Last Halloween, my wife and then-6-year-old daughter were making their way home after trick-or-treating in Brooklyn. Suddenly, an unmarked NYPD car with sirens wailing began speeding against traffic up a one-way street, our neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. The officer seemed to be going after a few teenage boys.
Then, in an instant, the car hit one of the kids.
It was the first of many jarring things my family saw the NYPD do that night. Afterward, I tried to find out more about what exactly had happened and whether officers would be disciplined. There was footage and plenty of witnesses, and I happen to be an investigative journalist. I thought there was at least a chance I could get answers. Instead, the episode crystallized all of the ways in which the NYPD is shielded from accountability.
This happened in my neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, which is overwhelmingly white. Residents named it that in the 1960s to distinguish it from nearby Red Hook, where the population was largely Black. The area has changed enormously over the decades. But even now, it’s segregated almost block by block.