The supposed purpose of holding police officers and law enforcement agencies (LEA) accountable is to get and keep bad cops off of the force. However, in the City of New York, according to the Intercept, cops who have been stripped of their law enforcement training credentials are somehow, someway, allowed to get their credentials back and continue their careers in law enforcement.
Using the Freedom of Information Act’s provisions, the Intercept identified 27 law enforcement officers whose official misconduct had precluded them from keeping their license to be cops yet were allowed back on the force.
New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), in 2016, were given authority to revoke the training certificates for what TFTP calls “Gypsy Cops.” Gypsy cops are law enforcement personnel who stay at an LEA long enough to get into trouble (sometimes killing someone in the line of duty), only to resign and find employment at another LEA. At least in New York, it seems such Gypsy Cops have found a work-around within the system which allows them to get re-trained and re-hired, even without their new employers being aware of their troubled work history.
According to the Intercept, 45 other states have such decertification measures but make it very difficult for dirty cops to get back into the profession. New York, apparently, still has much work to do in order to seal up the cracks whereby ineligible officers can get rehired.
Since 2016, the DCJS has decertified over 1,000 police officers, correctional officers, and security guards. But these decertifications occur only when an officer is fired or quits, allowing officers with patters of misconduct to evade state regulators.
Officers are also transferred within a department to avoid further disciplinary actions. Of the 1,000 officers decertified since 2016, the Intercept was able to track how many got back into some type of law enforcement and interaction with the public as private security.
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The Intercept and New York Focus identified 21 former NYPD officers who moved to new police, public safety, or private security positions after being accused of wrongdoing substantiated by New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, and 50 more who moved to new positions after being named in lawsuits alleging excessive use of force, false testimony, or false arrest.
We at TFTP have been holding police accountable for years and we’ve seen many more egregious cases of cops being allowed to keep or get their jobs back. But what is more disturbing is just how quickly cops who should be fired and sent to jail are exonerated for actions, if the general public had committed, would have sent them to prison for life.
In 2017, Matt Agorist, editor-in-chief of TFTP, covered the assassinations of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, an unarmed couple driving a car and leading dozens upon dozens of police in a police chase. When they were eventually stopped, six officers spent 19 seconds making sure they never drove again, or took another breath for that matter.
They unloaded 137 rounds into the vehicle killing Russell and Williams instantly. Mind you if any member of the general public had stopped a fleeing suspect and shot them 137 times they would’ve gone to prison for life. But since all the officers involved had qualified immunity, they were all allowed to keep their peace officer credentials. Only one of the officers was fired but he was allowed to seek employment elsewhere. Not one officer went to prison for killing an unarmed couple. Agorist wrote in his TFTP piece:
In what can only be referred to as a travesty of justice and a disgrace to the integrity of police departments nationwide, five officers who took part in the 137-shot, execution-style fusillade that killed an unarmed couple — will get their jobs back. The sixth cop, Michael Brelo will remain free from jail but has been fired. He has since become a gypsy cop, scrounging for a job at any department that will hire him.
While the Intercept seems to be on the right path of holding LEAs accountable for firing and disallowing cops from being rehired, police officers routinely get away with high crimes and misdemeanors. Such crimes should lead to convictions but Police Unions and sympathetic juries make it almost impossible to get those convictions. Until the qualified immunity loophole is closed, Americans will continue to see its citizenry abused and neglected in Police State USA.