NYC Crime Blotter

Well There’s a Shocker

By Jim Knipfel

Earlier this year, NYPD Officer Jonathan Munoz was on patrol in Washington Heights when he spotted what he believed to be a woman making a purchase from a pot dealer on 183rd St. Munoz, a sharp-eyed and vigilant  nine-year veteran with the 34th Precinct, pulled over and searched the woman. As he did, however, the presumed pot dealer “went into a fighting stance” and took a lunging swing at the officer. No pot was found at the scene, so the woman was released and the man was taken into custody, charged with attempted assault on an officer.

That was the story Munoz filed in his official report, anyway.

Well, in a shocking development, newly revealed surveillance footage of the incident made it pretty darn clear that 1. The search of the woman was both illegal and improper, and 2. Yeah, that guy never exactly, y’know, lunged or swung at Munoz.

So, yeah, it seems one of New York’s Finest, believing both Bad Lieutenant movies to be training films, just wanted to grope some woman he saw on the street, and took her boyfriend into custody to shut him the hell up about it.

More shocking than anything else in the story, the Manhattan DA’s Office actually had Officer Munoz arrested, charging him with false arrest, illegal search and falsifying official reports. Munoz has pleaded not guilty, as I’m sure in his own mind he was simply doing what he’d been taught.

Just to add a touch of levity to the otherwise sordid goings on in the case, District Attorney Cyrus Vance handed out that same old moldy press release, which reads, “Illegal searches and unlawful arrests go against the years of training each NYPD officer receives, erode the public's confidence in law enforcement and will be prosecuted by my Office's Public Corruption Unit.”


Published December 31st, 2015

Jim Knipfel is the author of Slackjaw, The Blow-Off, These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and several other books.