Tonight, on my way home, I saw two NYPD officers perform their duties (or, rather, fail to perform them) in a way that was shameful.
I had just gotten off the subway at Penn Station. As I was heading into the main area of the station, the man in front of me kicked out his leg. At first, I wasn't sure if that was a gesture of frustration, but it quickly became clear that it was a lot more than that--it was a real kick. Whether it connected or not, I don't know, but it was aimed at the man in front of him. I know that, because he then punched the man in front of him in the side, in the face, knocked him down and continued the attack.
I'd like to say I instantly jumped into action, but there was a second of pure shock and disbelief. Then I and a number of other people broke it up. Not like I had to fight it out--nothing so macho--but I grabbed the guy's left arm while other men grabbed him, too.
The police were there pretty quickly. Two cops showed up. The attacker said the other guy kicked at him and/or elbowed him--his story seemed flexible, to say the least. He tried some bullshit line about being "an old man." He was probably in his late 50s. Pretty damn sad if you think of yourself as old at that age, but the truth is he was just full of shit.
Meanwhile, the other guy, who I'd say was in his 30s, was dazed and truly hurt. The welt/bruise/bleeding spot next to his left eye was about the size of a golf ball.
These two cops said to the hurt guy, "if you press charges against him, then he'll press charges against you, and we'll have to arrest both of you, because we don't know who attacked who." With that, I and several other people began shouting at them that we saw who the attacker was. The cops completely ignored all of us, bullied the victim into letting it go, and then let the madman walk away. That was for the best, of course, since they didn't want to have to fill out paperwork and otherwise do justice. That's just too tedious!
It was almost too hard to believe. New York's Finest? Not those two!