How Many More Cops Must Go Unpunished Before We Act?

by PeterB on September 12, 2016 - 6:14pm

The article entitled "Copping a Budget Plea" written by Jarrett Murphy, published in 2006, depicts the police misconducts, brutality, and misbehaviours in the New York City Police Department, and although it is not the only police force that has cases of bad police behaviour, it is certainly the most largest police department with the biggest reputation, so it is easier to retrieve more information out of it.

In short, the newspaper article explains the misconducts of police officers in the New York City area, and illustrates a few real life examples that have happened over the years, and the time it took for the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) to close the cases of misconduct. It also generates the eventual problem that will happen if the New York Mayor cuts the number of investigators in the CCRB due to lack of budget, which seems to be a big concern to many people. Meaning that, as it is cases of police misconduct take very long to be closed, therefore if the number of investigators is diminished they will take even longer to solved. The author also explains that if after 18 months the case is not resolved, than the case expires and is not dealt with anymore, unless the behaviour is considered criminal. In the text with the examples he gives us, it is clear that already, cases expire more often than they should, and in addition most cases solved push the 18 month limit, they are closed after 16 or 17 months. So if the number of CCRB investigators were to be cut, even more cases would expire, meaning more police officers involved in misconduct would go unpunished.

In this newspaper article, the main morals and values that are being opposed are first of all on one side the values of individual freedom, loyalty and fidelity towards some of their own, security, and order for the NYPD and the police officers side. While the civilians side and the authors side involve many more morals including fairness, justice, non-conformity, accountability for their actions, honesty, tolerance, serving others, rationality, responsibility (collective or not), and peace. In this case the ethical issue would be if the law enforcers are involved in corruption or are they actually well behaving and doing what is right. Since it clearly does not show a good example for the rest of the population if their actions are deemed as corruption and scandalous. But more importantly the fact that some of these peace keepers, so we call them, get away with their behaviour that we consider as misconduct and corruption, and go unpunished, as if nothing ever happened. While many of the police officers claim to be doing their job, and nothing but their duty, they believe that whatever actions they take is for the best interest of the population. The enforcers of the law do not think that they are involved in misconduct or corruption, to them it is just part of the job sometimes. While others, such as many civilians, including the author, do not agree that all their actions and the way that they act/behave is always necessary.

In my opinion the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) are not harsh enough and are not as involved as they should be when it comes to our foresay "Peace Keepers", that control law and order, who are involved in scandalous and violent situations. They are supposed to watch out for us, protect us, and act as our role models, but when they verbally and physically harm others when they clearly had no reason or right to do so, they are hard to be seen as good role models when they are demonstrating bad behaviour.   

Works Cited:

Murphy, J. (June 2006). Copping a Budget Plea. The Village Voice. New York. p. 14-16.



I really liked your structuring od ideas and your style of writing. I am responding to your text because I found the title very appealing, and I personally am very interested in the subject of policing. I totally agree with your opinion and I find it completely unethical for our law enforcers to disobey to the very law they enforce on the population. What is currently happening in New York is also happening in many other places and makes me question about the moral claim of justice. Isn't the goal of justice to have everyone obey to the same rules no matter their social status? Does the word justice lose its value when some people think themselves as above the law? I think that in order to bring about change, the population needs to be more informed of what is going on in their country. Too often, the population lacks crucial information, which makes it almost impossible for the informed minority to make any change. I think that an informed population would decrease the intensity of issues such as corruption or police brutality. What do you think would be a solution to this omnipresent issue?

The topic you have chosen is very intriguing, yet I don't agree with the way you portrayed the police which is why I am writing. I understand that there are some crooked police out there, it is inevitable. I understand the purpose of the CCRB, and agree with what they are there for. The justice of those who were harmed should be both the CCRB's priority and the police departments' priority. Those officers who have committed crimes on the innocent should be punished. The thing I disagree with you is by the way you generalized all police officers as corrupted individuals. These people put their lives on the line every day for our safety and protection. I feel that the media has over-publicized the corrupted police which makes it seem that all police are bad and do bad things on a daily basis. The media doesn't publicize the good things that police do on a daily basis. Do you think that the media has an influence on the way the public views police community?

There are definitely corrupt police officers out there because they are humans, like everyone else, but there are far more police officers that represent very well the “peace keeper” role. I also believe that the public’s perception of any isolated group is always tainted by the media’s over-representation of the negative actions carried out by the minority of these groups. The media does so simply because the bad is more entertaining or interesting to most than the good, and because there are far less negative acts than positive, thus making it easier for them to be covered in the media. It would be impossible for the media to cover all the good that police officers do. Yet this creates very disproportionate images of the police.

I agree that the laws or standards regarding the investigation into civil complaints regarding police brutality seems a little too loose (18 months and then forgotten?) and can thus leave many victims feeling like justice was never served. I value justice and equality very highly and would thus like to see those standards changed but I also understand that police officers have more pressing investigations that demand their closer attention and the cases behind the civil complaints into police brutality can often be very week. The cases often lack much evidence, often involving footage of a police officer that is seen performing an act that appears brutal and unnecessary, and these acts are often taken out of context since the entire situation was not recorded. This little amount of evidence is what usually makes these civil complaint cases last forever before they are closed.

Many police organisations around the world have begun equipping their officers with body-worn cameras that allow for all of their activities to be recorded. This facilitates supervising their behaviour, as well as possibly deterring the corrupt vast minority from acting inappropriately, and obviously facilitates validating witness statements, etc.

Just out of curiosity, have I effectively changed your perception on the matter? Or do you still believe that there are far too many corrupt police officers that are privileged with avoiding justice?