May 4th, 2012 | When Mayor Michael Bloomberg referred to the NYPD as his “private army” and the “seventh largest standing army in the world,” he managed to provoke scorn from all but his most slavish admirers. Though his description was wildly inaccurate regarding the size of the department, his overall Putin-esque characterization of the cops as a extra-municipal tool to be deployed at his whim struck many as remarkably and accidentally honest.
Bloomberg does deserve some credit for managing to hoodwink a large number of New Yorkers into believing he’s some sort of benevolent technocrat instead of the corporate oligarch he so clearly is. But when it comes to handling Occupy, Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly – and the NYPD at large – are facing a new level of resistance.
Fifteen plaintiffs, including five elected officials, members of the press, an Iraq war veteran, and Occupy Wall Street activists are suing the city in federal court, alleging gross misconduct ranging from false arrest and imprisonment to possible conspiracy between the police department and JPMorgan Chase to chill citizen’s rights to peaceably assemble. The suit is known as Rodriguez v. Winski and calls for, among other measures, the creation of an independent federal position to oversee the NYPD. The department is out of control, the suit alleges, and is incapable of holding itself accountable.