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New York’s Finest: World’s First Immortal Cop Survives Touching Fentanyl

Fraternizing with the Gilgo Beach killer, a fake 311 operator, and vetoes from the police commissioner.

NYPD officer on a motorcycle
(Mussi Katz / Flickr)

If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life—and according to a quote the New York Post grabbed from Grace Rose Baez's now-private Instagram account, the NYPD officer of 11 years loved her job. "I will never apologize for picking a career I love to do," she reportedly wrote. "There's always a bad one or two in the bunch, but that's not me." 

But Baez didn't just love being a cop—she is, allegedly, uniquely gifted with a quality many police officers across the country don't possess: The ability to touch fentanyl without completely freaking out. On October 19, Baez was arrested by federal authorities and charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distributing narcotics after she allegedly tried to sell a federal informant more than a kilo of heroin and 640 grams of fentanyl. According to federal prosecutors, Baez, who was assigned to modified desk duty in 2020, arranged parts of the drug deal while at work. Baez had been on modified duty since 2020 due to allegations of misconduct, according to the Post. Per court records, she was a defendant in a 2014 police misconduct case in which she and three other officers were accused of using excessive force and assaulting a man while arresting him, which resulted in a $30,000 settlement.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York, Baez gave the informant with a sample baggie of fentanyl in a pink Mentos Vitamin Gum bottle on October 17, and then handed over the rest of the drugs two days later, after which she was arrested alongside Cesar Martinez, a man whom she lived with. 

"These charges are extremely troubling because there is no place for corruption within the NYPD," Police Commissioner Edward Caban said in a statement. "If found guilty of these allegations, this officer will have tarnished the shield that she wore, as well as her sacred oath to New Yorkers." Reading between the lines, I can only imagine Caban penned these words with a weary shrug, disappointed that an officer with Baez's abilities chose not to use her powers for good.

Some more disappointing officers below: 

  • On October 10, Suffolk County police officers shot and killed 54-year-old fencer Alan Weber in his home after Weber, whom a friend described as "world-class," allegedly charged at them holding two "swords" and wearing a fencing mask. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison later said he reviewed the bodycam footage and called the shooting "justified." Attorney General Letitia James has since opened a legally mandated probe into the shooting.
  • On October 13, Commissioner Caban cleared Officer John Brennan of misconduct charges after the Civilian Complaint Review Board substantiated Alexander Pierre-Louis's claim that Brennan used an illegal chokehold on him in 2019. An NYPD assistant deputy commissioner of trials had disputed the review board's findings.
  • On October 18, an attorney for the victims of the Gilgo Beach Killer said at a press conference that he would be introducing a witness who claims that in 1996, she and her then-boyfriend, an NYPD detective referred to as "RW," went to alleged murderer Rex Heuermann's house in response to an ad Heuermann posted in a "swingers club." The two brought along one of the serial killer's probable victims, a woman named Karen Vergata. After their encounter, the witness wrote: "The woman I believe to be Karen suddenly ran outside, naked, and ran about by the garage. RW had gone to the back of the house to look for his belt, but he was then back in the car. RW told me not to worry about her, that she was okay, they were only playing a game. We left without her. I felt uneasy that we left without the woman." 
  • Also on October 18, NYPD Sergeant Braulio Aponte was arrested for drunk driving after allegedly showing up to work at the Queens Internal Affairs Bureau visibly intoxicated and stripped down to his underwear, with an open bottle of tequila on the floor of his car.
  • On October 22, the New York Daily News reported that Commissioner Caban "swooped in" and "saved" NYPD officer Willie Thompson from being fired, against the recommendation of an NYPD assistant deputy commissioner of trials. Thompson had slept with a witness in a 2021 carjacking case, dumped her for another woman, threatened the witness when she told an assistant district attorney about their relationship, and then lied to the same ADA about the relationship. The assistant deputy commissioner of trials found Thompson guilty of threatening his former lover, and recommended that he be fired—but Caban downgraded the punishment to disciplinary probation instead, writing that "while a severe penalty is warranted for the misconduct, separation from the department is not necessary." 
  • On October 23, NYPD officer John Madera was ordered to pay a $500 fine and forfeit 15 vacation days for his participation in a frankly batshit harassment campaign against Justin Sherwood, a private citizen who filed dozens of 311 complaints about all of the illegal parking jobs in front of Madera's downtown Brooklyn precinct. Madera accessed Sherwood's contact information, pretended to be a 311 operator, and threatened to cut Sherwood's access to the 311 system, while other cops sent him threatening text messages and phone calls. Some say there are still a ton of illegally parked cars in front of that downtown Brooklyn precinct to this day… 

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