You might want to sit down for this. Are you sitting down? Okay: an officer in the employ of the New York Police Department was convicted today of planting crack cocaine on two innocent people. Not only that—it's apparently only one episode in a "widespread culture of corruption endemic in [NYPD] drug units." I know. I know! My jaw dropped too!
You know, if you're white, and male, and well-off, and reasonably well-dressed, and live in certain neighborhoods, you assume that police officers are above impeachment. Sure, you hear about cops who ran guns, or cops who pepper-sprayed protesters, or cops who fixed tickets and provided information to drug dealers, or cops who arrested black politicians at parades, or cops who spied on Muslims, or cops who raped women, or cops who framed black New Yorkers because they're black. But those are just a few dozen bad apples in a clean, courteous department (that showed up in the hundreds to defend their corrupt colleagues and taunt poor people)! It would be shocking, just shocking, to anyone who is white, and male, and well-off, and reasonably well-dressed, and lives in certain neighborhoods, to learn that not only did Detective Jason Arbeeny plant a bag of crack on two people in Coney Island in 2007, but his crime is only the drop in a gross, corrupt bucket:
Before announcing the verdict, Justice Reichbach scolded the department for what he described as a widespread culture of corruption endemic in its drug units.
"I thought I was not naïve," he said. "But even this court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed."
The case against Detective Arbeeny was rooted in a far larger tale of corruption in Police Department drug units: several narcotics officers in Brooklyn have been caught mishandling drugs they seized as evidence, and hundreds of potentially tainted drug cases have been dismissed. The city has made payments to settle civil suits over wrongful incarcerations.
Well, we never! I have half a mind to write a letter to the editor!