NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton made headlines recently with his critique of Hip-Hop music and culture by calling rappers “thugs” but the lawman didn’t reserve that same judgment for a group of recently arrested crooked cops. In fact, Bratton believes that his police force is free of corruption and brushed off the arrests of the officers as nothing more than a random event.
Bratton’s reputation as a tough administrator followed him once he took the NYPD post in 2014, and there was hope he’d bring some dignity to the force because of his celebrated stature. Under Bratton’s tenure, there have been a number of embarrassing instances that he did address, although with a far lighter hand than he did regarding the aftermath of the Irving Plaza shooting involving rapper Troy Ave.
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, 50; Deputy Inspector James Grant, 43; and Sergeant David Villanueva, 42, were slapped with various charges of conspiracy, bribery, and wire fraud. The officers were arrested Monday (June 20) with a fourth person, volunteer officer Jeremy Reichberg of the Orthodox Jewish Borough Park Shomrim, also arrested and charged. According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the officers have been accused of taking cash bribes, jewelry, prostitutes and other items in exchange for favors.
In laughable fashion and in the face the explosive nature of the charges, Bratton doesn’t believe his department is rife with corruption. According to Gothamist, Bratton’s assessment of the arrests is literally a love tap.
“What this case is not is the systemic corruption of the Knapp Commission of the 1970s or even the Mollen Commission of the 1990s,” Bratton said during a press conference on Monday afternoon. “What this is is a number of people, some high-ranking…who did favors and received things of high value in return.”
Bratton’s brush off of what are pretty serious offenses is unsettling. If he can dismiss an entire culture as being nothing but thugs but fail to turn that discerning eye on his officers, Bratton is essentially unfit as a leader. Perhaps if the officers were working on a mixtape would Bratton finally be honest about the seediness apparent within the New York Police Department.