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By Andrew T. Darien (auth.)
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Additional info for Becoming New York’s Finest: Race, Gender, and the Integration of the NYPD, 1935–1980
The NYPD complicated the problem of policing Harlem not only by reluctantly hiring officers of color, but also by treating with disdain its residents and the white officers who begrudgingly accepted beats there. The Office of War Information report identified police bias as the single biggest obstacle to a healthy relationship between blacks and city authorities. It noted that the police assigned to Harlem were often men from outside the community who took no real interest in the residents. 67 Residents complained of police breaking into their apartments without warrants, conducting illegal searches of persons and property, and employing gratuitous violence.
The targets of the riots were mostly white-owned businesses and buildings. 17 The official police report contradicts this version of the episode, claiming that Patrolman Collins was the victim. The report contends that Bandy threatened Collins and ran; when he refused to halt, the patrolman drew and fired his revolver, wounding Bandy. Bandy, however, claimed that he had the officer’s nightstick only because it was thrown at him; when he refused to relinquish the weapon, Collins shot him. It is unclear whether Collins or Bandy instigated the violence.
Police considered Harlem the “Siberia” of the department—a place where one was banished for bad behavior. The brass often punished police officers who were believed to be “drunkards” or “of doubtful character” by an assignment to the 28th Precinct. ”68 Black recruits had to wonder if their assignment to such precincts entailed a reward or punishment. NYPD management’s attitude toward their black police officers was encapsulated in a cartoon the department published in a 1946 issue of Spring 3100.
Becoming New York’s Finest: Race, Gender, and the Integration of the NYPD, 1935–1980 by Andrew T. Darien (auth.)