NYPD Detective Who Verbally Abused Uber Driver Placed on Modified Assignment

NYPDLogoBy Elaine Magliaro

Patrick Cherry, a New York police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with top-secret security clearance, has reportedly been stripped of his badge and his gun and placed on modified assignment after verbally abusing an Uber driver on Monday. Officials said that Cherry “faces suspension, reassignment or loss of his clearance after an incident with an Uber driver” was captured on video.

The video was taken by Sanjay Seth, a passenger in the Uber car. Sanjay posted the video to YouTube—where it went viral. In the video, Detective Cherry can be heard shouting at the driver, using profane language, slamming the side of the car, and asking the driver how long he has been in this country.

Police Abuse of Uber Driver in New York City – March 30th, 2015

CNN:

The altercation began when the Uber driver gestured to a detective in an unmarked car to use his blinker after he was allegedly attempting to park without using it, according to Sanjay Seth, a passenger in the car who uploaded the video to YouTube.

The video picks up seconds after the detective began yelling at the driver and mocking his accent, and also shows the unmarked car with lights flashing pulled over behind the Uber car.

USA Today:

… Throughout the tape, the driver is heard apologizing to the detective.

“Stop interrupting me,” the detective yells.

“I apologize,” the driver responds. “I’m sorry.”

“Every time I open my mouth, you have something to say,” the detective shouts.

The detective later says, “People are allowed to park their cars on the side of the street without your interference and then your opinion about what’s going on, especially when the person you do it to are the police. I don’t know where you’re coming from.” He adds, “How long you been in this country?”

Finally, the detective tells the driver, “The only reason you’re not in handcuffs going to jail is because I have things to do.”

CNN reported that Police Commissioner William Bratton appeared “visibly upset” on Wednesday when he announced that Cherry had been placed on modified assignment pending an investigation. Bratton told reporters, “No good cop can watch that without a wince. As all good cops know … the officer made their jobs a little bit harder. That kind of anger like that is unacceptable in any encounter; discourtesy like that and language like that is unacceptable. That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform.”

CNN:

Bratton, who said the detective was on duty at the time, issued an apology to the driver and passengers.

According to NBC News, the “Civilian Complaint Review Board has taken over the investigation” into the video, which shows Detective Cherry verbally abusing the Uber driver “in an at-times xenophobic roadside tirade in the West Village Monday.”

Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said in a statement that Cherry was “a person of good character and an excellent detective” who “should not be judged by one isolated incident.” He added, “I am not trying to minimize the significance of what occurred. I am simply pointing out that cops are just like everyone else. They have families, friends and other things going on in their lives, too, that may affect their behavior at times. There is no disputing that we are held to a higher standard, that is why this incident is so newsworthy.”

 

SOURCES

NYPD detective moved after tirade against Uber driver (USA Today)

NYPD detective in Uber video on modified assignment (CNN)

NYC detective punished after rant at Uber driver caught on video (CBS News)

“How Long Have You Been in This Country?” NYPD Investigating Video of Cop’s Degrading Tirade Against Uber Driver (NBC News)

NYPD Detective Stripped Of Gun And Badge After Xenophobic Rant Caught On Video (Huffington Post)

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3 Responses to NYPD Detective Who Verbally Abused Uber Driver Placed on Modified Assignment

  1. pete says:

    The only thing NYPD will learn from this is “hit the guy with the camera first”.

  2. Elaine M. says:

    Smile, NYPD Officers, You’re Being Recorded
    A cop taunts, intimidates, and disrespects an immigrant Uber driver—and is caught and punished because a passenger captured it all on video.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/an-nypd-cop-on-a-power-trip-verbally-abuses-an-immigrant-uber-driver/389390/

    Excerpt:
    Michael J. Palladino, the President of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, made this statement:

    “I am not trying to minimize the significance of what occurred. I am simply pointing out that cops are just like everyone else. They have families, friends, and other things going on in their lives, too, that may affect their behavior at times. There is no disputing that we are held to a higher standard and that is why this incident is so newsworthy. Detective Cherry is a person of good character and an excellent Detective. He really should not be judged by one isolated incident.”

    It is possible that Detective Cherry is a person of good character and an excellent detective who behaved anomalously in this situation. But there are significant flaws in that defense of him. All of us certainly have families, friends, and bad days. And all of us do things we shouldn’t sometimes. But even on our worst days, very few of have confronted, detained, or abused a fellow motorist who angered us in traffic, or lambasted an immigrant for minutes on end over his driving, because most of us possess neither the power nor the sense of entitlement necessary to act that way.

    And it is false that police officers are “held to a higher standard.”

    This incident is illustrative. If the Uber driver had been recorded on a cell phone video going up to the window of a car that honked at him in traffic, smacking the door, and verbally abusing and intimidating another driver, he would obviously be fired. There’s just no question. Having an average rating of three out of five stars from fares is enough to get an Uber driver removed from the job!

    I wouldn’t necessarily fire a police officer over a single incident like this one, depending on his work history, but make no mistake that the cop will be held to a lower standard here.

    As the blog Photography Is Not A Crime put it, “displaying unprofessionalism is not a fireable offense as it would be in most any other job dealing with the public.” Under union rules, after the police officer is afforded multiple layers of due process, the maximum penalty he’ll face is a 30 day suspension. So no, Mr. Palladino, policemen aren’t “just like everyone else.”

    The lower standard to which they’re held and the extraordinary job protection they enjoy is such that they can even pepper-spray innocent protestors on video and not get fired.

    Ask Anthony Balogna.

    In coming days, we’re likely to find out if the sources who spoke to DNAInfo are correct that Detective Cherry has been the subject of multiple prior civilian complaints. If the coming years bring more citizens training cameras on police officers, as well as more police administrators willing to punish misbehavior, the generation of cops that expects that it can verbally abuse New Yorkers with impunity may pass into history.

  3. Elaine M. says:

    NYPD Officer Who Berated Taxi Driver in YouTube Video Placed on Desk Duty
    http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2015/04/01/nypd-officer-who-berated-taxi-driver-in-youtube-video-placed-on-desk-duty/?mod=WSJ_NY_NY_Blog

    Excerpt:
    Over the course of his 14-1/2 years on the force, Det. Cherry has has received a total of 13 civilian complaints against him according to a person with knowledge of the latest complaint.

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