaps some anger management classes. I also think that he might have had a troubled childhood and experienced abuse himself growing up, which has made him such a sour person. There is always a reason for someone to be as mean (evil is not a wrong word to use) as he is.

Anonymous Coward says:

The problem here is the display of Mr. Cherry’s attitude that he should be expected to obey the same laws as any other citizen. What really comes through is that he doesn’t feel he should have to obey the same laws. If any citizen should have the audacity to tell him that is not a proper way to act, woe be unto him or her. What really disturbs me in this is that Cherry is authorized to tote a gun. If he gets this upset over a correction, how can you trust his judgement where he feels he has the right?

It’s also about time for the police union to figure out those dues they are collecting, come from the taxpayer indirectly. As the people seeing they get paid, the union needs to wake up to which side of the bread they should be buttering. So far what I’ve seen in the news is a prime example of why some unions are bad and why this one in particular should be disbanded.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Unless I misread something, he wasn’t fired, just ‘demoted’ to a lesser position, one without a badge or a gun.

When you’re in a job where a large portion of it involves interacting with the public, showing that you might not be able to handle that seems to make for a pretty good justification for demotion and/or being fired, so I’d say the commissioner did the right thing here, even if it was most likely just to cover his own backside and keep any of the outrage from landing on him.

Still, even if that was the case, at least he did something, which is more than usually happens when a cop is caught doing something wrong or abusing their position.

Padpaw (profile) says:

contempt of cop is usually punishable by death/a beating or a false arrest of resisting arrest. The driver got lucky he had witnesses in his car to prevent any of those results.

Considering some of the police defending this POS see no problem he threatened someone not breaking the law with a false arrest simply because he has the power to is exactly why people hate and fear the dirty cops of this world.

Steve Swafford (profile) says:

Over the years, it appears this god complex that cops seem to have is being brought more and more to front and center and it’s really hurting their feelings. They are so used to doing whatever they want to whomever they want without any issue. Thank god for cell phones and the people that point them at all cops today. My respect for them over the years has just turned to mush. Now, instead of being relieved to see a cop, I cringe and break out my cell phone and wait for them to do something stupid. Sadly, it’s hard not to just assume that everyone you run into is like this. All they need is the wrong word said to them and you get what you have here. My trust in them is completely evaporated.

Edward Grabow (profile) says:

Re: respect for Police Officers

I’m in complete agreement and to be perfectly honest, I hate to have to admit that. I’m 55 yrs old and have always tried to give the police the respect that should come with the badge but respect is a 2 way street, I’ve made acquaintance with a lot of cops over the years and almost everyone has a power trip and the cops who stand by and watch it being done without doing something to correct the situation, I don’t care if the code amongst them says you keep quiet, even if another cop is committing a felony is no good reason at all, This abuse by police has to stop starting from the inside, Officers have to know that if they say something about another cop breaking the law or not respecting someones rights they will have the backing of the upper command.

Anonymous Coward says:

No, cops just can’t come up to people and demand identification. Probable cause is needed unless a checkpoint has been set up, and then inspection of identification has to be done randomly or to everyone.

Cops just can’t pull someone over for no reason and ask for identification. Asking the reason for being pulled over is well within the drivers rights and law.

jaack65 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

His reason IS he is a NYPD Detective nothing more is needed. No other justification is needed. Asking why will get you a fat lip or worse. Citizens cannot question COPS, COPS “know” the law and can manipulate it to fit the circumstances. How many UNARMED citizens were shot by cops and every one was “justified”. Blacks have experienced this for years, now non-negros , non-whites are getting special treatment by cops. Look at the video, see how shamefully the driver and passenger were treated. Threatened with jail but the cop was in too much of a hurry to harass the driver further. The lucky driver and passenger lived another day to show police work in action. The Police Commissioner also has done everything in his power to keep crime statistics out of the hands of the press and citizens by ignoring FOIA. What is he hiding anyway. NYPOST, DAILY NEWS NYTIMES, WSJ etc. where have you been? Years ago these stats were publish periodically but they did come to light, now a spokesman says dont worry everything is fine. Balderdash is the only word to be used in mixed company about this.

jaack65 (profile) says:

Out Of Control COP

Lucky The Driver & Passenger weren’t SHOT by this MANIAC COP!

Got a slap on wrist but STILL IS A NYPD cop.
He is high up enough to get away with any conduct. Glad the driver was cool enough. Or he would be in the morgue & passenger,too. Dead men tell no tails no witness against the shooter.. There is no justice for the common man.

Would have Liked an FBI agent as passenger to put this guy in his place. Bratton gave this cop a pass. Cops aren’t answerable to the LAWS the way any other taxpayer is. An INDEPENDENT police investigation force is needed to prevent these OUT of Control Officers. Internal Affairs is a joke in almost EVERY police force, FBI included.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Poor impulse control

I let my emotions get the better of me and I was angry. My intention was to be courteous and then we got into an argument. There was no intention to berate or hurt deeply the driver.

So Cherry is admitting that he has such poor impulse control that even though he has no intention of being abusive, he just couldn’t help himself?

That’s enough right there to say that this person doesn’t have the right personal character to be a police officer.

Bolsa says:

Faux Yorkers are outraged

All the pasty-faced, flip-flop-wearing, mid-western transplanted geeks walking around neighborhoods that my friends & I knew as local war zones in the 1980’s are living proof that NYPD has been doing things right. Those pasty-faced fools are like the sausage eaters who don’t want to see or know how the sausages are being made though. Mr Uber should have breathed a sigh of relief that the detective didn’t have a summons book on him, as real New Yorkers have always done. Honk and make questionable gestures to a veteran detective and get let off with a warning?!?! He was lucky. But instead he chose to cause the guy to lose his job. The putz should be sent back to wherever he came from for being an ungrateful troublemaker with less than 2 years in the country.

Casey Boyle says:

This guy...

This man has probably done a LOT of good in his life. Unfortunately people tend to only remember that mistakes. This video was definitely troubling, and it represents some of the fear citizens have because of policemen’s sense of self righteousness and ego. Let’s face it, they have more power than the common citizen. (for good reason) We simply have to live with the occasional ego maniac along with the protection they afford us from ourselves… Cops aren’t bad, people are bad, and cops are people

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: This guy...

“We simply have to live with the occasional ego maniac along with the protection they afford us from ourselves”

I don’t care if a cop is egotistical. I care if a cop is abusive (such as in this case). So, let me substitute “abuse” for “ego maniac” in your comment…

We do not have to live with the occasional abusive cop. If a cop is abusive, the problem needs to be corrected. In this case, that happened! However, the response of the police union reveals the underlying problem that results in too many abusive cops going unpunished: the whole notion that cops are some sort of club and they rally around anyone who threatens them, even when that threat is entirely proper.

consequences (user link) says:

bad cop II

as previously said:
This is just the logical result of the “let’s give guns and badges to low IQ bullies” police selection system.

here is a new update on how a trafic stop might end for a non-white:

Casper says:

Not worthy of the badge

He needs to be fired, period. Had there been no video for the world to see then the detective would have went on about his day like nothing ever happened. Everybody has a bad day however reaching for racially coded language and unbridled anger while in a position of authority goes directly to character. If I’m in an argument with a female and decided to call her a bitch or whore, irrespective of what she may or may not have done in my eyes, that speaks volumes about your feelings and intrinsic disposition, temperament, and nature. And I’m not impressed with his apology, if he was really sincere, he would have reached out personally to apologize to the driver and not done so via media. Fire the POS. a teachable moment.

dave says:

racist pig

This dirty cop and his few supporters can make all the excuses for him they want but fact remains…he’s a lowlife whitetrash pig who seems to think that being white still matters as if it were the 1950’s. Newsflash pig, it’s the year 2016.

Furthermore, watching the full video I can easily tell that for all his racist remarks, he clearly bit his tongue and wanted to say many more racist hateful things.

This isnt a guy having a bad day it’s a racist pig. So your stupid friend had a heart attack and you’re in a pissy mood which gives you the right to spew hate? Lol.

Stupid pig. I hope your family gets cancer.

CASC (user link) says:


He has already apologized for any lack of professionalism any members of the public who may have misinterpreted his actions and also offered a free meal to the driver in addition to his admission and attenuating circumstances around them and apologized as well…what more do you weirdos (no offense to people who enjoy having hatred) want from him in particular other than firing for what in my humble opinion would be absolutely no reason whatsoever if you wouldn’t mind me/one asking now that apology is all out there and your words seem weirdly misdirected with other strange sentiments so please pardon my f-french??!!?? Not a PO but private sector member of public who has seen far worse language and profanity used in professional work environments and is unable to understand why anyone/someone would take offense to an approximately 17 month old driver in our country’s capital city (of commerce and capitalism anyway) being issued traffic and moving vehicle violations without even being re-routed to a police precinct for further questioning when he was clearly in the wrong since every driver in manhattan must be aware (and all are..esp. if you passed a professional courtesy exam for employment approval with uber regulated by a city which imposes a blanket honking minimum fine/fee of $250USD for any honking at anytime anywhere on the island of Manhattan and/or NYC so I don’t get why you wouldn’t be smarter to suggest that perhaps uber fire the driver for lack of professionalism rather than suggest the police fire someone so skilled and accomplished for petty police grievances you may have that seem so strangely misplaced and misdirected if you wouldn’t mind me pointing out and saying so as politely as possible for people to please consider and post comments carefully if possible pertaining to the actual situation and surrounding circumstances in the correct context of the city in which they happen to be taking place and occurring please??…)…

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