Four Queens men sue NYPD after being held for 30 hours, busted for laughing at cops

Four Queens men claim they were locked up for more than 30 hours by cops seeking revenge on a crowd of men who laughed at an officer who couldn’t catch a fleeing drug suspect.

The men insist they didn’t even laugh, says their lawyer Gabriel P. Harvis, who filed suit against the NYPD and 10 unidentified officers in Brooklyn Federal Court. They believe they were arrested because cops wanted to take their frustration out on them, he said.

“The cops knew my clients had done nothing wrong, but they didn’t care,” said Harvis, who represents Abdul Kabba, Isaiah Barnes, Hasan Allen and Ishmial Deas. Police “were embarrassed, so they abused their power by locking them up anyway.”

The four were held for 27 hours in the 103rd Precinct stationhouse before the Queens district attorney’s office dropped the charges.

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Former New York Police Commissioner Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

New York, February 20 (RHC)– Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Bailey “Bernie” Kerik has been sentenced to four years in prison. Kerik pleaded guilty in November to lying to the White House when he was nominated to head the Department of Homeland Security.

The former Commish admitted to tax evasion and receiving renovations from a construction firm linked to organized crime. Bernard Kerik will remain under house arrest until he begins his sentence in May.

12-year-old American arrested for doodling on desk

A 12-year-old girl from New York has been handcuffed and arrested by the police for doodling on the classroom desk, an incident that has shaken the US education system to its core.

Alexa Gonzales, a seventh grader at the Junior High School in Forest Hills, had written the words “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here 2/1/10 :)” on the classroom desk with a green marker when the school principal decided to have her arrested by the New York City Police Department.

Consequently, Alexa’s hands was cuffed behind her back while she was escorted from school to the police precinct across the street in front of her teachers and her classmates.

“They put the handcuffs on me, and I couldn’t believe it,” Alexa told CNN. “I didn’t want them to see me being handcuffed, thinking I’m a bad person.”

Alexa missed three days of school because of the psychological ordeal she faced. Her mother said she spent those days throwing up, and she found it difficult to catch up on homework when she eventually returned to school.

The case has cast a dark shadow over the use of so-called zero tolerance policies adopted in schools in the US.

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Lawsuit: NYPD routinely arrests students for non-crimes

ACLU: Racial element present in creation of ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

A lawsuit filed Wednesday by five students in the New York City school system against the New York City Police Department paints a picture of school officers who routinely abuse students and arrest them for non-criminal activities.

The lawsuit (PDF), brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of five students aged 13 to 18, says that school safety officers “have a long-standing pattern of abuse, unlawful arrests and excessive force against minority students who commit even minor infractions like talking back, being late for class or having a cell phone in school,” Courthouse News reports.

“Aggressive policing is stripping thousands of New York City students of their dignity and disrupting their ability to learn,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU said in a statement. “Despite mounting evidence of systemic misconduct by police personnel in the schools, the NYPD refuses to even acknowledge any problems with its school policing practices. We are confident that the courts will compel much-needed reform.”

One of the plaintiffs in the suit was 11 years old when she says she was “handcuffed and perp-walked into a police precinct for doing nothing more than doodling on a desk in erasable ink,” a lawyer for the students said.

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NYPD Must Give NYCLU Data on Race of People Shot at by Police

A Supreme Court of the State of New York judge has ordered the New York City Police Department to turn over to the New York Civil Liberties Union data concerning the race of all people who were shot at by police officers between 1997 and 2006.

The NYCLU sued the NYPD in August 2008 for access to racial data about police shooting victims. In response to the lawsuit, the NYPD agreed to disclose the race of people who were shot by police officers between 1997 and 2006. It refused to release racial data about people who had been shot at by police officers but not struck by the bullets.

In an opinion dated Dec. 15, Supreme Court Judge Joan A. Madden ruled that the NYPD had not met its burden under the state’s Freedom of Information Law to withhold the data.

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Grannies to Toys’R’Us : War is Not a Game

NEW YORK — On December 4, the Raging Grannies and the Granny Peace Brigade created a wonderful holiday peace event at the crossroads of the world, Times Square. The purpose was to send the message: No more war toys and no more war.

They met near the Recruiting Station where two New York City Police Department officers, polite but not particularly interested in the First Amendment, told them that they had to move on. Debate was futile. So, they moved to the huge Broadway Toys “R” Us where several grannies had entered minutes earlier, got on the three story high Ferris wheel in the store, and unfurled large yellow banners that read “No More War Toys — No More War.”

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Federal Judge Says NYPD Plagued by “Widespread Falsification by Arresting Officers”

In refusing to dismiss a lawsuit against New York City brought by two brothers arrested on trumped-up drug charges, Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein had some harsh words for the city’s police department. From the NY Daily News:

“Informal inquiry by [myself] and among the judges of this court, as well as knowledge of cases in other federal and state courts … has revealed anecdotal evidence of repeated, widespread falsification by arresting officers of the New York City Police Department,” Weinstein wrote.

He said that while the vast majority of cops don’t engage in crooked practices, it was common enough to be an institutional problem.

The judge said that despite better training for recruits and tough disciplinary action for bad cops, “there is some evidence of an attitude among officers that is sufficiently widespread to constitute a custom or policy by the city approving illegal conduct.”

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Feds: Former US Prosecutor Helped Rub Out Witnesses For Gangster Clients, Ran Drugs And Call-Girls

From federal prosecutor to accused violent gangster, pimp, and drug-dealer…That’s the unusual career trajectory taken, say the Feds, by Paul Bergrin, who was indicted earlier this month in a 39-count racketeering indictment.

In a drama that could have been made for HBO, Bergrin — a white-collar defense lawyer who once represented, pro bono, a solider accused of abusing Abu Ghraib detainees — seems to have allowed his gangster clients to drag him into a world of violent crime. And he may have gone a lot further than Maury Levy ever did for Stringer Bell.

Bergrin, a former AUSA with the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey, is charged with leading a criminal enterprise that used violence, intimidation, and deceit to generate millions of dollars, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Among the most eye-catching allegations against him:
– That he used a Newark restaurant as a front for a cocaine-distribution network.
– That he oversaw a $1,000-an-hour call-girl ring in New York City.
– That he had a witness killed in one drug case, and hired a hitman to kill another.

You can read a key portion of the indictment here.

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New York police comes down on Russia Today correspondent

As the United Nations session continued, Russia Today (RT) correspondent Marina Portnaya was verbally abused and harassed by overzealous New York City Police Department officers.

She was prevented from broadcasting and denied the use of her phone, but was later told she had done nothing wrong.

However, a live broadcast associate was told that our correspondent still could not broadcast live from outside the UN. Eurovision New York – the company managing the site – put out the following statement through its senior producer, Ian Johnson:

“Your correspondent got into a confrontation with the New York Police Department and they have denied her access to our stand-up position outside the United Nations as a result. She has attempted to go back, and the police have again denied her access.”

“We have been warned by the NYPD that our operation will be shut down if they see her involved in a live shot from our position,” the statement says.

NYPD Officers Face Rape Charges

Prosecutors say two New York City police officers will face charges of rape, burglary and evidence tampering in connection with an attack on a Manhattan woman.

Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata are accused of assaulting an intoxicated woman they had escorted home in December.

The officers were initially responding to a 911 call from a taxi driver complaining that the woman had gotten stick in his cab.

The officers are also charged with official misconduct. Moreno faces an additional drug possession charge.

They could get up to 25 years in prison.

Lawyers for the two men say they are innocent.

“Bad Cop” suits cost NYC a half-billion

The city has coughed up $540 million in payouts related to improper police actions since 1998 — and taxpayer cost for such cases hit a record high last year.

In 1998, the city paid lawsuit settlements or judgments to 571 claimants who accused the NYPD of bad behavior. That figure more than doubled to 1,265 in 2008, according to New York City Law Department data.

The amount of money shelled out each year also doubled in the past decade. The city paid $31.8 million in 1998, and $66.4 million in 2008.

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Report: LA Rape Evidence Backlog Booms to 12,000 Cases

Rape victims seeking justice sometimes find nothing but a dead end in Los Angeles County.

A Human Rights Watch report [1] revealed today that the Los Angeles Police Department, county sheriff’s office and other smaller agencies have failed to test DNA evidence in more than 12,000 sexual assault cases.

Based on interviews with police officials and a review of data obtained through public records requests, the report, “Testing Justice,” revealed that the county’s backlog is probably the largest in the nation. It’s also larger and more widespread than previous reports had indicated.

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