NYPD's Failure To Remove A Vehicle From Its Stolen Car Database Results In Another Citizen Staring Down The Barrel Of Several Guns
from the thanks-for-all-the-help,-professionals! dept
The only person singing the praises of the Darien (CT) Police Department is the person who was ordered out of his own vehicle at gunpoint. New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s onset of Stockholm Syndrome is one of the earliest in recorded history. (via Deadspin)
To sum up, the cops here didn’t do anything particularly wrong… except for one major aspect of the equation which would have prevented it from arriving at the point where Cashman needed to be walked backwards at gunpoint from his own vehicle to waiting officers.
Brian Cashman was swarmed by a group of Connecticut police officers who drew their firearms on the Yankee general manager Friday when he was apparently mistaken for an armed car thief, The Post has learned.
The 52-year-old GM of the Bronx Bombers was driving his white Jeep Wrangler from Yankee Stadium to Connecticut after it was reported stolen last Saturday, according to team sources.
So far, it seems Cashman’s effusive praise for the officers who drew down on him isn’t misplaced. (We’ll get to his praise in a moment.) But if this was all that had actually happened, the cops would be completely in the right. A stolen vehicle being driven by someone is generally a guns-out sort of operation. That’s why ALPRs suck so much when they’re wrong. And they’re wrong more often than law enforcement would like to admit.
But that’s not the whole story. Cashman was actually on his way to the Norwalk police department to have his car examined for evidence. The NYPD had already recovered Cashman’s car and returned it to him. However, the NYPD failed to take his vehicle off the stolen vehicle hotlist. Cashman received a call from Westchester police en route saying his plate had apparently been snagged by an ALPR operated by them and officers wanted to know if he was driving his vehicle.
Somehow, this information never made it to the Darien PD, which was already searching for a Jeep like Cashman’s due to a report of a man driving a similar vehicle brandishing a weapon at a local doctor’s office. That increased the itchiness of the trigger fingers, which became even itchier when his plate was run and the NYPD database still showed the vehicle as “stolen.”
Somewhere between five and ten officers handled the dangerous Cashman who was just trying to bring his car to the local PD to be processed for evidence. Cashman had nothing but praise for the officers spurred into action by the NYPD’s inexplicable inaction.
“They executed a very tactful interception,” Cashman said.
“They’re clearly very professional and trained and they asked me to turn my car off, exit the vehicle, walk backwards towards them…they were executing their duty.”
“I have high respect for all law enforcement. They do an amazing job whether you’re in Connecticut and New York City — and sometimes unique circumstances can occur.”
Yeah… maybe. I mean, the Connecticut police officers involved may have been victims of circumstance. But the NYPD really shouldn’t be excused for putting a vehicle’s rightful owner in such a dangerous situation. Its failure to do so meant that a citizen willing to help the police continue an investigation was driving around tripping plate readers and setting himself up for an armed ambush. Cashman escaped uninjured and with everything (finally) straightened out.
Various news orgs (very swiftly) obtained body camera footage from the stop. Cashman’s experience differs greatly from the average (innocent) driver’s. Once he’s recognized as the GM of the New York Yankees by one of the cops, the entire thing comes to a sudden halt, with orders for lights on cruisers to be shut off in order to not draw more attention to the stop.
Others — the nobodies no cop will recognize — won’t be as lucky. The assumption in most stops like these is that the average person protesting their innocence is actually a guilty person trying to talk themselves out of an arrest.
When you have the capability to track cars as they travel from place to place and the tech to run thousands of plate photographs a day against hotlists, you have an obligation to use this power responsibly. The NYPD was grossly irresponsible here, and if the driver wasn’t a 52-year-old white man, this very likely would not have ended quite as well.