Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New York's Tenderloin Corruption Lives

I'm surprised I didn't know the etymology of "Tenderloin" meaning the sleazy section of a city filled with bars and whores and drug dealers. I always assumed it alluded to the soft, fleshy parts of the professional women working in brothels.
I was wrong. The term was coined in 1876 by a New York City police captain who was describing how his life had changed after being reassigned from an upscale district of Manhattan to a precinct in the Bowery.
I've been having chuck steak ever since I've been on the force, and now I'm going to have a bit of tenderloin.
Meaning after years of being a poor but honest cop, he could now live bountifully off of all the bribes and protection payoffs he was getting working in the most lawless section of the city.

Of course, that was over a century ago and things have changes. Now, police corruption is not limited by geography. Any cop with an hand out and a black heart can earn significant supplemental income without accepting any bribes. And woe to any officer who tries to be honest.

Some cops believe in old fashioned corruption. These NYPD officers are using FBI databases as a resource to gain intelligence for their own lucrative criminal activities. But the big source of cash is rigging the system to get promotions.
  • Officers perjure themselves to gain convictions.
  • They plant evidence on innocent people. This accomplishes a couple things. First, it is a lot safer framing an innocent person than to try to arrest actual, possibly armed, criminals. Also, if an officer is taking protection payments from drug dealers he needs to be arresting somebody to keep his arrest numbers up.
  • Ah, the numbers. The NYPD puts it's officers on quotas. They are required to rack up arrests, it doesn't matter if arrests are bogus and the victims are eventually released. What matters is the raw number of arrests.
  • Alternatively, police will fail to report and pursue actual crimes, such as downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, so their statistics show a steady decrease in crime.
One honest officer who blew the whistle through channels was arrested by his colleagues and locked up in a psych ward for daring to question his superiors. Others have faced departmental discipline or been fired.

This last example has lots of supposition. Allegedly, a bank bribed a New York City judge to help the bank take (steal) a man's home. When the man publicly complained he was kidnapped, beaten, and murdered allegedly by two NYPD officers hired by the judge as muscle.

I've noted before that in several American cities the police are just another violent street gang, albeit with more impressive gang colors.

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