Not Bias, But Donuts

If it came from anyone else, the police union would protest. But it came from the brass. The  New York Times reports on the defense of the NYPD in the trial of Floyd v. City of New York, before SDNY Judge Shira Scheindlin on the constitutionality of stop & frisk:


Ten percent of them were malcontents who worked as little as possible. Unless they are being paid overtime, officers seem to avoid writing summonses. Indeed, some police officers need to be weaned of the idea that they are paid to drive around in their patrol cars, eating doughnuts.

This from Super Chief Joseph J. Esposito, the highest ranking uniformed member of the force.  The deputy commissioner for labor relations, John Beirne, confirmed.

“I think we’re charged with trying to get the police officers to work, do the things that they’re getting paid for.”
So it’s not exactly serve and protect?  Apparently, it’s more about overtime.


In some precincts, Mr. Esposito noted, most enforcement activity, like ticket writing, occurred when officers were paid time-and-a-half overtime, instead of during their regular workweek.

“It’s a question as to why they can see activity when they are being paid overtime as opposed to not being able to see activity when they are on straight time,” Mr. Esposito testified.

Or is it not a question of “seeing activity” at all, but needing a make an extra buck and nabbing the nearest kid to do so?


Unofficial photo of support for New York City Police Officers from their brothers in California. Person on the left is undercover.

What is happening at this trial, where the police management has now verified the accuracy of almost every negative stereotype about police there is, from donuts to laziness to greediness to caring nothing about the public to putting their own financial self-interest above that of society, in a scorched earth war to preserve their authority to toss young black men at will, is that every myth built around New York’s Finest is revealed as a sham. 

Whether they win or lose, there is no denying the perception of police from their own that contradicts the carefully crafted image of police developed over the past 100 years. Are there great cops? Sure, but only 10%.  Good cops, yes, but they aren’t nearly as honorable, honest or motivated as they would have us believe?  Bad cops? Yup, we’ve got them too.  And which cop arrested the defendant? Which cop is on the stand? Which cop is telling the truth? 

And it’s only because there were enough lousy, lazy, worthless cops that they were forced to set “goals,” which are quotas with fewer letters. But it’s no big deal.


But perhaps the most defiant testimony came from Chief Michael Marino, who said that the “simple truth of the matter” is that the monthly quotas which officers complained about were quite low.

“The number I set was so low that I could do it in one day,” Chief Marino said about his time commanding a Brooklyn precinct.

“And reasonably do it without hurting anybody or picking on anybody.”

It would be easy without hurting anybody when done by a good cop, according to Chief Marino.  But they’re not all good, and so they do hurt people. They do pick on people. Because some think their job is to drive around in patrol cars eating donuts all day.

While I’ve had some harsh things to say about bad cops over the years, there is nothing I’ve written as damning about the general worth of police officers as this.  Don’t take my word for it. Take the sworn testimony of retired Chief Esposito.

15 comments on “Not Bias, But Donuts

  1. Dr. Sigmund Droid

    .
    They aren’t in a donut shop in that pic, are they?? Cuz the guy on the left looks like he ate one too many donuts already and potentially could swallow that little cop whole, if he still happened to be hungry . . .
    .

  2. Erika

    He left out “use their badge to allow them to sexually assault young women” from his list of negative police stereotypes but the Court Marshall from Nevada yesterday seems to have done his part to assure that one is covered.

  3. SHG

    He scares me too, but it could be just part of his undercover persona and he’s only in the donut shop waiting for Huggy Bear to show.

  4. SHG

    Yes, that would be glaring omission. It would have been better had you found a way to include donuts in your comment, however. Or bacon.

  5. Erika

    please don’t make me think about donuts – there is a Kryspy Kreme near my office so i do not need the temptation :)

  6. ShelbyC

    Sounds like the supervisors are the lazy ones. You can’t just measure performance by the number of stops, tickets, etc. You have to make sure that they are stopping people when appropriate, and not stopping people when not appropriate.

  7. mt45

    “Are there great cops? Sure, but only 10%. Good cops, yes, but they aren’t nearly as honorable, honest or motivated as they would have us believe? Bad cops? Yup, we’ve got them too.”

    I think you could say this about most professions that are “revered” in at least some circles, including teachers and public defenders.

  8. SHG

    First, police officer is not a profession, but an occupation. Second, neither teachers nor PDs are given shields and guns, together with the power to seize people off the street. That might change, however.  And like cops, PDs love donuts. Teachers,  not so much.

  9. Norm DeGuerre

    Public Defenders effing LOVE donuts.

    I think the reputation of public defenders is on the rise. It’s a much more competitive position than it was in the past. We’re still overcoming negative public perception.

    In contrast, the reputation of the police is on the decline. I think many police officers are riding on the good will achieved by my grandfathers’ generation who actually did “serve and protect” rather than “harass and annoy.”

  10. SHG

    First, my rules are no links in comments. This is the one and only time I’ll let you slide.

    Second, if you feel compelled to link to maple bacon donuts, at least show me the respect of recognizing that  I’ve already been there.

  11. SHG

    While it’s definitely a more competitive position than it used to be, I’m not sure how much the rep will improve. It’s the old Oscar Wilde definition of a cynic, someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  12. Bruce Coulson

    I don’t see why anyone is surprised. Police supervisors are like managers anywhere else. Throwing your subordinates under the bus in order to preserve a policy is SOP for any manager in private or public bureaucracies. Street officers have known for quite some time that loyalty is a one-way avenue. They get donuts for their supervisors, not the other way around. And who cares what the general public believes about the police? They still have the badges and guns. The important thing is to preserve the power of stop and frisk, no matter who has to get hurt along the way. Even your police officers.

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