New York’s Sickest Are Back

Memories of Abner Louima, possibly the singular sickest act ever perpetrated by police officers of the city of New York, haven’t yet faded.  And the wound is about to be reopened.  Michael Mineo claimed that he, like Louima, was sodomized by a cop at the Prospect Park subway station on October 15th.  The police disputed the claim.  The New York Times reports:

About the only facts each side can agree on is that the man, Michael Mineo, 24, a body piercer from the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood, ended up in a hospital after the police, believing he was smoking marijuana, chased him into a subway station, tackled him and, after finding no drugs, let him go with a summons for disorderly conduct.

Yet Mineo found himself at the hospital with a torn rectum and injuries consistent with anal penetration, which he claims was done by a police radio while other officers held him down.  The information was so sketchy, witness statements so inconsistent, that this was either another horrific assault on a citizen, or another bizarre lie.  The police department claimed that any injuries were “pre-existing” from Mineo’s volitional conduct, and he’s now using them to “get” the police.  The alleged facts differ wildly, according to whom one speaks. 

Now, it appears that all of this is about to change.  From Newsday,

The fifth officer, who works for the Transit Bureau, is considered a witness because he got to the platform as the other officers were subduing Mineo, sources say. However, he is weighing a deal with prosecutors out of concern the evidence may point toward his own culpability.

A grand jury has been convened to sort out the mess and, hopefully, ascertain what really happened.  With this turn of events, a police officer ready to break through the Blue Wall of Silence to reveal the truth, everything could change.

The story of Michael Mineo’s alleged sadistic attack has been floating around for more than a week now, but I’ve been reluctant to post about it given the hugely disparate stories and the fact that it is not beyond the pale that someone might concoct a story like this.  Of course, allegations that an officer sodomized someone while others held him down are so fundamental sick that they shouldn’t be repeated carelessly.  It now appears time to address this.

The Abner Louima case revealed two independent forms of conduct that were beyond shocking and outrageous.  First, that a police officer would sodomize Louima.  Second, that a precinct full of police officer, men and women sworn to protect us, who would hide behind the Blue Wall of Silence to protect a cop who would do this.  Both, in my view, are reprehensible.  The former was prosecuted.  The latter was ignored. 

There is nothing tolerable about police officer concealing this disgusting criminal conduct simply because the perpetrator wore a badge as well.  They did nothing to stop it.  They did nothing to prosecute it. 

The unnamed fifth officer, who may now reveal what the police did to Michael Mineo, isn’t at all a hero should he come forward.  If he was there when it happened, he should have done something to stop it.  He didn’t.  He should have come forward with the truth immediately.  He didn’t.  He should come forward now, without worrying more about the impact on him than on telling the truth.  He isn’t.  But at least he may come forward.  This is a start.

We hear from cops about how wonderful they are, all they do for us, how we don’t appreciate them, how nobody understands.  Bull.  Show me one cop who hasn’t seen a fellow cop commit a crime and kept his mouth shut.

But it’s different when the offense is stealing a donut, or “tuning up” a recalcitrant perp.  To hold someone down while he’s being sodomized is sick.  To watch and do nothing is sick.  To know about this and keep your mouth shut is sick.  We can’t trust cops to be honest in general, but when they are willing to conceal such an horrific act, they have hit bottom. 

Now we’ll see what officer five has to say, and whether New York’s Finest are really New York’s Sickest.

9 thoughts on “New York’s Sickest Are Back

  1. Karl Mansoor

    I agree with you. There is absolutely no defense for officers who were aware of the Louima incident and concealed it. Same goes for the Mineo issue if it happened, or in any way even remotely near, as Mineo states. There is no honor in being complicit and then coming forward.

    I have a slightly different perspective in reference to your statement of:
    “We hear from cops about how wonderful they are, all they do for us, how we don’t appreciate them, how nobody understands. Bull. Show me one cop who hasn’t seen a fellow cop commit a crime and kept his mouth shut.”

    Yes there are whiny, ungrateful, undeserving cops – lots of them – but there also are some police officers who genuinely strive to serve the public and uphold constitutional rights. Some actually limit their use of force to what I believe you would deem reasonable and honestly try to communicate effectively with people. I won’t argue with you about what percentage.

    There also are some law enforcement officers – granted, it is very rare, maybe about as likely as a McCain sticker on a Prius – who do speak up about police misconduct. When that occurs, those officers are often ostracized by peers and even administrators. They face retaliation and almost always are forced out of a job – but they did speak up. Not because they were complicit and felt guilty, but because they recognized a wrong and said something about it. There are a few of those.

  2. SHG

    I don’t see cops as being one dimensional.  The same cop who will steal a few donuts or beat a perp to teach him a lesson will also save a child’s life.  There’s good and bad in the same mix.  It’s too simple to label any person all good or all evil.  Of course, the same is true of non-cops as well.

    The “Serpicos” of the world are indeed few, and can’t survive within existing police culture.  This leaves two options:  Either police culture has to change, or we just have to get accept police corruption.  Which should it be?

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