It's been ten months under Bill de Blasio's leadership and little change has come to New York City. With his first year in office nearing an end, the everyday reality for many of the city's residents remains inescapable: police harassment and brutality have become a constant, and conditions only seem to be worsening. Despite the promises of de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton to overhaul the department in lieu of recent events—the death of Eric Garner, beating and pistol-whipping an unarmed Brooklyn teen, slamming a pregnant woman to the ground, and the arrest of a man who was legally permitted to perform on a subway platform—much has remained the same. To put it bluntly: the NYPD has lost control of its officers.
Consequently, 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 the streets of Newark, Oakland, 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.
My landlord wanted me out of my building, and used his 2 cop friends to help with this. The officers, Annmarie Innis and Steven Foster of the 47th Precinct in the Bronx would let my landlords workers swing and hit me in front of them to prove the cops wont help me, wrote false tickets on my car for street storage and hydrant tickets even though the car wasn't near them and Innis forced her way into our apartment (landlord John "Jack" O'Shea let her in) without a warrant. I was subjected to an illegal lockout and lost everything I owned outside of my car. Multiple calls to IAB got nowhere, and the harassment continued until I left the Bronx. Even today I won't cross the border into that area with the exception of going down the Deegan or Bronx River Parkway. I wish I could have afforded a lawyer at the time. Couldn't get an ounce of legal help anywhere, just had the rights of my family and I blatantly violated that was condoned by the NYPD/47th precinct. [male]
I was walking home in Brooklyn Heights when I was about 20 when a cop stopped me and asked where I was going. I told him I was going home and kept walking, putting my headphones on for the rest of the journey. About a block later, I realized the same cop was following me. He stopped me again about a block later and asked for my number, which I declined to give him, telling him I had a boyfriend. For the next few blocks, he kept following me and telling me how he could treat me better than my boyfriend and a bunch of other garbage, until I reached my door. As I tried to get inside, he came close to me and told me, "I guess I don't need your number now — I know where you live." [female]
I was walking across the street on Franklin Ave in [Bed-Stuy] and the light on DeKalb Ave had turned green while I was in the middle of the street. I had to rush back to the sidewalk and wait for the light. A police officer on the other side of the street saw this and yelled, "You should have stayed in the street, fag!" I had to walk right by him and not say anything because, you know, it's his word against mine and I'm sure I would have been arrested if I opened my mouth. [male]
I once went to a house party on 184th and Ryer Ave. when I stepped out into the hallway to make a phone call I saw 2 Police Officers come up the stairs, someone else was in the hallway also on the phone. They asked us both what we were doing here and we both said we were at a party here and stepped out to use the phone. They immediately started searching us, for whatever reason before they started searching the other guy they put him in hand cuffs, and began searching him. One cop was searching me and the other cop was searching the guy in cuffs. The guy in cuffs asked the Officer why he placed handcuffs on him and the Officer just started punching him in the head and face repeatedly at least 5 or 6 times before the Officer that was searching me stopped searching me and literally had pulled the other officer off of the guy and told him calm down calm down. The second Officer told me to go back inside and they took the other guy all bloodied with them. [male]
Share your story with us. Have you ever 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, or post your encounter in Kinja below.
[Image via Getty]