NYPD Officer Takes Cash From Man During Stop-And-Frisk; Pepper Sprays Him When He Asks To Have It Returned
from the oh,-these-aren't-weapons,-these-are-ANSWERS dept
In a video obtained by the New York Times, an unnamed officer forces 35-year-old Lamard Joye against a fence surrounding a Coney Island basketball court and removes what appears to be a handful of cash from Joye's pocket at the six-second mark.Joye was not arrested and has yet to receive his money back. He claims Officer William Montemarano took $1300 from him during this "stop-and-frisk."
"You see this? You see this?" Joye says, before demanding his money back. The officer replies, "You're gonna mouth off?" and begins to discharge pepper spray into Joye's face.
Joye's sister also gets pepper sprayed after asking the officer to state his name.
The NYPD has issued a statement in defense of Officer Montemarano.
Following accusations that a New York City police officer stole $1,300 in cash from a Brooklyn man during a stop-and-frisk, the department said all the man had was $62, which has been vouchered.Apparently it's OK to take money from uncharged individuals during stop-and-frisks as long as it's: a) not very much money, and b) it's vouchered at the station.
“No one stole $1,300,” Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis told the New York Daily News Thursday.
What went unaddressed was the officer's use of pepper spray to shut up both Joye and his sister, who were both asking for the return of the money taken by Montemarano.
Between the asset seizure and the low-level brutality, there's not much about this that's all that surprising. Small abuses of power like these happen every single day. The only thing that's changed is the likelihood that someone will record the incident.
Gothamist's coverage of the story adds this very enlightening comment, presumably left by a fellow cop at Thee Rant, a forum frequented by law enforcement officers.
I know this cop and he is a solid guy with (if not) 20 years, very close to it.[One possible reason? Officer Montemurano was recently named in a police brutality lawsuit alleging that he and another officer beat an arrestee with their nightsticks and kicked him in the throat. The city settled for $25,000.]
It is possible that he has even more than 20 years.
I cannot fathom why he is still running around on Patrol. Truly unf u c k i n g believable.
From an OBJECTIVE point of view and NOT KNOWING WHY the cops were called to this scene, I do not know WHY he would remove a wad of money from someone's pocket.[Which seems to have been confirmed by the NYPD statement, but doesn't explain why money is being taken from someone who wasn't arrested.]
MONEY is not contraband and UNLESS you are collaring someone for robbery, GL or narcotics sales and are going to voucher the money as proceeds of a crime, you have no business WHATSOEVER removing money from a mope's pocket.
I repeat, you have no business taking money out of some mope's pocket because he is a loud mouth involved in a large dispute, which is what this situation appears to be.
That said, I would bet my house that this officer returned the money or vouchered it - he did NOT steal this money.
Spritzing the crowd with mace a la DI Bologna* is the cherry on top of the Sundae. In the current climate, that is going to be a problem.*Refresher link for Deputy Inspector Bologna's love of pepper spray.
I must say, the daily videos and the daily wholesale suspensions and modifications of MOS have left me exasperated.
It is as if the cops are completely OBLIVIOUS.
Do they read newspapers, do they ever watch TV, do they speak to other cops, do they ever see the Finest spitting out these 'change of duty' statuses?
It would appear that they do not.
It would appear that they are blissfully ignorant of what is going on in the world around them.
It appears that the PBA says and does nothing to raise their awareness that there is an anti-cop feeding frenzy in progress.
I am bewildered as to how this all continues.....
This forum member makes a point that very few within the law enforcement community will ever raise. It's no longer business as usual out there. People are watching.
It's as if a majority of law enforcement agencies view the current "anti-cop feeding frenzy" as some sort of a fad -- something they can just muscle through without changing officer behavior, altering their training or even holding those caught in the act accountable for their misconduct.
Everyone has a camera these days. Anyone with a cell phone also has a recording device. YouTube gives everyone a platform to lift local incidents into the worldwide consciousness.
It's not just the ubiquity of cameras, though. It's the interconnectedness the internet provides. Brutality or misconduct lawsuits filed in small towns used to only be covered in local papers. Now, even the smallest of local news websites can be swept into basic searches for information.
And yet, the pace of these incidents doesn't seem to be slowing. Officers are still acting as though their worst behavior is still largely unobserved. They're not learning from the past mistakes of countless others. Even those who have been "burned" previously continue to act as though they can abuse their power to harass and intimidate people. Just read through the numerous postings at Photography Is Not A Crime. Many of the posts deal with the same law enforcement entities and the same accountability activists, and yet, there's no indication that policy changes or previous bad press have had any deterrent effect on the officers involved.
As the forum comment points out, there's no apparent sense of self-awareness evident in officers like Montemarano. He notes that the PBA (Patrolmen's Benevolent Association) isn't doing anything to help officers be more aware of public perception. I don't know why he's surprised by this. The PBA, like many other police unions, is one of the first entities to protest any changes in policy meant to address police misconduct, and actively fights additional accountability efforts like the use of body cameras. These unions are also instrumental in returning fired cops to their former positions, showing that even when local PDs finally make an effort to shed the worst in their ranks, their efforts can often be undone by entities that put an officer's employment well ahead of the public interest and the police department itself.
It's not that there aren't any positive signs. It's that there are so few, compared to the amount of citizen documentation piling up. This isn't some temporary change in public perception. It's ongoing, and it's not going to get any better if law enforcement officers remain insulated from accountability and wholly oblivious to the implications of their actions.