The NYPD is amassing a reputation for the most racist force in the country, and Michael Deragjati is only adding to the fury. The officer, accused of falsely arresting a black man under the protection of the city's “stop-and-frisk” policy, has admitted to racial profiling–but says he's not racist.
Deragjati was heard remarking “fried another ni**er” after the arrest of Kenrick Gray, last April, but in a six-page letter to the judge in his case falls short of a true admission. “I did so, not because of the color of his skin, but because he was rude and disrespectful to me,” he wrote. “I thought that if he received a (desk appearance ticket and was released) this person wouldn't have learned a lesson that he should not be disrespectful to law enforcement.”
In short, Deragjati isn't interested in targeting a specific race, but anyone who takes issue with being sought out by police based on their skin color—which tend to be Blacks and Latinos. On the flip side, he has vowed never to use the n-word again. “I know that I will never be able to convince the world that I am not a racist. I know that I am not ... That word was not reserved for people of color, it was used as an ignorant reference to those people in the street because of their conduct and disrespect for the community and members of law enforcement.”
Gray, of Staten Island, spent two days behind bars and filed a complaint which resulted in Deragjati being slapped with a misdemeanor civil rights violation.
With his sentencing scheduled for Friday (June 22), Deragjati now says that he regrets arresting Gray.
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