The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: The Problem With The NYPD & Police In America

Sargeant Delgado of the 40th Precinct telling me to put my camera down.
Sargeant Delgado of the 40th Precinct telling me to put my camera down.

Dear NYPD and other police forces across our country:

I sit writing this and am filled with nothing but dread and anxiety.  Why? Because I have suffered bouts of PTSD due to mistreatment by the NYPD on several occasions.  I find it extremely difficult to put these words down but given the recent verdicts from Ferguson on Michael Brown’s murder as well as our own Eric Garner’s murder at the hands of the NYPD I cannot remain silent. This is for them and all who have been murdered or brutalized by the hands that are served to protect us. This is for everyone including those who are charged with serving and protecting us.

Let me get one thing very straight and clear because there is this HUGE misconception about my views on the NYPD and the police in this country.

I have gotten ignorant remarks like “oh we’ll see who you’re gonna call when there’s a crime being committed” or “crime has gone down” narrative (we need to ask ourselves at what cost?)

I know very clearly that there are bad elements out there and know very clearly that cops put their lives in danger everyday. For someone to either not see that or point it out to others as if it isn’t obvious is a tad obtuse.

I also know that there are many good cops. Tons of them. But guess what? They too are the problem when they look the other way when injustices are being committed by their brethren and therein you find a HUGE part of the problem and it’s within the culture if the NYPD and other police forces across the country.

I have been witness to such things where I have documented police brutality. I have seen cops nab a man, knock him down and after he was subdued and cuffed, they begin to proceed to kick him and beat him. (I wrote the story and took pictures of that event). I saw the looks on the faces of the good cops when they approached me shaking their heads saying without saying “What can I do?”

I have been the victim, not once but twice of police brutality, humiliation (being called a faggot being one of them), and arrest simply for me asserting my constitutional right to record their activities while remaining proper distance when told.

The most recent experience was last year where I was thrown against the Bronx Documentary Center and arrested on fake charges creating a dangerous situation and walking out with an open container. I had walked out with a black garbage bag that contained shards of glass from a broken beer bottle from an event we just had.

It was in a black bag. Tied to be thrown out. The sergeant became angry because I was recording how he was treating the other gentleman who DID walk put with am open container without realizing it.

Not only did the sergeant have me thrown violently against the building but he didn’t have the guts to do the dirty work he began.

When we got to the police station, the cop he assigned to be the arresting officer (who did not want to do it because he saw I was innocent from the beginning) took me to the bathroom and locked the door.

“This is where I’m supposed to have you strip down and search you for weapons, drugs etc but I’m not doing it and that’s why I locked the door but we have to make it quick. I’m not in agreement with what happened. When your court date comes up, I will not show up. ”

He went on to pat me in the back shake my hand and apologize on behalf of his sergeant for making him do this and expedited my exit so I was released as quickly as possible. Before leaving he took me aside and reiterated his agreement that this was wrong and then handed me my summons.

The next day I looked at the summons and noticed all sorts of technical errors which I immediately knew I was just gonna waste a day in court to have my case dismissed on those technicalities.

I also had the benefit of the office of Congressman José E Serrano call the captain on what had happened afterwards but not everyone has that luck that they can get such high ranking testimony of their characters.

So here I had yet again another good cop who couldn’t do anything to prevent abuse and had to go along with it and he did the best he could.

So yes there are many good cops but until they end this brotherhood of protecting each other when injustices are being committed, they are just as guilty as the bad seeds who commit the crimes which they rarely get punished for.

Open your eyes to what is going on here.

If you feel inconvenienced by protesters shutting down the city and parts of the city, think about how the millions who’ve been wrongfully stopped and frisked (90% turned out to be innocent), think of the hundreds of innocent lives lost at the hands of police officers when said officers of the law become trigger happy. Think of how protesters in the past have ushered CHANGE that allows many who were previously oppressed to enjoy certain liberties not granted to them at some point in their history.

It is inexcusable to say that the victim had it coming anyway (ESPECIALLY when they were only Petty crimes)

It’s very easy for many to say well why did they resist arrest. Guess what? I wasn’t resisting arrest and was repeatedly told I was resisting arrest and they were gonna charge me with it. They keep pushing you and pushing you to the breaking point so they CAN charge you with something.

My crime? Asking, “officer why am I being arrested, what law did I break, why are you violating my constitutional rights?”



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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.