A raft of NYPD officers, including several union officials, have been arrested and charged with offenses related to the fixing of parking and traffic tickets, mostly in the Bronx and mostly for their friends, relatives and “important” people. The fixing apparently did not include payoffs to officers but the City estimates that between $1-2M in revenue was lost as the result of a practice that is widespread.
The NYT reports that the investigation into the ticket fixing involved wiretaps which led to other officers being investigated, and later arrested for various crimes including smuggling guns into the city, drug trafficking, robbery, etc.
Yesterday, the officers arrested in the ticket-fixing scandal were arraigned in court and they were accompanied by a large crowd of off-duty NYPD officers, possibly as large as 500, who jeered the district attorney, the police chief and citizens.
The implicit message from the jeering officers is “what’s the big deal?” They came out to support their comrades, who in their minds, are victims of petty justice gone awry.
By all accounts the public and the press are amazed and perhaps threatened by the specter of 500 police officers, on-duty or not, vociferously supporting alleged lawbreakers. It’s a sobering tribal moment. This tribe numbers 35,000, they carry guns and they have enormous discretion in enforcing the law.
Incredibly, Ray Kelly, their lantern-jawed leader, was mildly supportive of their behavior, as I suppose the chief of the tribe has to be.
If it goes without saying that the vast majority of the 35,000 members of the NYPD tribe are ethically correct and law abiding professionals, then it also true that there is a cohort of the tribe infected with the virus of victimhood whereby some break the law while others publicly threaten when they are called out on it. How did they become infected and how do you check the spread of the disease?
Finally, we should support the right for police officers to fully make use of their inherent right to exercise free speech while we can also be aghast at this crew’s decision to do so.