NYPD’s Patrick Cherry’s Apology? Full investigation needed first


The New York City cop caught on video in a racist rant, wailing on a South Asian driver, has apologized, but to me it just rings hollow.

In an exclusive interview with WNBC-TV, Patrick Cherry tells his side of the story, primarily that we didn’t see the events leading up to the video that more than three million people have seen on YouTube alone.It was a disgusting show of hate and abuse, the kind of thing that comes out of anger but is rarely captured–unless you happen to be an Uber driver with a passenger who just happens to have the presence of mind to videotape the proceedings.

That’s a big lesson here. In this day when video makes a case, especially when it comes to discrimination, you better make sure to videotape any racist transgression you see.

You don’t want to be the boy who cried, “Racism!”Without the video taken by Sanjay Seth, these days any retelling of Cherry wailing on the driver would be accompanied by the sound of polite indifference. _Yeah, racism, it’s in your mind, my friend. There’s no racism in the 21st century!_Of course, society was rid of all that by the second Bush presidency. And we totally eradicated all that bad stuff by the time we elected that Hussein guy–a second time.Not.You need the video.Still, it’s instructive to see Cherry worm his way through his WNBC interview.

Cherry said he was trying to parallel park when the Uber driver came up behind him.The Uber driver thought Cherry was in the way. Cherry thought the Uber driver was rude. Hand gestures and yelling were traded. The Uber driver even pulled up next to Cherry and more unspecified New York vernacular phrases were exchanged. But when the Uber driver pulled away, Cherry said he didn’t stay parked. He pursued.

Cherry said he was mad and pulled the driver over. He said the driver wouldn’t give him his license and registration.Another source of anger.WNBC asked if the driver knew he was a police officer, Cherry said he “believed he did.”But how did Cherry identify himself? Only by the “emergency lighting” from his vehicle, he told WNBC.Big question mark. Why didn’t the plainclothes guy feel flashing lights alone would officially identify him as a cop? Why didn’t he flash his badge?And what of all those traffic codes Cherry said the driver had violated? In the WNBC interview, there’s no mention of any violations. All Cherry said to the reporter was the driver was “discourteous and impolite.” Hmm. Has Cherry seen videotape of his own “discourteous and impolite” ways? The kicker is that Cherry chalks up the whole incident to “one individual who got angry and yelled.”Whoa.Reality check for Patrick Cherry. Taking responsibility and sounding like you’re taking responsibility are two different things.If that’s all it was, “one individual who got angry and yelled,” then we really do need to put that apology on hold. More than a full investigation of the entire matter by NYPD’s Internal Affairs, we need to understand what instantly turned Cherry into an “angry white cop.”When asked what he’d say to people who think this is a matter of a “white cop picking on a minority driver?”“Nothing to do with it,” Cherry said to the reporter.Cherry just doesn’t get it. All he sees are the actions coming out of his parallel parking. But if the lowly Uber driver weren’t South Asian, but instead his white boss, Police Commissioner William Bratton, do you honestly think Cherry would be making fun of his accent, while yelling and wailing at him? Cherry was a detective with a top-secret clearance assigned to an FBI anti-terrorism task force.Makes one wonder whether he profiles certain folks while doing his job?Maybe the job is getting to him. I know Cherry wants his badge and his gun back. And he wants to get back on the job.But this is serious stuff. Most people keep all this hate inside. Rarely do we get a chance to see just how ugly it is.To make sure it doesn’t happen again, that videotape needs to be studied and understood, and a full investigation of the entire incident must be done.Cherry’s apology? It’s just the first step toward a fuller, more meaningful one. Before he officially rejoins the ranks of the “good guys,” Cherry needs to think a little more about what it means to be a cop–forget that; he needs to know what it means to be a respectful human being–in this diverse new world.

Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
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