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March 5, 2018

The New York Police Department has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover up officers' indiscretions — even as those same officers remain on the force. A sprawling BuzzFeed News investigation of internal department files found that more than 300 officers have kept their jobs even after committing assault, driving under the influence, or in one case, threatening to kill someone.

The list of indiscretions committed is startling:

Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. [...] Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. [...]

At least two dozen of these employees worked in schools. Andrew Bailey was found guilty of touching a female student on the thigh and kissing her on the cheek while she was sitting in his car. In a school parking lot, while he was supposed to be on duty, Lester Robinson kissed a woman, removed his shirt, and began to remove his pants. [BuzzFeed News]

All of the officers were allowed to keep their jobs, partly because the department has no consistent disciplinary policy. The go-to punishment is "dismissal probation," BuzzFeed News explains, a penalty in name only as offenders continue "to do their job at their usual salary." In every one of the cases above, the officer in question was assigned to dismissal probation — but the policy can be "used to punish other officers arbitrarily," sources told BuzzFeed News, including "just for getting on their supervisors' bad sides."

In the case of one single officer, Raymond Marrero, his various indiscretions cost the city roughly $900,000 to settle. Marrero still works for the department. Read more at BuzzFeed News. Kimberly Alters

November 9, 2017

In a report published by The New York Times on Thursday, five different women alleged that comedian Louis C.K. masturbated in front of them in person or during phone calls or asked them if he could do so. Rumors about C.K.'s sexual misconduct have floated around the internet since 2012, when the now-defunct website Gawker published a "blind item" about a beloved male comedian — believed to be C.K.— who invited two female comics back to his room during the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, and masturbated in front of them.

Thursday's Times article confirmed the rumored incident in Aspen, as comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julie Wolov recounted their story. "He really did it,” Goodman told the Times. "He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating."

All of the women who spoke to the Times were involved in comedy or TV and feared that speaking out would damage their careers. C.K.'s manager, Dave Becky, denied that he'd ever intimidated his client's alleged victims. "I don't recall the exact specifics of the conversation, but know I never threatened anyone," Becky told the Times in an email.

Although C.K. dismissed the long-swirling allegations of his sexual misconduct as "rumors" as recently as June of this year, the Times reports that the comedian privately apologized to several of his victims long before the accusations became public knowledge. Rebecca Corry, who declined C.K's request to masturbate in front of her in 2005, said the comedian called her to apologize for shoving her into a bathroom. Corry corrected C.K., she said, telling him that he had asked to masturbate in front of her, to which she said he replied, "I used to misread people back then."

In an email sent to the Times, C.K.'s publicist said "Louis is not going to answer any questions." Read more about the allegations at The New York Times. Kelly O'Meara Morales

May 5, 2016

Things Cinco de Mayo is not:

  • Mexican Independence Day
  • A beloved Mexican holiday
  • An opportunity to tell the world you "love Hispanics!"

Donald Trump might have missed the memo on that last one:

As if that wasn't cringe-worthy enough, the plot thickens even further:

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo respectfully, folks! Jeva Lange

April 8, 2016

They say a man can be known by the company he keeps, and Donald Trump kept — and then turned his back on — one of America's most notorious figures. For 13 years, Trump looked up to his "closest friend" and mentor Roy Cohn, who in the 1950s shadowed Sen. Joe McCarthy as the legal aide behind the Red Scare and the infamous communist hearings, Politico reports.

"[Cohn] became Donald's mentor, his constant adviser on every significant aspect of his business and personal life," Village Voice investigative journalist Wayne Barrett said.

As Trump's lawyer, Cohn advised the real estate mogul on everything from getting a prenuptial agreement before his marriage to first wife Ivana to helping negotiate a $20 million tax abatement for the construction of Trump Tower. But it wasn't just business — the two were genuinely buddies:

In The New York Times in 1980, Cohn called himself "not only Donald's lawyer, but also one of his close friends."

They talked, according to Vanity Fair, "15 to 20 times a day."

Cohn's vanity plate on his Rolls: RMC. Trump's vanity plate on his Cadillac limo: DJT. [Politico]

Trump even stuck with Cohn through his disbarment proceedings, when Cohn was hit with charges of fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation. And while Cohn was indeed disbarred in the end, it wasn't until Trump learned that Cohn had been diagnosed with AIDS that he decided to sever his ties with his mentor.

"Donald found out about it and just dropped him like a hot potato," Cohn's longtime secretary Susan Bell said. "It was like night and day."

Cohn was reportedly stunned by the betrayal, after all he'd done for Trump. "Donald pisses ice water," he is quoted as saying in Barrett's 1992 book about Trump.

The company a man keeps is one thing — but perhaps a whole other is why he leaves in the end. Read the full story in Politico. Jeva Lange

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