New York’s Finest: Automate This
The NYPD robots are stupid and creepy, but at least a robot can't steal its ex-wife's car keys.
1:40 PM EDT on September 26, 2023
Credit where credit is due: The new NYPD robot, which looks like EVE from "Wall-E" took steroids and then melted a little, is funny. When our Mayor Eric Adams struck his signature heart-gesture pose with the armless "K5" robot when it was introduced to the public on Friday, that was also pretty funny. But the funniest thing of all is that the robot's debut last week prompted Adams to give the NYPD's boys in blue the "fast food cashier treatment," which is to say that he got excited by the prospect of replacing New York City's cops with giant, doofy machines.
"This is below minimum wage," Adams said at a press conference, referring to the alleged average $9/hour cost of leasing the robot from its creators at the California-based company Knightscope. "No bathroom breaks, no meal breaks." Ha! Hahahahaha!
This robot, which one critic described as a "trash can on wheels," will be deployed at the Times Square subway station and will reportedly only record video, and not audio, of its surroundings. It can make calls at the press of a button (although it's reportedly going to be connected to the subway Wi-Fi, so good luck with that). But mostly, it is yet another prop in the Adams administration's security theater. We watched him do the same thing earlier this year with those sinister, stupid Boston Dynamics dogs—that is, trumpet the fact that New Yorkers are being surveilled in public every day under the guise of embracing technology.
But at least an NYPD robot can't do any of the truly horrible stuff that human cops do…yet. This edition of New York's Finest features a teenager struck and killed by a cop car, five-figure wage theft, and ever-present domestic disputes.
- On September 12, Attorney General Letitia James's office released video footage of Deputy John Rosello, of the Onondaga County’s sheriff’s office, shooting and killing two teenagers, 17-year-old Dhal Apet and 15-year-old Lueth Mo, on September 9 as they fled from him in a stolen vehicle. Neither teen was driving, and Rosello did not have his body-worn camera on during the shooting.
- Also on September 12, Streetsblog NYC reported that when Sergeant Adrian DeJesus of the NYPD was fired from the department in February, he testified that a DMV supervisor advised him to falsely report an expired license plate on DeJesus's car as lost and continue driving around with it, because nobody would question a cop. Obviously, he listened. As Streetsblog noted, DeJesus "ended up reporting to DMV that one of the plates was lost, and then put a counterfeit plate—ordered from Amazon—on the front of his car so he could continue driving back and forth between his Brooklyn home and his Staten Island precinct." There are also a lot of "fun" details about how DeJesus was caught at a bar while on duty by two undercover NYPD officers and at a different bar on a day he had called in sick.
- On September 13, AG James announced a probe into the death of a Bronx resident on September 9 involving two NYPD cops, one of whom allegedly fired at the still-unidentified person, killing them.
- On September 14, 13-year-old Anthony Stinson died days after being hit by a Suffolk County police officer driving a cruiser while Stinson was riding his bike.
- On September 15, off-duty NYPD officer Matthew Arguinzoni was arrested and charged with petit larceny and child endangerment after he allegedly "tried to take his wife's keys as she was holding her two-year-old child."
- On September 17, an unidentified cop with the Johnstown Police Department shot and killed a man named Nathan Wood in his home. Wood, according to the attorney general's office, "came at one of the officers with a hammer."
- On September 19, NYPD Detective Douglas MacEwen was arrested and charged with assault after his wife claimed he pushed her to the ground and hit her in their Staten Island home. MacEwen said his wife slapped his face, and she has also been charged with assault.
- On September 22, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban reportedly overruled NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado's disciplinary recommendation for Sergeant Hugh Barry, who shot and killed 66-year-old Deborah Danner in her Bronx apartment in 2016 after she allegedly swung a baseball bat at him. Instead of outright terminating Barry, as Maldonado had recommended, Caban instead decided to force him to resign. In five years, Barry will be eligible for an NYPD pension.
- Also on September 22, acting New York State Police Superintendent Steven Nigrelli announced his retirement, coincidentally after an investigation of workplace harassment allegations took him out of consideration for the permanent role.
- On September 24, NYC Department of Correction employee Preston Ritter was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless endangerment.
- On September 25, NYC Department of Correction Captain Brice Williams was charged with grand larceny for cashing in at least $14,000 in fraudulent payments while "working" on Rikers Island. Via the Bronx District Attorney's Office: "The investigation found that Willaims on some occasions either came late or didn’t show up to work. One incident in which he claimed to work overtime, the defendant was instead at a sushi restaurant in New Jersey." Honestly…me as hell.
- Also on September 25, the New York Daily News reported that current NYC Sheriff Anthony Miranda wrote a "good guy letter" for Sergeant Jefferson “Bumpy” Rodriguez—who was fired in 2010 for moonlighting as a strip club bouncer—so that Rodriguez would have an easier time obtaining a gun permit. He sounds like a great guy!
- Finally, on September 25, the Legal Aid Society dropped a list of the NYPD officers who've racked up the most money in civil lawsuit payouts from 2013 until this year. Some "highlights":
- Officer Pedro Rodriguez’s payout total tops the list at $12,050,000, thanks to three different lawsuits—one of which involved a $12,000,000 payout after a former NYPD officer Pavel Kuznetsov "tripped and fell" on 17-year-old Jimmy Alvarado while chasing him, breaking the teenager's neck. The suit alleged Rodriguez and other NYPD officers who were present "had the time and a realistic opportunity to prevent [Kuznetsov] from chasing, seizing and tackling Mr. Alvarado to the ground, but failed to do so," and actually proceeded to cuff and arrest the injured teen as he repeatedly told the cops he couldn't feel or move his legs.
- Sergeant Edwin Ching, Detective Ryan Bracconeri, Sergeant Jeffrey Griffin, and Detective Liam Swords each have payouts in excess of $8 million. Bracconeri, Swords, Griffin and Ching racked up their biggest payouts—$6,900,000 and $1,275,000—when they were named in a suit by two different defendants who were in a car that then-NYPD Officer Brendan Cronin randomly opened fire on with his service weapon, after he and the other cops got drunk on their lunch break.
- Sergeant David Grieco has been named in 48 police misconduct-related lawsuits since 2013, more than any other individual cop—and yet, his misconduct record is nowhere to be found in the NYPD database, according to a report from the Intercept.
Got information about any bad behavior from the cops that we missed? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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