Posts tagged ‘NYPD’
This isn’t really news as it’s from January, but I just stumbled upon it last week so I thought I’d provide a follow-up to the Iman Morales tragedy. I’m truly at a loss for words but “disgusted” is a start and the “Fury” in this page’s title is there for a reason.
A New York Daily News article reports that just five weeks after officer Nicholas Marchesona fatally fired a taser at Iman Morales, he was granted a promotion. That’s right, a promotion. The kind of negligent manslaughter that would land a civilian in court not only fails to put this officer there, not only fails to cost him his job, but ends in a promotion!
For the eight days prior to the death of Lt Pigott, who gave Marchesona the order, Iman’s dying was regarded as a minor tragedy. After, however it was a mere detail. Praise and promotions are the order of the day apparently. Now the effort is to make the officers look as good as possible. The very same article says that an air mattress was being set up but it took until January for that to become the story. Prior to that, the question was whether one had been ordered and not waited for, or not ordered at all. I guess these are the details that get a little hazy when you kill a member of the disposable class.
On September 24th, 2008 Iman Morales climbed naked out of his apartment window in Brooklyn, NY in a state of distress. He was in the midst of some sort of dispute with his mother. When he tried to get back inside by way of his neighbor’s window, she refused to let him in. The police were called. He climbed down the fire escape and then, upon their arrival, onto the narrow top of a roll-down security gate. His mother pleaded with the police to let her calm her son, but was refused and kept at a distance as the police tried to get Iman down and he became more agitated. He began waving a florescent light bulb at the officers, jabbing at one of them in the chest. At this point, at the order of Lt. Michael Pigott of the Emergency Services Unit, Iman, still standing on that narrow ledge ten feet high, was shot with a taser by officer Nicholas Marchesona. Having made no provisions to catch him or break his fall, several police and a crowd of onlookers watched as Iman’s body became rigid and paralyzed. He fell forward, head first onto the concrete below and died.
What did they think was going to happen when they shot that charge into his body? Was he going to become calm and climb down smiling? The effects of a taser on the human body leave little to mystery. We know what they do and how the body responds. That’s why they are used. Tasers were only incorporated into more common use in the NYPD to curb their overactive trigger fingers in the first place and the use of the device in this event was in clear violation of department guidelines.This of course begs a few questions–How could one officer give the order to use a taser in this instance, another comply, and still others stand by allowing a man to fall predictably to his death? Why were no provisions made to ensure a safe landing if they were going to use the device? Why was no one in the gathering crowd willing to tackle a cop to catch a falling man or better yet — to stop the device from being used in the first place? That of course would require them to drop their phones and stop taking pictures and videos.
City Councilman, Peter Vallone – chairman of the Public Safety Committee, of all things – said of the tragedy, “A situation like that is never going to end in a good way. The most important thing is that no innocent bystanders or police got hurt.”
In a dark turn to an already dark story, Lt. Pigott, on modified duty without his badge and gun, took his own life shortly after in order to keep his children from seeing him in handcuffs, according to a note he left. Not surprisingly, however, the department said it was unlikely that he would have faced prosecution. His death then led to the spin machine telling the story of a hero officer who killed himself distraught over a tragic accident, reducing Iman Morales to a side note in a story about the pressures faced by police. I say this, not to diminish the loss of the Pigott family, but to restore a speck of balance to the telling of events.
Regardless of what happened afterward, the end of Iman’s story is further evidence there is a climate of disregard for human life that needs to be addressed. It can be seen throughout our culture and is nowhere more evident than it is among that third class of people deemed mentally ill. People in power can make all the policy changes they want in the name of public relations, but it matters very little when policy is ignored and even less when policy is a sorry substitute for true moral character and respect for the lives others.
It is worth noting that prior to that week he had been regarded by all accounts as “gentle and sweet” but was experiencing erratic behavior apparently in response to a new medication and subsequent withdrawal.