“Don’t trust these cops.”  

That’s the message this week from Brooklyn district attorney Eric Gonzalez.

He released to the public for the first time this week two lists with names of NYPD officers that he will no longer call to testify on any case. 

One of the lists that currently contains seven names, is being referred to as the “black list”, and Gonzalez has given several reasons why these officers have ended up on it. Another list contains 40 additional names of officers who had given, what he describes as questionable testimony on cases. He also stated the reason for the list, is that these officers, he feels, are no longer credible.

A New York Times article gave a breakdown of the reasoning for the why some of the officers landed there. The article explains:

“One detective conducted such sloppy eyewitness identification procedures that a judge called the lapses ‘inconceivable.’”

Another officer, Richard Danese, had been indicted over ten years ago, for allegedly arresting a 14-year-old boy on Halloween night, and leaving him on a marsh near Staten Island. In the end, the charges were dropped against Danese as the child refused to cooperate in the investigation against him.  

A second notable name on the list, Detective Vaughan Ettienne, had been suspended from the force for steroid use, and also had been accused of using his Facebook account and posting references to the movie “Training Day” and using the movie as a guide to “brush up on police procedures”.  

These incidents also took place more than a decade ago.

Ettienne is “a bodybuilder and veteran member of plainclothes anti-crime teams in Brooklyn”. Which begs the question for this writer, if someone is working in a plainclothes unit, that’s part of an anticrime division, should his name be out to the public who could possibly search for the individual on the internet, perhaps putting him in harms way?

A third name on the list, Greggory Gingo, explained to reporter that he feels his name was only added to this list because he has been accused of being racially bias. Gingo stated that this accusation has all been a misunderstanding. 

In an interview with the New York Time, Gingo explained:

“Last year [he] testified against a black man he had arrested three years earlier. As the hearing began, [he] was asked if he spotted the defendant in the courtroom — a standard question. But [he] struggled to recognize him.” 

The news story goes on to state that he had explained to a prosecutor some time after that court appearance that he had thought he was there to testify regarding a white defendant.  The prosecutor later expressed that because of this, Gingo just picked “a black guy” in the courtroom. 

Gingo explained in his interview, “I’m not racist,” and that he was “confused and nervous.” But that he “eventually he realized his mistake and recovered.” 

His department has since transferred him to Staten Island, but Gingo feels that this is the incident that landed him on that list

According to sources, lists like these have been around for years, but they have never been released publicly. However, according to The Times:

“Defense lawyers have long argued that secretive disciplinary proceedings and union rules protecting officers from dismissal raise questions about the ability of police departments to rein in misconduct.” 

Many activist groups against police misconduct have been pushing for quite some times for lists like this to be released publicly. With the push from these groups more progressive prosecutors are calling also for the lists to be made public.

According to, Rebecca Roiphe, who is a professor at New York Law School and known expert in prosecutorial ethics explained:

“Now with progressive prosecutors we’re seeing calls to make these public and available to defense attorneys.”

Folding under these types of pressures Gonzalez made the decision to release the lists publicly. However, this drew immediate criticism from Patrick J. Lynch, who is the president of New York City’s largest police union.

Lynch made a statement regarding Gonzalez and the black lists:

“He knows that publicizing this information will destroy the careers of honest police officers and torpedo the cases against violent, gun-toting criminals — assuming his office bothers to prosecute them at all.”

Gonzalez did make an additional statement indicating that he believed “that in some of those cases the judges were mistaken and the officers had been truthful.” He declined further comment regarding the lists.

NYPD has been in turmoil for quite some time.

On Monday, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill threw in the towel, resigning after three years of service. 

And upon learning of who would be stepping into the limelight to take over his spot, criticism started pouring in about the fact that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio had hired “another white guy” to head up the Big Apple’s department. 

Shortly after it was announced that NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea would be taking over as the new commissioner, Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) took to Twitter to slam the mayor’s choice.

catalina cruz race card nypd

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz just slammed de Blasio for hiring ‘another white guy’ to run the NYPD.

 

“At a time when the relationship between police and communities of color couldn’t be worse — we chose yet another white guy?” her tweet read.

According to to Cruz, it doesn’t matter about who would be the most qualified, but instead we should pick someone just because of their race. That’s a huge slap in the face to everyone involved. Imagine being picked for something that you weren’t the best candidate for simply because the color of your skin checked a box.

“We have many qualified men and women of color within the [NYPD] who could lead the force in the right direction. What gives?” her rant continued. 

 

But unlike the normal spread of support that posts like these typically garner, the assemblywoman was met with some harsh criticism, according to some comments uncovered by The New York Post.

“This post is disturbing and racist on so many levels,” one user wrote on the chain of tweets. “You are an elected official fanning flames of racism. Disappointing.”

It seems like Americans are finally getting fed up with being fed the race card about every single thing. 

“With all due respect, that is a racist comment,” wrote another person. “Get over it, qualifications matter, not the color of your skin. We are all part of the human race.”

But Cruz argued back, directly saying that it wasn’t possible to be ‘reverse’ racist, and that people needed to stop pushing that narrative. 

“Reverse racism isn’t a thing. Stop trying to make it so,” Cruz responded. 

 

So what does Mayor de Blasio think about all of this? When asked about why he chose Shea as replacement for commissioner, he replied that he was simply appointing the best possible candidate.

“Dermot brings a wealth of leadership experience and he knows what policing needs to be in the 21st century,” said de Blasio. “He is a driven man in the best sense. He’s driven to make this city safer. … He definitely has big shoes to fill, but Dermot Shea is ready.”

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Cruz wasn’t done there. She posted a GIF about an hour after her initial tweet featuring a bird that looked surprised with the caption, “Oh no! Look at all the white guys saying the white guy was better qualified!”

 

De Blasio argued that during his time as the mayor of the city, the department has only become a more diverse place to work. He said he expected to see that continue.

“You will see an intensification of diversity in the leadership ranks in the coming years,” de Blasio said in an interview with NY1 News. 

Commissioner James O’Neill stepped down from his role as commissioner on Monday. He delivered a statement at a news briefing during the announcement of his resignation.

“I came into this job with one mission, and that was to fight crime and keep everybody safe,” O’Neill said. “And we did it, and we continue to do it.”

O’Neill received sharp criticism in the backlash that followed the firing of former officer Daniel Pantaleo for his role in the death of Eric Garner. Police in New York no longer felt that their superiors had their back, and many continued to raise concerns about his leadership, with some even blaming him outright for contributing to the chaos and lawlessness that the city has seemingly found itself in.

O’Neill reportedly accepted a private gig and is planning on moving across the country to California. 

Dermot Shea is expected to take control of the NYPD on December 1.

“We’ve redefined the last six years how we police this great city,” said Shea as he cited crime statistics. “We have done what many thought was impossible.”

But he says his work isn’t finished there.

“We cannot and will not rest until all New Yorkers feel safe,” he said.

 


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