Video: Man Throws a Molotov Cocktail into a Brooklyn Bodega

Categories: Arson, NYPD

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NYPD Connect via YouTube
The assailant outside 3901 Fort Hamilton Parkway.
The NYPD is searching for a man who lobbed a Molotov Cocktail into a 24-hour Brooklyn bodega early Wednesday morning, around: 1:55 a.m. According to police, the suspect had been in the store an hour earlier, and fought with the clerk, before returning to torch the place.

The clerk sustained minor injuries after his hair and jacket caught on fire during the blaze.

Police describe the suspect as male, Hispanic, in his thirties, between 5'8" to 5'10" -- and, as you can see from the video -- wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.

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In Adrian Schoolcraft Lawsuit, NYPD Can Only Access Some of Graham Rayman's Reporting Notes

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Whistleblower former police officer Adrian Schoolcraft has been suing the City of New York and the NYPD since 2010. That was two years after he began secretly recording his bosses at the 81st Precinct as they illegally ordered their subordinates to manipulate crime data and meet certain quotas of arrests and stop-and-frisks. That staggering police misconduct was, of course, the subject of former Voice reporter Graham Rayman's "The NYPD Tapes," which detailed not just Schoolcraft's recordings, but the NYPD brass's reaction to them: on Halloween 2009, Schoolcraft was dragged from his house and involuntarily committed to Jamaica Hospital's psychiatric ward, where he remained for six days.

Schoolcraft sued the city in federal court, alleging that the hospitalization violated his civil rights and was nothing more than retaliation for his whistleblowing. In December, lawyers for the city subpoenaed Schoolcraft's tapes from Rayman , also asking for his notes, correspondence, emails and other reporting materials.

"I have no intention of cooperating," Rayman told the New York Times at the time, adding that submitting to such a subpoena would be "malpractice" for a journalist and would have "a chilling effect on what all journalists do."

In a ruling issued yesterday, U.S. Southern District Court Judge Ronald Sweet ruled that Rayman doesn't have to turn over much of his reporting material. Although the city will get access to some non-confidential materials, they won't get Schoolcraft's tapes.

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NYPD Encourages Everyone To Tweet Their Photos With the Cops, Things Go Predictably Awry

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Photo by C.S. Muncy
A woman is arrested at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration protesting police brutality.
When government agencies and social media meet in the beautiful golden field of Twitter, nothing can go awry, right? That timeless principle was demonstrated yet again this afternoon, when someone at the New York Police Department got a brilliant idea: encourage the citizenry to tweet their photos with the cops! They can use the hashtag #MyNYPD, and we can all come away with a renewed appreciation for the beautiful and sensitive ways the police protect and serve New Yorkers. Maybe some of them will even show up on the department's official Facebook page.

Or, um, not. Former Village Voice staff writer Nick Pinto said it best:

We are certain you can guess what happened next.

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This is What the NYPD's Failed Muslim Surveillance Program Actually Looked Like

Categories: NYPD

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On Tuesday, the NYPD announced it would dismantle its Demographics Unit, the controversial squad of plainclothes officers tasked with monitoring and gathering intelligence in New York's Muslim neighborhoods. The announcement was greeted with a mix of praise (for the move, considered long overdue) and skepticism (that the department would actually end the practice of mass, suspicion-less surveillance of Muslims).

The NYPD's announcement came a week after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and his intelligence chief, John Miller, met with Muslim advocates, according to the New York Times.

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NYPD Dissolves Unit That Spied on Muslims, But Is the Spying Really Over?

Categories: Islam, NYPD

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Police Commissioner Bill Bratton
Yesterday, the New York Times was first to report that the New York Police Department has abandoned its Demographics Unit, also known as the Zone Assessment Unit, a program that spied on Muslims in their mosques, student groups, neighborhoods, and homes, and which was the subject of two separate lawsuits.

Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York told the paper that she and other community leaders had met with new-old Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and other senior NYPD officials last week. "She and others in attendance," the paper writes, "said the department's new intelligence chief John Miller told them that the police did not need to work covertly to find out where Muslims gather and indicated the department is shutting the unit down."

It's interesting news, and perhaps an indication of a different and, dare we say, less blatantly discriminatory, approach to law enforcement. But lawyers for spied-upon Muslims have just one question: Is the spying actually going to stop?


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Dennis Guerra, NYPD Officer Lost in Coney Island High-Rise Fire, "Did Not Die in Vain"

Categories: Arson, NYPD

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C.S. Muncy
Fellow NYPD officers carry Dennis Guerra's casket into St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church
On Monday morning, members of the NYPD filed quietly into the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn. They were there to mourn one of their own: Dennis Guerra died five days earlier of severe smoke inhalation. He was 38 years old, a father of four, and the first New York police officer to lose his life in the line of duty in more than two years.

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The FDNY and the NYPD's Annual Charity Hockey Game Turned Into A Giant Brawl

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Screenshot via Instagram user the1andonly_dj
This time yesterday, Police Commissioner William Bratton was filed with boyish excitement over the New York Police Department's annual charity hockey match with the FDNY at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island:

He hasn't sent out a follow-up tweet celebrating the NYPD's 8-5 victory, probably because everyone is busy talking about the enormous, bench-clearing brawl that broke out between the two teams in the second half.

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NYPD "Celebrates" Women's History Month With Incomprehensible Video

Categories: NYPD

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New York Times, 1912
Isabella Goodwin
The New York Police Department is celebrating Women's History Month with a video in which no words are spoken, and the words that are written are completely illegible.

The 4 minute and 50 second film shows a timeline...We think? We can't be entirely sure because at its normal size, the video's print is too small to make out and, at any larger size, too pixelated and blurry. It could really just be excerpts from sexual harassment lawsuits filed against the NYPD over the years -- the latest of which includes the claim by a 29-year-old officer that a sergeant in her precinct "called her his 'work p----'" -- and no one would be able to tell the difference.


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Bratton Cracking Down On Grave Subway Menaces: Acrobats, Sleepers and Churro-Selling Ladies

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Photo by Flickr user Ken Stein
A woman brazenly sells churros underground.
It's been two months since new-old New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton was sworn in, and much of the press coverage so far has focused on the NYPD's renewed interest in jaywalkers as part of Vision Zero, the initiative to end traffic deaths. But as the New York Times reports, much of that has focused on walkers, not drivers: jaywalking tickets are up eightfold over the same time last year. That's been sort of a mixed bag from a public relations perspective, with the nadir being 84-year-old Kang Chun Wong, who says he was beaten up by police officers trying to give him a citation.

As it turns out, Bratton's sick of talking about jaywalking and most especially Wong's alleged beating, which he calls "an isolated event." Instead, he'd rather discuss the other big plans he's got to make your city even safer, starting in the subway. Capital New York points us to a delightful interview Bratton did with WPIX yesterday morning where he laid out his plans to tackle the biggest menaces of the underground: sleepers, panhandlers, churro-sellers, and the "It's showtime!" dudes.

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Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against NYPD For Spying on Muslims, Rules It Was Legal

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Image via Muslim Advocates
Lead plaintiff Syed Hassan, center, at a press conference on the lawsuit last year.
A federal judge in New Jersey has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the New York Police Department by a group of Muslim individuals and community groups, a suit that had alleged that the NYPD's surveillance of them infringed on their constitutional rights. In a decision released yesterday, New Jersey U.S. District Judge William J. Martini ruled that the spying itself was legal, that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the case, and that even if they did, they couldn't prove that the NYPD had acted with the intention of discriminating against Muslim Americans.

This suit, filed in December 2012, was the first brought by Muslim groups against the NYPD for their surveillance program, uncovered by the Associated Press in 2011. (A second suit was filed in New York in June of 2013 by the American Civil Liberties Union.) The lead plaintiff in the New Jersey case was Syed Farhaj Hassan, a Shi'a Muslim and Iraq war veteran. The suit's other plaintiffs included a students' association, a council of imams in New Jersey, a beef sausage company, and several other individuals, including the principal of a grade school for Muslim girls. The suit was filed by lawyers from Muslim Advocates, a San Francisco-based group, and the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, neither of whom are very happy with the judge's ruling.

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