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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Feds Charge Cop in False Arrest and Civil Rights Violations

NYPD cop Michael Daragjati taped making racial slurs about black man; accused of false arrest
The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - October 18, 2011

A racial epithet-spewing NYPD cop was ordered held without bail Monday on charges of fabricating criminal charges against a black man on Staten Island. "I fried another n-----," Officer Michael Daragjati crowed last April, according to a transcript of a phone conversation intercepted by the feds. "Another n----- fried, no big deal." Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Paul Tuchman called Daragjati, who is white, "a blatant racist." Besides violating the civil rights of the unnamed man, Daragjati also is charged with orchestrating the violent beatdown and extortion of another victim he suspected of stealing a snowplow from his off-duty contracting business. The racially motivated false arrest came one one month after the FBI was investigating the snowplow scheme and monitoring the cop's private calls, according to the complaint unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court. Daragjati, 32, was assigned to a plainclothes anti-crime patrol when he stopped the man on Targee St. and roughly frisked him, the complaint states. The man complained about his treatment and asked for the cop's name and badge number, but was allowed to walk away because he was carrying no contraband. But after he shouted insults back at the officer, Daragjati crossed the street and cuffed him, the feds said. Daragjati swore out a criminal complaint falsely asserting the man had pushed and kicked him and "flailed" his arms to prevent being arrested. Several other officers had witnessed the arrest, in which the man offered no resistance. The victim later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on the advice of his lawyer. There is no explanation why Daragjati stopped the man, who had been walking on the street with his hands in his pockets at 9:30 p.m. Last year, there were a record 601,055 stops by cops, sparking criticism that black and Hispanic men were being harassed without a legal basis. The feds intercepted numerous calls in which Daragjati was overheard using the N-word to discuss not only the false arrest but also in bizarre jokes and talking about the weather. Daragjati has been sued twice before for falsely arresting blacks - the city settled one case for $12,500 and the other is pending. Patrolmen's Benevolent Association lawyer Michael Martinez minimized the extortion scheme and insisted Daragjati was just trying to get back his stolen snowplow. "At worst we have vigilante justice," Martinez said. "By a police officer," Magistrate Joan Azrack noted before ordering Daragjati remanded. In a statement, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly praised U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch and her staff "for bringing this case forward promptly and professionally." Kelly also gave kudos to NYPD Internal Affairs Chief Charles Campisi and his detectives, "who initiated this investigation and in doing so helped pave the way for prosecuting it."

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