Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NYC Officer Accused of Assault

The New York Times reports on the case which was initially described as sodomy with an antenna. Michael Mineo claimed that he was rousted in the subway by several of New York's Finest and among other things sodomized with an object he thought was an antenna. At the time it sounded like a most unlikely story, but brutal things like that have happened before. Now it seems the charge is a simple assault in which the nightstick of Officer Richard Kern came in contact with the rectum of Mr. Mineo.

Mr. Mineo, whom the police suspected of smoking marijuana, told investigators he was sodomized with an object while the officers grappled with him. A transit officer who took part in the arrest testified that Officer Kern touched Mr. Mineo’s buttocks with his baton.

Colleagues and supervisors of Officer Kern's have come out in support of him. They say he is a good officer with a clean record, definitely not someone who would do something like this. Yet...

Twice previously, Officer Kern was accused of using excessive force. but his lawyer said he was cleared in both cases by the Civilian Complaint Review Board. One of the incidents, in 2007, prompted two lawsuits that the city agreed to settle for a total of $50,000.

Officer Kern was accused of making unlawful arrests and manhandling people washing their coats in the laundry room of a Brooklyn housing project.

Like the two earlier lawsuits, it alleges that Officer Kern struck Mr. Acuna with his gun, unnecessarily sprayed him with Mace and choked him.

What's it sound like to you? I'd be the first one to point out that cops who do wrong should be given the benefit of the doubt like anybody else. But, shouldn't they be held to a higher standard? Shouldn't the public trust placed upon them demand more than it does of a regular citizen? What do you think?

What I think is Officer Kern is just 25 years old, has been on the job only a couple years, and has already been involved in several questionable situations. This doesn't happen to straight cops who conduct themselves properly. He sounds like a violent, dangerous young man with a badge and a gun. I don't know who's more frightening: guys like him or the criminals he's supposed to protect us from.

And what do you think about that Blue Wall of Silence, the colleagues and supervisors who unequivocally stand behind him. Only one Transit Cop reported that he'd seen something untoward. Cops protecting each other even when wrongdoing occurs, is what, some kind of loyalty? What do you think?


  1. Mike,

    I've known several cops throughout the years. Not one of them didn't have at least one complaint about excessive force against them. Ask your kids if they have a beef with you after so many years of parenting, if they say no, you aren't doing it right. (grin)

    I do think the techniques used for "pain compliance methods" can appear and can be harsh.

    I tend to doubt this story for a couple of reasons- first, no civilian witnesses have stepped forward. NYC isn't a small burg where they can happen unseen by anyone else.

    Second, his story is changing too much. I don't know about you, but I think I could probably tell the difference between a radio antenna and a nightstick being used.

    Lastly, his story isn't consistent with itself. If he was brutalized in such a fashion...where is the mention of his clothing being removed, pulled down, or evidence that it was torn. I think if someone used a nightstick or antenna, there would have to be a couple of layers of clothing in the way that needed to be removed. But no report of that in the story.

  2. Mike,

    Here is another story, I wonder about your take on it.

    Suspect "Allegedly" Opens fire

    "I heard the bang. I seen the muzzle flash, I saw the smoke and smelled the gunpowder," said Officer Nathanial Harper.

    Harper was about 10-feet away when the suspect, identified as Tony Burrell, allegedly opened fire on him with a semi-automatic weapon. Luckily the bullet whizzed past Harper.

    If the police are as crooked as some stories would lead us to believe, why is this piece of work still breathing?

    Now is this a gun control issue or a crime control issue?

    Burrell is a familiar face for the Philadelphia Police department. In August, Burrell was impaled on a fence while trying to elude police after ramming a patrol car with an ATV.

    Despite his 17 prior arrests, records show Burrell was released on $500 bail following the incident.

    I'm all for giving a person a second chance....but 17 arrests, out on bail?

    When do people like Burrell use up our compassion, show that he isn't changing and doesn't appear to want to change?

  3. +1 this has all the earmarks of a bullshit story. A cop pushes a guy in a bicycle down, and 15 cameraphone videos pop up on youtube inside 4 hours of the event....a guy gets butt-raped by a bunch of cops on a crowded subway platform and not only are there no videos, but nobody says Peep! Also was there a medical examination done while the man was arrested? Usally with forceful anal rape there's a good amount of bleeding and obvious discomphort.

    On a related note, I read a study once (i can dig it up tonight if you want) about how some of the most skilled doctors in the industry have the highest malpractice claims.

    Complaints don't nessisarily imply truth.

    Hell I'm complaining the Bob S. Farted in my Kitchen last night!

    BTW Bob, how are you doing? I heard you guys got some rough weather last night!

  4. Weer'd

    Thanks for asking, passed our little town by with nothing more than a strong breeze.

    You are right about people claiming things all the time...except for crooks. They are completely honest...that whole "honor among thieves" thing.

    They would never lie about a cop abusing them to try and get a lighter sentence/dropped charges from the D.A.

  5. "All the earmarks of a bullshit story" may sum it up for me too. I think the cop needs to be looked at very closely, but I have to admit I'd be surprised if the story holds together at this point.

    That 17-arrests guy out shooting guns is a good example of the failed criminal justice system. On this, I'm with you 100%, Bob. Guys like that should not be allowed to keep doing damage.