Yesterday, there was just one more story about the wrong person arrested. This post excerpts and resequences its details to emphasize the all-too-typical Blue Line behavior that makes me scared of ever having anything to do with any policeperson.
This sentence of NYT reporter Mr. Dwyer’s tells you the gist of what happened:
He wound up arrested one afternoon at gunpoint, taken to the 34th Precinct station house, held for several hours and accused of lying about a crime that he not only had nothing to do with, but that hadn’t even taken place.
[Outlier: Here it is from the perspective of the poor innocent, a Mr. Vansintjan, a young student here in Manhattan from Canada:]
“Someone ran at me with a gun drawn, screamed at me to get down to the ground, pushed me onto my knees, and then put my face in the ground.”
[Outlier: Those were the POLICE doing that to him. And was he suspected of murder, that he should be handled so aggressively? Violent battery? Rape? Pedophilia??!!]
Moments earlier, the police had received a report of a burglary in an apartment across from (Fort Tryon) park. A man said that two intruders had just left his apartment. “He pointed to an individual running…and identified him as one of the intruders,” said (a police spokesman). The chase led to Mr. Vansintjan.
As he was being held on the street, he said, “(the police) told me someone had reported the theft of a Macy’s bag.” He protested that he had been shopping.
The friends waiting for him were astonished to see (him) surrounded by eight police officers. “They came over and the police told them to get back,” he said. “I said, ‘Those are my friends.’ An officer asked me, ‘Oh, are they your accomplices?’”
Just before he was loaded into the police car, (Mr. Vansintjan) said, one of the officers looked at him. “He said, ‘I’m embarrassed,’”…
The man who reported the break-in…identified him as a burglar. At the station house, Mr. Vansintjan was unshackled and taken to an interrogation room. He said he was not told of his right to a lawyer, or to remain silent.
“After I told him what had happened, the detective said, ‘You know, what the other guy is saying doesn’t match up with your story,’ ” an old ruse used to trick people into admissions. “I said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ ”
While this was going on, the man who reported the burglary told the police that there had been no break-in, and that people were out to get him, according to Mr. Browne. He was taken to a psychiatric hospital…
Mr. Vansintjan knew nothing of this until [the reporter] told him on Tuesday.
[Outlier: Let’s stop here a minute. The arrest happened Christmas week. The reporter spoke with Mr. Vansintjan on January 9th.
The police NEVER INTENDED to let Mr. V. know that there had NEVER BEEN a burglary. If the reporter hadn’t shown up to interview him, Mr. Vansintjan may NEVER have found out.
Well, one can hardly blame the cops, considering all the fun times they’d shared: Abuse, illegalities, innocent man.
If Mr. Vansintjan were to make a public fuss, there would be consequences. And now, after that NYT piece, there still may be:
Quite a lot of “Tsk”-“Tsk”-ing from police officials. Perhaps even a mild head shake at those naughty officers and detectives.]
Just before he was released the evening of Dec. 22, Mr. Vansin–
[Outlier: WHOA!!!–“the evening of?”–Sorry for all the interruptions, folks, but let me see if I have this straight:
It was during Mr. V.’s afternoon interview (he was arrested “one afternoon”) that the police learned that their witness against him was a nutter. But, instead of apologizing to him like human beings, they put him in jail (to punish him for not being intimidated by them? “Uppity Canadian!”) and continued to hold him there until that evening.
Now, remember, this could be you.]
Just before he was released the evening of Dec. 22, Mr. Vansintjan said that a sergeant told him that an antique pocketknife he had been carrying “was a problem.”
“I knew it was legal,” the student said. “He said they were going to give me a break, so it wouldn’t go on my record…”
[Outlier: To the honest and true police out there who suffer from all the others, I am so sorry for insulting and offending you by lumping you in with your False Blue brothers and sisters, but you are so hard to see hidden in there among them.
Thank you for doing your best by the job and by us, in most difficult times, without the public admiration that you deserve.]