Josh Williams, Beaten by Cops in June, Gets Specious Charges Dropped

Prosecutors in Brooklyn yesterday dismissed all charges against Josh Williams, a gay man who was beaten by police officers outside the 79th Precinct station house on June 2.

Williams [pictured at right], 26, had been charged with resisting arrest following the violent early morning encounter in which he was slammed against a car by police and onto the sidewalk, after an officer falsely accused him of urinating on the station house. At least one of the officers used a homophobic slur in the encounter. The case was dismissed for insufficient evidence on a motion by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.

An Internal Affairs investigation into the actions of the police officers is ongoing.

The Voice's account of the incident and a video taken by one of Williams's friends are here.

NYPD Tapes Update: Kelly's Crime Stats Panel Finally Releases Its Report, Things Not All Rosy for the Commish

A committee formed by New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly to look into the accuracy of the city's crime numbers finally released its report yesterday in an abruptly called press conference at police headquarters.

The committee was created in January 2011, and the report was initially supposed to be complete in six months. But over the ensuing two years and six months, until yesterday afternoon, not a word emerged about it, and Kelly was accused of delaying the report's release on purpose.

Despite that cynical perception, the finished product is filled with interesting insights into the NYPD's crime reporting, a process which may seem esoteric, but is actually the bedrock on which the city's perception of public safety is built.

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Stop-and-Frisk Recap: Things Getting Heated at City Hall

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Well, things are certainly getting interesting over at City Hall over stop-and-frisk. Here's a recap: First, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's signature tactic gets a federal trial in the class-action case Floyd v. City of New York. The city leaks a report critical of the judge in the case, alleging she's biased.

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Judge in Whistleblower Cop Case Blocks City Move to Fire Him

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A federal judge has blocked the city from taking whistleblower cop Adrian Schoolcraft to a departmental trial in an effort to fire him.

After reporting allegations of police misconduct in Brooklyn's 81st Precinct, Schoolcraft was dragged from his apartment on October 31, 2009, by police and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psych ward.

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NYPD Warrant Squad Cops Wear Controversial "Hunting of Man" T-Shirts

Members of the NYPD's Queens Warrant Squad were spotted last week wearing T-shirts imprinted with a quote that some folks might find just a little bit offensive. A photo is at right. The quote reads, "There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter." The quote is correctly attributed to Ernest Hemingway.

Two people who saw warrant squad cops in the shirts on a couple of mornings last week outside of the Queens courthouse at 125-01 Queens Boulevard offered their critique. "I find it highly offensive for the NYPD to have an official shirt with this on the back. ... You don't hunt men, you hunt animals," said one observer.

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Bloomberg Mum So Far on Alleged Police Assault on Gay Man; Critics Gather at Police Headquarters Today At 2 p.m.

Caleb Ferguson
The Voice asked a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a comment on the violent encounter between 79th Precinct police and three young gay men, which left one of the men with stitches, bruised ribs, and a black eye, and received no response.

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Brooklyn Police Beat Gay Man and Use Homophobic Slurs, Victim and Friends Say [VIDEO]

Caleb Ferguson
A 26-year-old gay man was beaten eight days ago just outside Brooklyn's 79th Police Precinct by police officers who made homosexual slurs, the victim and two of his roommates who witnessed the incident tell the Voice.

The encounter, which took place around 4 a.m. on Sunday, June 2, and is under investigation by NYPD Internal Affairs, erupted after an officer standing in the precinct parking lot mistakenly accused one of the men of urinating on the side of the stationhouse, and then called in as many as 5 other cops to join in the assault.

Williamsburg waiter Josh Williams [pictured above], 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds, suffered a laceration on his face that required four stitches, bruised ribs, a black eye, and scrape on his torso. Williams and his roommates--Tony Maenza and Ben Collins, both 24--were then arrested on specious charges in what they call an effort to cover-up the attack. Maenza made an iPhone video of a portion of the incident.

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Uh Oh, Ray Kelly, Those NYPD Legal Claims Continue to Rise Way Ahead of Other Agencies

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Legal claims against the NYPD are still rising, outpacing those of all other agencies, Comptroller John Liu tells us. New police action claims--false arrest, shooting, excessive force, civil rights claims, etc.-- rose 22 percent in fiscal year 2012, nearly doubling over the past five years. However, the number of new claims against all other agencies dropped 19 percent in FY 2012 as compared with FY 2011, and plummeted 10 percent over the past five fiscal years.

Here's a quote from Liu: "The growing number of new claims against the NYPD will cost taxpayers more money, and is a measure of public frustration with the agency. This disturbing and persistent trend at the NYPD must be addressed by the Bloomberg Administration in order to keep New York truly the safest big city."

Shira Scheindlin, Federal Judge in Stop-and-Frisk Trial, Distills Debate Over Controversial Tactic

The judge in the stop-and-frisk trial Friday offered an interesting explanation of her view on the case, and a key element of the city's defense. It came at a point where in questioning a plaintiff's expert, a city lawyer was trying to make the point that the tactic is an effective crime strategy.

Judge Shira Scheindlin blocked the line of questioning, saying her role is not to weight the effectiveness of stop-and-frisk, but whether the tactic as used by the NYPD is constitutional. "Whether this is good or bad is of no interest," she said from the bench. "What I mean by that is there are effective police tactics that might be good for reducing crime but that are unconstitutional. The Court's interest is only with the constitution, not with the effectiveness."

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Steven Mauriello, NYPD Tapes Precinct Commander, Denies Quotas in Stop-and-Frisk Trial

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At times combative, the former commander of Brooklyn's 81st Precinct testified yesterday in the stop-and-frisk class-action lawsuit that he never approved of quotas, even when confronted with recordings of him and his supervisors ordering officers to make certain numbers.

Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello testified after a second batch of the recordings, made by Officer Adrian Schoolcraft in 2008 and 2009, were played in court. The recordings were the basis for the Village Voice's 2010 "The NYPD Tapes" series.

Questioned by Jonathan Moore, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in Floyd v. City of New York, Mauriello, cutting a fine line, insisted he never ordered cops to hit a specific number, but there are what he called "productivity standards" and officers could be disciplined for failing to meet them. At other times, he insisted there was no punishment for failure to make the "goals." "There are no quotas," he said, adding, "We want activity. So it's not about numbers. It's about the officer working. If there is a crime happening, I expect him to make an arrest."

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