A Bronx cop has been indicted on 67 counts related to paying a teenage girl for sex and recording the encounter, seven months after police raided his apartment.
The authorities seized Officer Raul Olmeda's computer, multiple external hard drives, his phone, and a video camera, reportedly obtaining recordings of his sexual encounters.
Nevertheless, the New York Police Department (NYPD) kept Olmeda on the job, where he was able to keep tabs on the Internal Affairs investigation of him. Prosecutors claim that Olmeda was even able to have sex with the teenager two more times after the raid. Olmeda is also under investigation for tax fraud.
This happened in the 42nd Precinct, whose high levels of misconduct are an open secret. This summer, another cop faced multiple lawsuits for false arrest and intimidation, including at least one case in which he allegedly offered to treat one teen he arrested better if his mother would have sex with him. That officer, David Terrell, had previously been sued seven times, was placed on desk duty after an unspecified domestic violence incident, and was caught on tape playing dice with neighborhood residents to determine whether to arrest them.
The 42nd Precinct regularly places near the top across the five boroughs when it comes to the number of claims filed against cops.
There is absolutely no reason Olmeda should have been allowed to remain on the force and abuse his access and power to monitor his investigation. No reason, that is, except that the NYPD's union contract keeps the department from summarily dismissing officers who misbehave.
Instead, such officers are placed on desk duty, as Olmeda was. That only gave him more spare time to follow his own investigation and potentially try to impede it.
Continuing to pay problem cops also soaks up resources that could be used to hire better officers. Instead, a culture like the one at the 42nd Precinct festers, as bad cops remain on the force and continue to corrupt their environments.
New York City's political leaders don't seem to have any interest in changing that, even as they appropriate the language of police reform activists. Even worse, most of these politicians will likely be reelected this November.
One last note: The New York Daily News originally referred to the teenager as a hooker, then removed the term from the headline (but kept it in the URL). As my colleague Elizabeth Nolan Brown noted this morning, were an officer not involved, the girl would likely be called a victim of sex trafficking instead.