Neighborhoods

Police State

by

KATHERINE APPELLO

Age 36

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Teacher-poet

Did you ever consider becoming a cop? I thought about it when I was in high school. My idea was to get in and really fix the system.

What’s your opinion of the police force? I have an innate distrust of the police. I would sooner trust the Mob than the police. If you’re willing to go to the Gambinos and not the cops, you know that’s sad.

What’s the best or worst experience you ever had with a police officer? I’m certified in Reiki, which is a kind of holistic bodywork. I once got into a situation where overeager cops completely misunderstood what it was I was doing. That’s all I’ll say.


JUNIOR COOPER

Age 20

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Student

Did you ever consider becoming a cop? I was already asked to take the exam, and I said no.

What’s your opinion of the police force? No matter who is in charge, no matter who is in office, it’s going to remain the same. The police will continue to be taught to analyze the street based on race.

What’s the best or worst experience you ever had with a police officer? I’ve had several bad experiences. My friend is in the NFL, and we were in his new Denali and we were stopped. The cops said to him, “Where did you get this car?” and he said, “It’s mine,” and the cops said, “The plates are stolen, we’re taking it in.” When our friend in the backseat said he was going to videotape the event, the cops said, “Go on your way.”


MILTON VALENZUALA

Age 27

Resides Queens

Occupation Cashier

Did you ever consider becoming a cop? Yes, but I was more interested in working on the federal level than in the city.

What’s your opinion of the police force? As a Hispanic man, I’m sort of in the middle on this issue. I always wonder, “Who do they frisk first?”

What’s the best or worst experience you ever had with a police officer? I had a good experience with a cop when I was in the fifth grade. She came to my class to talk about drugs. She knew the neighborhood and what was going on in it.


AJAY

Age 34

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Café owner

Did you ever consider becoming a cop? No. People who become cops are either looking for the good pension, or they have ego and control issues.

What’s your opinion of the police force? I’ve never had trouble with them, but then again, I’m not black and I don’t live in Harlem.

What’s the best or worst experience you ever had with a police officer? I’ve been pretty lucky. I’m originally from India. There, the cops are totally corrupt, but it’s an economic issue, and justice works in a very different way.


DANA SCHOENFELD

Age 27

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Writer

Did you ever consider becoming a cop? No. It’s not creative enough for me.

What’s your opinion of the police force? I feel confident about the cops, but I also know that because I don’t fit the profile, I’m not subjected to the same harassment that a lot of other people are.

What’s the best or worst experience you ever had with a police officer? Luckily, I haven’t had any experience at all with the police.


CHRISTINA HILL

Age 23

Resides Queens

Occupation Home health aide

Did you ever consider becoming a cop? No, but I would if I had to. It’s a dangerous job, but it has a good pension.

What’s your opinion of the police force? They still make me nervous.

What’s the best or worst experience you ever had with a police officer? I was once picked up for drinking in public. Cops in a patrol car called me over, but I didn’t want to approach the window because I knew I was drinking in public. When they finally let me go, they told me they wouldn’t have brought me in if I’d walked up to the car, but I didn’t believe that.


TED PINKSTON

Age 28

Resides Brooklyn

Occupation Records coder

Did you ever consider becoming a cop? No, I’m not good with restrictive lifestyles or guns.

What’s your opinion of the police force? I think they’ve taken some steps to improve the appearance of the force.

What’s the best or worst experience you ever had with a police officer? I guess it’s a good experience if you’re doing something illegal and they let you go. When I was growing up, the cops were called to settle domestic disputes at my house. They’d tell my mother, “We can’t do anything unless he actually harms you.” Off the record, they’d tell her to hit him with a frying pan and be done with it.