In 2000, a Haitan American man named Patrick Dorismond was standing outside a bar in midtown Manhattan. A plainsclothes cop walked up to him and asked him where he could buy crack.
“What are you doing asking me for that shit?” Dorimsond asked.
A scuffle ensued, for some reason. Another plainclothes cop shows up. At this point, none of the officers have identified themselves as cops. One of them pulls out his gun and shoots Dorismond to death.
Dorismond, a member of a prominent Haitian-American musical family, was unarmed.
It was already an ugly, horrific mess — an example of the routine excesses of policing that Black and Latinx people were subjected to in NYC — before
Rudy Giuliani, the mayor, weighed in.
The next morning, Giuliani took to the media to trash Dorismond.
He ordered the city's police commissioner to release Dorismond's *sealed juvenile records* to the press.
Giuliani went on Fox News and said he "would not want a picture presented of an altar boy, when in fact, maybe [he] isn't an altar boy."
Dorismond had, in fact, been an altar boy; he'd even attended the same Catholic high school that Giuliani had graduated from.
There was nothing in Dorismond's juvenile records more serious than some minor charge for which he was given a summons.
The NYPD had imposed themselves on a man who was minding his business, and then killed him, and then the mayor of the biggest city in the United States spent weeks telling anyone who would listen that that slain man was a dangerous criminal.
The officer who shot Patrick Dorismond was not indicted.
The killing of Patrick Dorismond has been on my mind a lot the last few days. https://t.co/3ibxWfIPPT
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No mayors this time, and an indictment, as well. But the valorization of the police also means the concomitant demonization of the people they destroy.
Not to belabor the point here, but the Dorismond incident came not too long after the Abner Louima case.
Louima, like Dorismond, was Haitian American.
Louima was watching a fight outside of a club one night in Brooklyn. Some NYPD officers arrested him because they thought he was someone else who had thrown a punch at one of them.
The police booked him and then escorted to a bathroom in the police station with his pants around his knees.
While Louima was handcuffed, one officer held him while another sodomized him with a broken broomstick.
(One of the officers is alleged to have said "It's Giuliani time!" to Louima before the assault.)
Louima's colon and bladder were torn. He was in the hospital for 64 days, and almost died from an infection.
"A Brooklyn cop jailed in the Abner Louima assault case is now the proud father of a healthy baby boy, The Post has learned.
'Chuck is so happy,' [his wife] said from her hospital room, where she was recovering from a Caesarean."