Today's non-startling revelation that NYPD spokesman Paul Browne lied about Commissioner Ray Kelly's involvement in an anti-Islam propaganda documentary got us thinking about some of the other times the NYPD was less than forthright. Come, friend, take a stroll down Prevarication Lane, where the untruths grow like toxic mushrooms along the banks of the Browne's babbling Bullshit Brook:
- Browne Lies About Officer Getting Punched Before Councilmember's Arrest: City Councilmember Jumaane Williams said today that Browne's statements on the anti-Islam documentary are "far from the first time that he has displayed his penchant for questionable judgment, continual misrepresentation of events or blatant lying. I have seen this firsthand." Williams, who wants Browne fired, was referring to the mysterious man who allegedly punched an NYPD officer in the face at last year's West Indian Day parade, which Browne cited as justification for the arrests of Williams and another city official. This non-existent man who supposedly punched a cop was never arrested. Williams was.
- NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly Says The NYPD Doesn't Have Quotas, Just "Productivity Goals": Yeah, that's the ticket. Goals, not quotas. And cops can shoot down planes, too! We suppose you could call this semantic spin, not lying, but last year a jury decided the NYPD had a policy "regarding the number of arrests officers were to make." Denying this whatever you call it is not very truthy, is it?
- Video Evidence Contradicts Browne's Sworn Deposition: In the transcript of a deposition [pdf] conducted in 2008 for a lawsuit filed by the 5 Borough Bike Club, Browne said he'd only attended one Critical Mass ride; a small one he visited near Columbus Circle. This video shows Browne working another Critical Mass ride, which took place on the eve of the Republican Convention in 2004 and resulted in the arrest of hundreds of cyclists. Same Browne, different day!
- Browne Creatively Spins OWS Pepper Spray Incident: Browne justified Anthony Bologna's pepper-spraying of two peaceful demonstrators by saying that the officer had been trying to get at individuals who'd attempted to destroy a mesh barrier. Videos shot from multiple angles show Browne's nose growing like pot plants in a hydroponic hothouse.
Naomi Wolf's arrest, courtesy @MikeShanePhoto
- NYPD Lies To Naomi Wolf, Then Arrests Her:Author and activist Naomi Wolf says that cops were telling Occupy Wall Street protesters they weren't allowed to be on the sidewalk outside an event space—where Governor Cuomo was receiving an award from the Huffington Post—but protesters actually were allowed to be there, because she checked the permit. When Wolf made a stink about the Constitution or whatever, they arrested her.
- Browne Lies About Officer Being Elbowed Before Decking OWS Protester: The NYPD's spokesman claims that this Occupy Wall Street protester elbowed a cop before the cop punched him in the face, but we broke this story and can confirm there was no physical provocation preceding the punch, just a "dirty look." And none of the various videos show any elbowing. "On the off chance they were intending to arrest him for injuring the captain's fist with his jaw, I strongly suggest that you decide not to add insult to injury and avoid such a retaliatory move," attorney Ron Kuby wrote in a letter to the NYPD and the Manhattan DA's office.
- Cops Plant Drugs to Make Arrest Quotas: A former NYPD Detective testified last year that he regularly saw police plant drugs on innocent people as a way to meet arrest
quotas, er "productivity goals." Apparently, planting drugs is so common that when the drug is cocaine, they call it "flaking." Is this technically lying, or just sinister deception? Or maybe the NYPD planted pot in our lunch and now we're paranoid???
- Kelly and Bloomberg Sensationalize Stoner's "Terror Threat": At the height of the bad press surrounding the NYPD's heavy-handed handling of Occupy Wall Street, Kelly and Bloomberg held a big press conference to announce the arrest of terror suspect Jose Pimentel, a local stoner who allegedly had vague plans to build a bomb. But the FBI's refusal to take the case based on "holes" and entrapment issues—as well as the revelation that Pimentel was mentally unstable and had attempted to circumcise himself— have many wondering if Pimentel was ever a serious threat. File this one in the shadowy border land where fearmongering meets fibbing.
- The NYPD Doesn't Spy On Muslims: No, really! "We don't racially profile, we follow leads wherever those leads take us," Kelly told the City Council during a hearing about the NYPD's broad surveillance of Muslim communities, which was revealed in a series of damning Associated Press articles. In 2002, the AP reports, veteran CIA division head David Cohen came out of retirement to run a secretive NYPD intelligence team, and the NYPD has acknowledged that it sends undercover officers into ethnic and Muslim neighborhoods to act like "a human camera" and "map the human terrain" in mosques, hookah bars, and Internet cafes. But Kelly insists, "We don't do it ethnically, we do it geographically." And if you believe that, there's a bridge the NYPD would like to sell you.
- NYPD Lied About Existence of "HipHop Task Force": And finally, an old school goodie from way back in 2004, when NYPD brass repeatedly denied the existence of an intelligence squad that kept tabs on rap stars and their entourages. Then the NYPD admitted it, after the Miami Herald reported that at least one NYPD officer had traveled to Miami to liaison with cops preparing for the Source Awards. Nice work if you can get it!