WHO ABANDONED WHO?
Did an NYPD officer abandon
or did we abandon that NYPD officer?
Wednesday, June 15, 2005 12:00
By now you have heard
or read about the NYPD officer who reportedly abandoned his partner who had been
Upon hearing this story, it is easy
to conjure up images of the scene in Saving Private Ryan where
one soldier is fighting to the death while another in earshot of this
deadly battle just sits and cries.
The Daily News is calling this
officer "The Runaway Cop," a cutesy spin on last month's "Runaway
Bride." They even featured this incident on their
front page complete with those giant headlines for which they are
We'd like to offer a somewhat
different take to this story: ENOUGH!
This has been
picked up by just about every media outlet in the country including
the online law enforcement media. Public and law enforcement
message boards have been electric with posts decrying this
Just about everyone
including many within the law enforcement community have joined the
torch-carrying mob calling for everything from termination to a
We say "Enough!"
What has turned us
against this officer is not any verdict, formal decision or official
report; it is the media.
This is the same
media that publicly and routinely vilifies our brethren in high
profile incidents, questionable use of force occurrences, and when
just about any baseless accusation is made against an officer by anyone.
The most shocking
part of this situation, though, is that every story you have heard or
read from every newspaper, radio station, television
station and web site about that evening in Brooklyn has been
based on nothing more than a single anonymous source who spoke with a single media
Some fellow -
presumably a boss several years and several floors separated from the
street - within the New York City Police Department felt the need to
violate policy and share confidential information along with opinion
and commentary on what he apparently observed on the video tape.
According to the
New York Times, this "official" spoke on the condition of
anonymity because the investigation is still under way.
So, clearly, this
"source" is worried about protecting himself, but has no problem
destroying the life of a line officer.
Marrero's level of performance was not up to what this "source" would
have done from the comfort of his ivory tower, and what is especially
frightening is that this "source" assumedly serves in an Internal Affairs
capacity or some other position of authority. Outrageous!
What we Know
What we officially
know so far is murky at best.
We, NJLawman.com, sifted
through the various and sometimes contradicting reports of this
incident and assembled a quick rundown. Again, this is from media
On June 1, two NYPD
officers were approaching a car they had just stopped, PO Patrick
Caprice on the driver's side and Officer Gilberto T. Marrero on the
Gunfire erupted and
this video apparently shows Officer Marrero retreating four to five
car lengths away where he took cover and called out a 10-13,
The suspect began to
flee on foot but returned to retrieve his vehicle when he fired
additional shots at Officer Caprice who had already been struck in
the initial volley.
incredibly, took up a one-knee position and returned fire. He
fired 14 shots in all and struck the suspect at least twice according
to several reports of the incident. (The reported actions of
Officer Caprice while injured and under fire were nothing short of
returns some time after to find that his partner had been shot.
At this point, it is
not even clear whether Officer Marrero even knew that Officer Caprice
had been shot prior to approaching him after the suspect left.
From what we can
tell, the entire incident can be measured in seconds.
At 7:40 p.m. on June
1st, Officer Marrero, a twelve-year-veteran, was just another dopy flatfoot like the rest of
us who was making a motor vehicle stop.
By 7:41 p.m. he was a
coward - the worst label in our profession - and on his way to
becoming public enemy number one, courtesy of our nationwide media
His life now includes
dodging the deluge of telephone calls to his home from the news media
and the cameramen outside hoping to get a money shot. And, he
must do all of this while some in his former family burn him in effigy.
Here is a quick blurb
from the New York Daily News on Officer Marrero's life today:
"After the detectives
left, Marrero hopped a fence in his backyard and then jumped back over
the same fence again to dodge photographers. A waiting car whisked him
to an NYPD psychiatric and medical evaluation, sources said.
"He's really broken up by this," a police source said. 'It's killing
him to be called a coward.'"
This is a grown man, a
police officer. It must be great to be
him right now.
Perhaps when the
video tape becomes public and all the facts come out, you will say
Officer Marrero acted reasonably.
Perhaps you'll feel
that while he was no John Wayne, the incident happened quickly, and he
did nothing wrong. After all, he heard gunshots and instinctively took
Or maybe it will show
that he did panic when the shots rang out.
Either way, you owe
it to a brother officer to view it with an open mind. The
incident happened in seconds. Can you be so sure what you would
No matter how
this turns out, isn't he at least owed our support and the benefit of
the doubt until we hear and see everything?
We're not trying to
launch a blind defense for
Officer Marrero. If he did was he is accused of doing, he
should lose his job, and nothing less. It's just that we know
very little up to this point.
In a twisted way, I
hope the tape does prove this officer to be a coward.
Think about it.
If it shows his
actions to be reasonable, it would be quite embarrassing for many
within a community which prides itself on "brotherhood" to admit that
they contributed to destroying the life of a brother police officer
who not only has not been found guilty by any tribunal, but has not
yet received even the first shred of due process.
If that's not enough,
we allowed ourselves to form opinions against a brother officer based
on what is being fed to us by the media, an entity that, by-in-large,
has no use for any of us unless we are in a pair of handcuffs.
In our view, at this
very early stage, the only coward here so far is this "source" who put
a police officer's name on the front page of the newspapers as a
coward without having the balls to sign his name to it.
Anyway, that's just
Wednesday, June 15, 2005 12:00
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