NYPD Harassment Stories: "Bitches Like You" Get Away With Everything

In July, a man was assaulted by police offers for allegedly falling asleep on the train on his way home from work. "For what?!" the man yells repeatedly, as officers attempt to cuff him. "I ain't do shit...I just wanna go home." The pain and distress in his voice are audibly clear, and the reasons for which he is being arrested seem arbitrary at best. "Record all of this, please!" he says to others on the subway car. This incident would seem outrageous if the occurrence of police officers abusing their power—a power, we should not forget, that is entrusted to them by the public—weren't so commonplace in New York City.

As part of an ongoing series, Gawker is publishing stories from New Yorkers who have been victims of, or witnesses to, police harassment and brutality by the NYPD. Police brutality, which we believe should be treated as a national crisis, is not limited to streets of New York or Los Angeles. But examining the actions of the country's largest and most famous police force, and giving a voice to the victims of its violence, is a start.

The 4 Train

The incident happened about 2 years ago to my husband. My husband is a Dominican of dark complexion. He was exiting the 4 train in the Bronx after a long day of work, at the time he was working security. He saw some one he knew being stopped by the cops made eye contact with the police and kept it moving. He was almost to our apartment building when the same 4 police officers spotted him. The cops asked him where he was going and what he was doing in the area. He told them he was going home. One of the officers ordered him against the wall and said they were going to search him. My husband asked what the reason was but complied being familiar with being brown and dealing with the cops. Two more officers then grabbed each one of his arms while the next hit him in the stomach 3 times telling "next time you see us doing our job you should mind your fucking business". They took his ID card and left the scene. My husband called to report it but obviously no one ever showed up. Some one mailed his ID to us 2 months later saying they had found it on the street.

This is typical for this section of the Bronx. We are policed by the 46th precinct.

West 4th Street Station

In the mid-2000s I was in the W 4th St station minding my own business when all of a sudden a group of undercover cops threw me and 3 black kids I did not know against the wall (it is worth noting I am a white male and was in my mid-20s at the time). I was frisked and written up for jumping the turnstile, despite my presenting the officers with my unlimited ride Metrocard as proof that I had done no such thing. Obviously, this did nothing to help my case. As one of the officers explained to me, "sometimes when you're fishing for tuna, you're gonna catch a few dolphins." I guess I was the dolphin in this analogy. The ticket was immediately thrown out when I explained this to the judge, I wonder how the other kids fared.

The F Train

In 2006, I was on an F train in Bk headed for the city, drinking whiskey out of an evian bottle. Yeah I know. But I was 25, young and not really making the best decisions.

Two uc cops approached my boyfriend and i and told us to get of at the next stop. We complied. We were told to sit down on a bench, there on the subway platform. When asked what i was drinking out of the bottle, i said water. It was clearly not water, i was being a smartass. Once again - 25. I don't respect or like cops (more on that later) and i've always had a really hard time being nice to people i don't respect or like.

One of the cops, who was a black man, asked me for my ID. I handed it over. I'm from Mississippi originally and so was my license at that time, and this is where things took a turn. I should also mention now that i am a white female, and while this may be my outward appearance and what i identify as on forms, it's not the whole story (is it ever?). My background is racially mixed, with a black grandparent on my father's side. My southern upbringing was racially diverse. "Different," as the church ladies would say.

The cop doing the "interview" with me at this point became pissed, then enraged. My sarcastic comment had done the priming and the MS lD was the tipping point. He first made a few comments about "what people like you do to people like me down south" and how "bitches like you" get away with everything. I replied that if he was accusing me of something other than drinking on the subway, i'd like to know what that specifically was. Here he took out his handcuffs, banged them down beside me, and got right up in my face, screaming that i only needed to give him one more reason, one more fucking reason.

At this point his partner literally pulled him out of my face and away from me, down the platform a few feet. My boyfriend sagely told me to shut the fuck up. I was issued a summons or ticket or whatever for drinking which, once the cops left, i promptly tore to pieces, threw on the tracks and never addressed. Bc seriously - fuck the police. I don't trust them. Here's why.

Two years prior i had been sexually assaulted by someone i was on a date with, and when i reported it the next day i was told by the cops at my precinct that i had no case. After all I'd been drinking and i shouldn't have put myself in that situation. What was i wearing? How much did i drink exactly? At best it would be a he said, she said and it would go nowhere. Ashamed and humiliated i accepted this. A few dozen law & order svu episodes later i realized i should have pursued it further, and so too should those police i reported it to. It was their job.

I see cops on the street, and i stare at them right in their eyes. I don't know why. What they're doing to people in this city, in the city that is my home, is fucking reprehensible. It is deeply affecting, it is frightening, and worst of all, it is out of control.

Penn Station

A few years ago, I was taking a very early train to New Jersey out of Penn Station. I had gotten there very early, like 6:30. As I was walking through the station I saw NYPD officers dragging/throwing the homeless people around by their shirt collars. I even saw a couple get hit repeatedly with Nightsticks for not leaving the station fast enough. I remember being horrified that things like that were "allowed" to happen. I got my ticket, and took a seat in the waiting area for NJ transit, and it being so early, kind of dozed off. I was woken by a loud bang, and saw an NYPD officer standing over me, nightstick in hand and he hit the metal wall behind me and said "let me see your ticket" I was half asleep and confused and said "What?" The guy raised his nightstick at me threateningly and screamed "show me your fucking ticket!" I kind of scrambled and pulled it from my wallet. He took one look at it and walked away without another word. No apology, nothing.

Do you have a story to share? Have you ever been unfairly stopped or harassed by the NYPD? Has an officer used excessive force when it was unwarranted? Email me at jason.parham@gawker.com, or post your encounter in Kinja below, and let your voice be heard.

[Photo via Getty]