It started at a Foot Locker store in Bushwick, NY. Fifteen-year-old Isaiah Martinez was shot in the foot. Supposedly, he tried to cut in line to buy some special shoe. He offended the wrong person—a man or youth named “Ritchie,” he told police.
So how did the police find “Ritchie”?
The brilliant investigators of the NYPD went into Martinez’s Facebook account and found he had a fourteen-year-old friend named, Richard Gonzalez. On that basis alone, despite Martinez’s denials that Gonzalez was the perpetrator, they arrested Gonzalez and charged him with attempted murder.
The police now needed a confession since both the accused and the victim of the original attack denied that the accused was actually guilty. According to the family’s lawsuit, the police got hold of Gonzalez in the men’s room and ripped out his insulin pump, which gave him a needed regular insulin boost. They used this to intimidate him to confess to the shooting. When Gonzalez appeared in juvenile court he was “gagging, dizzy, weak, and nauseous” because his blood-sugar levels were high. In the days following he had to be sent to two hospitals and spent three nights handcuffed to the bed in one of them.
Gonzalez’s family could not afford the $75,000 bail, so he was sent to another juvenile prison where he ended up in the hospital twice more due to lack of insulin.
And then, finally, all the charges were dropped because—duh—there was never any evidence against him.
Gonzalez’s mother claims that they are now in danger because her son is regarded as a “snitch.” I have no idea if that is accurate or just away to try to get the powers that be to compensate her for what they have done to her and her son. When she had insisted that she be present when the police first question her fourteen-year-old, the cops denied her request and threatened her with jail.
As these and more stories about how the NYPD harass, torture, and kill people come out, always remember that this culture of violence and domination goes all the way to the top. As Ed Krayewski wrote recently in Reason,
In the last few weeks, a series of videos purporting to depict police brutality by the members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) have spread on the Internet. The most egregious showed the attempted arrest of Eric Garner for allegedly selling untaxed loose cigarettes. Cops placed Garner in what looked like a chokehold and the 400-pound asthmatic died in police custody. The incident was ruled a homicide by chokehold by the city’s medical examiner. In another case, a cop appeared to use a chokehold on a pregnant woman caught grilling in front of her house. Another showed a cop appearing to head stomp a man police were attempting to arrest because they had seen him with a small amount of marijuana—it was at least the man’s eighth arrest.
The substance of these incidents vary on the level and type of brutality while effecting an arrest but share one important trait: each incident began with a police engagement based on crimes that are non-violent in nature. Garner, before cops tried to arrest him, had adamantly denied that he was selling any untaxed cigarettes that day. The pregnant woman appeared only to be trying to cook some food on the sidewalk in front of her house. Marijuana is supposed to be decriminalized in the state of New York.
Yet in a press conference this week New York City’s progressive mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, insisted the police department would continue to “strictly enforce” such laws as the ones that led to the series of controversial police interactions. “The law is the law,” the mayor said. These kinds of laws, however, disproportionately affect the same kind of people—the poor and marginalized—that De Blasio and his ideological fellow-travelers adamantly claim to defend. Absent brutal encounters with police violations of petty laws can lead to thousands of dollars in fines, multiple court appearances, and even jail time. What amounts to a “minor inconvenience” in the eyes of the privileged political class that pushes these laws can have profound negative effects on the lives of normal people. Coupled with the threat of bodily harm or even death during the initial police encounter, such “petty” crimes become anything but for the people the government targets in its enforcement efforts.
Right, the law is the law. Just like, you know, traffic laws are completely enforced for de Blasio himself as much as anyone else.
“The law is the law” only works when not uttered by a hypocrite bully firing shots from behind his son’s afro.