It's been a bloody, bloody summer here in New York City. The death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in July—Pantaleo used a chokehold to restrain an asthmatic Garner, which resulted in death—may be the most public and widespread incident of police brutality this year, but it hasn't been the only one. Rosan Miller, Jahmil-El Cuffee, Stephanie Maldonado, and Denise Stewart were all violently harassed and assaulted by NYPD officers within the last few weeks. And those are just the reported cases that caught media attention. On Tuesday, Internal Affairs announced an investigation into the department involving a case where four "officers repeatedly struck a shackled and handcuffed patient on a stretcher before the New York Fire Department EMTs intervened to end the beating."
In a recent roundtable discussion on Gawker, Ruby-Beth Buitekant, a community organizer in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, recounted a troubling, if not altogether disheartening, conversation she had with a young neighborhood teen who visited her office.
A black young man came into my office last Tuesday morning and we started chatting about his weekend. He told me about work, spending time with friends in the park, and going on an audition for a commercial. In passing he mentioned an interaction with a police officer and I asked him to tell me the whole story. As it turned out, his time spent playing basketball in the park had also included: witnessing a basketball teammate tackled by two cops, seeing two friends cuffed for "talking back," and facing interrogation from an officer who asked why he was in a park two blocks from his home. I asked him to retell me about his weekend, now including police interactions. Five in total. So commonplace that he didn't mention them until I asked. Things are out of control. This is much bigger than "brutality."
It's no secret: the NYPD has a long and notorious history of viciously attacking and killing unarmed New Yorkers—and with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's promise to greater enforce "Broken Windows" policing, the threat of police violence is only worsening for black and Latino residents among the five boroughs.
In the past, we've solicited first-person accounts of despair and frustration on the unemployment line, and greed and mistreatment from employees at Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Target. Now we want to hear about your experiences with the nation's largest police force. Have you been unfairly stopped or harassed by the NYPD? Has an officer used excessive force when it was unwarranted? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story, or post it in Kinja below, and let your voice be heard.