An explosive report published by BuzzFeed on Monday based on secret internal New York Police Department files found at least 319 cops on the force were able to keep their jobs after committing a fireable offense.
What can New York City’s finest do without losing their jobs? Here are just a few of the serious offenses BuzzFeed found:
- Excessive force
- Firing a gun unnecessarily
- Drunk driving
- Sexual harassment
- Lying under oath
- Ticket fixing (destroying tickets for families and friends)
- Threatening to kill someone
In just one example, NYPD officer Raymond Marrero was accused of multiple violent incidents, including throwing a man he was arresting to the ground and repeatedly punching him in the head and striking another man he was arresting on the head with a police baton, opening a gash that took 12 staples to close. According to BuzzFeed, the city has paid out around $900,000 to settle accusations against Marrero, yet he still remains on the force.
Instead of being fired, officers are put on “dismissal probation” which, as BuzzFeed explains, is “a penalty with few practical consequences.” This means these officers often continue doing their jobs without the public knowing about their records. While it’s effectively impossible in many states to obtain a police officer’s disciplinary history, three states in the country—New York, Delaware, and California—go above and beyond with laws that specifically make officers’ personnel records confidential.
There has never been much question that NYPD officers act with impunity. But now we have an even better understanding of just how deep the problems run.