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Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Michael Daragjati, cop accused of racism-fueled false arrest, case prompts probe of NYPD policy

In the wake of the arrest of a racist Staten Island cop accused of violating a black man’s civil rights, several elected officials have called for a federal probe of the NYPD stop and frisk policy.

“I have never been stopped and frisked,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said Wednesday about the tactic that leads to hundreds of thousands of blacks and Latinos being stopped by cops each year.

“But I can no longer look mothers and grandmothers in the eye, knowing in the bottom of my heart that there is a two-tiered justice system.”

Stringer – as well as State Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) and City Councilmen Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) – said the behavior of Officer Michael Daragjati is not an isolated incident.

A judge this week slammed Daragjati as “a blatant racist” after he was busted for violating a man’s civil rights by fabricating charges against him.

“I fried another n—–,” Daragjati crowed last April, according to a transcript of a phone conversation the feds intercepted while he was under investigation for insurance fraud.

Adams, a retired NYPD captain, said thousands of minorities have been swept into the criminal justice system, without justification, to meet illegal quotas.

Those stopped, he said, later find it difficult to get jobs or get accepted into college.

“We are criminalizing thousands of young people in New York City,” Adams said. “What is it going to take before we realize this is a citywide problem?”

Jesus Gonzalez, 26, a community organizer with Make The Road New York, a Bushwick-based group that promotes justice and equality, said he has been stopped more than 20 times.

In the most recent incident, he was put against the wall by police officers and patted down, apparently because he had said hello to a drug dealer.

Gonzalez identified himself to the officers, and when they checked with their supervisors, he was let go.

“But people were staring,” he said. “They’re looking at me. They know me. It was humiliating.”

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the department knew Daragjati was trouble and was being investigated by Internal Affairs when his comments were captured on tape.

“More broadly, police stops save lives, especially in the minority community, which benefited most from the 2,734 fewer murders in the first eight years of the Bloomberg administration compared to the prior eight,” Browne said.

“While murders and shootings are down dramatically from prior years in part because of police stops, mainly young men of color last year represented over 90% of murder and shooting victims.”

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