Report: NYPD cop pushes New York Supreme Court Judge into wall

Democracy Now quotes New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith:

I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested… As I’m standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, ‘I need to get in. My daughter’s there. I want to know if she’s OK.’ And he said, ‘Move on, lady.’ And they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back. And she was crying. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head,” says Smith. “I walk over, and I say, ‘Look, cuff her if she’s done something, but you don’t need to do that.’ And he said, ‘Lady, do you want to get arrested?’ And I said, ‘Do you see my hat? I’m here as a legal observer.’ He said, ‘You want to get arrested?’ And he pushed me up against the wall.

[via Felix]


  1. Well, might somebody finally get in trouble for mis-managing the Police response?

    So ashamed of you NYC government. You’ve bungled.

  2. Agree with Occupy, think they’re a bunch of idiots that arn’t doing anything productive, or whatever.

    If nothing else they have shown just how screwed up ops can be.

    I don’t want to paint all police as simply waiting for an excuse to start beating people, or even an appreciable majority, but NYPD you arn’t making it easy for me to hold onto that belief!

    Seriously, when a frikken JUDGE gets thrown against a wall… Wat? Just… Wat? Wait. I think I get it now. The cops are actually on the side of the Protesters, but understand that change will not happen till the entire country is fed up to the point where they bulldoze the whole system and start fresh.

    1. I think most rational people don’t think all cops are the same as this particular idiot. The problem is that for the “good” cops it seems unheard of to turn to these rogues and try to curb their base behaviour, which makes them all culpable to some degree.

    2. “a bunch of idiots” you say?  Standing up for their rights?  Who better to know their (OUR) constitutional rights that a judge who happened to be there as a legal observer.  How then can this group be identified as idiots to you?  I am confused.  I agree there are bad apples in every bunch, but is it not obvious that the bad apples are not falling from the money tree and trickling down to the rest of the government services.  Odd that JPMorgan Chase gifted the NYPD 1.6 million dollars.  Who do you think are the idiots now?  The ones sitting on their couch watching main stream media spoon fed to them by these same owners/gift givers?  Or maybe I misunderstood you. 

  3. Oh they’ll REALLY fuck up one of these days.  It won’t be a little shove up against a wall.  They’ll kill or maim a supreme court justice, someone famous, or even one of their own retired chiefs in the heat of their testosterone-based thuggery.

    1. When cops screw up and end up killing another cop, they always blame it on whoever is the target of their action.  So if a cop kills another cop during a protest, they’ll just grab the nearest protestor and charge him as a cop killer.  These things happen.

    1. She was there as a neutral legal observer. Someone is going to be walking in Bed Stuy next week…

  4. From what it sounds like, she got off easy. She is lucky that she was not beaten, bloodied, and maced for the new American crime of standing in the wrong spot. I wonder if anything good will come of it now that someone in her position has seen what’s really going on down at these protests. Sadly my inclination is to say no. I will take more than one NY Supreme Court Judge to reign in these -out-of-control pigs. 

    1. “Acting Justice, Supreme Court, New York County, Appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, 2004 to Present
      Judge, Civil Court of the City of New York, New York County, Elected, 1996 to 2016”

      You know something the rest of us don’t?

      1. I’m betting ahecht may have RTFA, where is says, “retired New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith” and where it quotes her in the panel says, “JUDGE KAREN SMITH (ret.):”

  5. “Retired Supreme Court Judge”   Tone the hyperbole down in the title and the article maintains it’s shock.

    1. Haha. So she didn’t have to wake up early the next day to hear yet another case, and you think that fact is extremely relevant? Obviously even if she weren’t retired, we wouldn’t have to wonder whether she were actively hearing a court case during this incident, so how is her status relevant? “Fired NY Supreme Court Judge” might be necessary if true, but retired? No difference. I’m fine with the current headline.

      1. My comment was in stating the hyperbole used in the title was excessive.  Dropping the fact she was a retired judge could only have been done because it would sound more shocking.  It really doesn’t matter if she was a judge, a soldier, a mcdonalds worker, whatever.  The title specifying she is a supreme court judge is inaccurate and surely was only used to provoke an emotional response in the reader. 

        What sounds more shocking: “NYPD Cop pushes Legal Observer into wall”, “NYPD Cop pushes Retired New York Supreme Court Judge into wall”, “NYPD cop pushes New York Supreme Court Judge into wall”

        The true issue here is that she identified herself as a legal observer and the officer showed complete lack of restraint and respect in shoving her.

    2. “Hyperbole” I dont think you understand the concept. The 1% tools need better excuses or they will be laughed out of power, wont need demos anymore.

  6. I hope that this brings some (more) attention to the issue of police assault.

    The bullshit part is that it shouldn’t matter if the victim was a Judge or a hobo from down the street.  They all have equal protection under the constitution and in the (should, anyway) legal system.

    Just like ‘assaulting a police officer’ shouldn’t be any worse than assaulting any other citizen.  Elevating people and treating them differently simply because of their station is what we broke away from 200 years ago.

    1. Assault on any member of the emergency services while they are on duty is an assault on society at large.

      So is an illegal assault *by* a police officer, though.  Both should be taken very fucking seriously.

    2. yes, 200 years ago when we made CLEAR that the executive and the judicial were seperate, coequal branches.

      If she is an active duty judge she can throw him in jail until the legislature intervenes. Do not pass GO.

    3. Although I agree with you for the most part, what it does say is police brutality can and apparently will be applied to anyone and everyone- even representatives of the State.  Brownshirts who can’t be relied upon to serve anyone’s interests.

    4. problem here is the police CAN ASSAULT at will. think about it. if you so much as tap one on the shoulder you are assaulting them.  Beating people with clubs is somehow ok in this twisted day and age….if your a cop with a badge and a gun!!

  7. Importantly clarification (directly from Wikipedia):

    In most states and in the U.S. federal court system, “supreme court” is the name of the highest court in the state. However, the New York Supreme Court is primarily a trial court, roughly equivalent to the “district courts”, “superior courts”, or “circuit courts” of other states.

    Not quite as stupid as it seemed immediately.

    1. Not quite as stupid as it seemed immediately.

      How do you figure? It seems likely to be a judge that the officer testified before at some point.

    2. “Not quite as stupid as it seemed immediately.”

      Nor is it quite as stupid as immediately equating “New York Supreme Court” with SCOTUS.

      Also… being able to have a state supreme court judge testify on your behalf in a civil suit = awesome.

    3. Again, what is the purpose of making this distinction? Does the apparent importance of the court in which she presides/presided make any difference whatsoever to the fact that she was manhandled by an unprofessional cop? Nobody needed you to clarify anything.

    4. “not quite as stupid” Yes and K2 is “not quite as” tall as Everest….

      Lets examine  what “is not quite as stupid” some more, shall we?

    5. I think maybe you mean, “Not quite as potentially disastrous for this officer or his career.”

      The unknown identity of the legal observer makes no difference in how stupid (also arrogant, abusive, thuggish) it was to assault a non-threatening, non-violent legal observer.

    1. The legal system always takes the side of the cop. It’s like they have a secret agreement or something.  I agree with you.  That is why cops can abuse people so badly, cuz the judge won’t believe that the cop would do something like that.

  8. I believe the headline should be corrected to say “Retired New York Supreme Court Judge”, regardless, this is despicable.

    1. The headline only needs to say “American citizen”.  The evil of the act is already established before she is identified as a Judge, retired or whatever.

  9. Well… now we know how one of the NY Supreme court justices will be voting on any cases from Occupy that reach her court.

    How long will it take for more “people who matter” to get involved.

    I am quite annoyed that almost all the media are showing nothing but deadlocked and tattooed “hippies” in an attempt to marginalize those who have already been marginalized.
    I am generally not for conformity, but it is only hurting our/the cause when people show up dressed in such a way as to give ammo to Fox news and the average old person who fears “unrest” no matter how civilized the “unrest” actually is.

    1. It doesn’t matter if 99% of the protesters are wearing choir robes. Fox News will scour a five block radius until they find someone with dreadlocks, and put HIS picture on the evening news. They know what story they want to tell you. They will tell it their way.

    2. Take it up with the jails and mental institutions. They’ve been sending people to the encampments for weeks as part of a despicable strategy to discredit and unravel the movement. The sad part is, that since all are accepted to the encampments, and all are equally fed, treated for medical problems and generally cared for and considered equal members of the group, the disenfranchised began to over-take the camps. It was a shrewd and dirty maneuver, but who’s surprised? Everything the establishment does these days is all that and then some.


      Well… now we know how one of the NY Supreme court justices will be voting on any cases from Occupy that reach her court.

      Well, apparently she’s not on the bench any more.  And the Supreme Court in NY isn’t the kind of appellate body you appear to think it is.

      But all that aside, I would hope that if an OWS v. NYPD case came before this judge, she would recuse herself.  That would be proper, and I’m pretty sure she would face some kind of censure if she didn’t.

    4. I am not in any way worried about the morons that watch fox news :) ‘news’ should have been removed from the title after their first ridiculous broadcast :)

    5. Oh, I am there a lot, too. But they never take my pic. They took a pic of my kid, once, because he had made his own sign– but I’m too boring to show on the news. Not of interest. Believe me, there are a lot of us boring people there. The MSM chooses to show what and who they choose to show. Not the protestors fault.

    1. No, they are not. Who is voted into office is controlled by the money, and this is the type of police the money not only wants, but needs.


    2. Bloomberg can take the attitude that this is his last term as Mayor and as a lame duck he can allow such law enforcement attitudes, however, my suspicion is that he will want to move up in the political system (Governor or President) and if this is how things are in his CITY then consider it a preview of what it will be like in his STATE or COUNTRY.

  10. Yes, go ahead, arrest me.  I’d love to have a discussion with your superiors about why you assaulted me and then arrested me without cause at the police station.

  11. Admin note:   Can’t seem to see the comments on this page.  Keeps saying “Showing 0 comments”.  Other bizarre symptoms include:
    * Happens in Firefox & IE.
    * Doesn’t happen in other posts today.
    * If I leave the screen on long enough I get the “1 new comment just posted. Show” message appearing, and clicking “Show” will show the latest comment.  But if I refresh the screen then the comment goes away and says “Showing 0 comments” again.

    1. Heh, I was talking to a friend about some affront to the rights of American citizens and she was like “Well, it’s not like we live in a police state!”  So I pointed out that the U.S.A. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world.   “I’m pretty sure the country with the most people in jail qualifies as a police state.”

      1. No, not really. 

        A police state uses excessive police force to intimidate its citizens against their will. 

        The US population, however, seems to be mostly okay with all these sex offender lists, three strikes rules, death penalty and the high incineration rates, because, y’know, them’s all criminals.

  12. Why not report the names of the police officers who behave this way and shame them out it? Keeping this information anonymous supports the injustice. @boingbong:twitter  @democracynow:twitter 

  13. Not feeling a lot of confidence in these people who are supposedly here to “protect and serve”.

    I feel lucky that I’m white and reasonably groomed/clean. If it were otherwise, I’d pretty much be terrified to leave the house at this point. Even so, when I went down to Foley Square last night I was too scared to join the mass march over the bridge, and even just standing on the sidewalk behind the barriers with my fellow observers/photographer-types, I was afraid that one of the cops would start rounding us up, even though we were standing back and being careful not to block the sidewalk (as much as was possible in such a crowd.)

    After I headed back to the subway by City Hall, I saw that cops were (mis)directing folks away from the subway entrance and telling us that they were closed and that we’d have to walk to Canal to get a train. I walked on a little ways to another entrance and the cops there let me right down into the train station. Guess they were confused.

  14. It seems like arguing or remonstrating with a cop is called ‘resisting arrest’ even if you weren’t under arrest at the time. If not that, it could be called ‘disorderly conduct’ or anything else they choose. They told the woman to move along and when she didn’t, they now have carte blanche to do what they want. It was explained to me by an attorney who was representing my daughter – that the police have been given these increased powers because the public has the perception that so many criminals were getting off and also the police said they needed to feel safer doing their jobs. I don’t think the average American realized this, but they’re seeing it in action now. Because the average American thinks that criminals should have no rights and they don’t think they would ever be in that position themselves.

    1. If you happen to have more detailed information as to where I can find this law that allows for this type of “increased powers” I would love to know exactly when it was voted in so I can attempt to change it (though I am only one person).  This needs to be corrected.  It is never okay to brutally assault someone, and if someone assaulted a woman crying for her daughter mo amount of fear would stop me from trying to reason with the person with these “increased powers” to help the mom and child.  My morality couldn’t stand for it.  If I dont’ see an answer I guess I’ll look it up.  This needs to be addressed, it is sickening, immoral and unethical.  OH WAIT… isn’t this kinda what the fucking problem is?  Isn’t this why people are so enraged.  Bought and Paid for drones who don’t question such things, and push people against walls with their increased powers.  FUCK THIS, this is not freedom.

  15. I hold not grief towards the officers – these are the same guys who would run into a smoking tower and have it collapse on them. 

    The grief however is for their commanders and leaders who have not the courage to stand up to whoever is handing down orders and saying “You are doing it Wrong.”

  16. Know what we really need in the movement? Cops wives.

    A cop* beats one or two of them = game over.

    * – (other than their husband)

  17. This should come as no surpise. As fascism takes firm root, judges will become extinct. Thr rule of law is gone. Enter the storm troopers.

  18. “Do you see my hat?”

    Yeah, like the same cops who are beating people are going to bow down before your magic hat. This is a judge?

        1. My argument is that I believe that both you and the police officer misunderstand the situation. I still believe it, and I also happen to believe in magic hats, but that’s not the issue. 

  19. Not do diminish her courage in any way, I wish she had stood up for her (and the mother’s) rights and gotten arrested. And then gone to the media and sued the NYPD. We have to put a stop to this.

  20. I feel like I’m watching the Civil Rights battles of the 60’s start all over again….NYC cops = Birmingham / Bull Connor pigs.

  21. Judges, retired or otherwise hold a lot of power in their local jurisdictions. Most likely, she has many, many friends in high places. This is a good thing, perhaps some humanity will be brought to some of these police, if not by persuasion, at least by prosecution, since the prosecutor is most likely a personal friend.

    1. why would anyone ever try to be misleading on the internet? Right, to cause you to give up in frustration.

      Please Don’t.

  22. Understand that as an OWS demonstrator you are dirt in the eyes of these cops.  They’ve already got you pigeonholed as criminals or worse.   They are cynical bastards that have to keep a tight lock on their heads or they’d go out and shoot themselves. They know that they are the lackeys of the rich and are eager to serve.

  23. I grew up in a corrupt,… “law enforcement” …home,…Dad was a 6’9, 350lb, racist, drunken, corrupt St. Louis City Cop,….Mom was the “court clerk” from a town nearby,…(until she got caught embezzling thousands from the ticket fund),….and my brother,…who had to give up his police work due to passing several hundred dollars in fake $100 bills at Wal-Mart.

    The “Thin-Blue-Line” is tied into the system so badly, in such a corrupt fashion,….that this will be handled like the Mafia,…as though some low-level muscle screwed up in front of one of the “connected” folk, and after the pain he will be forced to experience (suspension?),… this dumb-ass cop will be “re-trained” to understand the phrase “legal observer”…..and be back on the job in no time flat,…

    Corruption covers for Corruption, is how the system works,….and I was a “Federally Protected Whistle Blower” (ha!) for over twenty years with the US Department of Defense, I do know a bit…..

    If you are interested in reading about some of the strangest parenting on the planet, and life among so much “law enforcement”,…you should read my memoir,…..especially before the movie version comes out, ….you will be shaking your head in disbelief,…..or shaking your head in sadness and personal recognition of the type of upbringing you may have had,..

    …you can find the book, Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family, RJ O’Guillory….on, etc.

    Life in our society today is nothing but large scale theater,…. acted out by the characters society has chosen to play their roles,…. insuring that as long as we don’t rock the boat too badly, we’ll be entertained and moved by all the theatrical action,….while everything stays the same behind the scenes,….

    Money, Ego and Corruption,…the three things that made America great!


    RJ O’Guillory
    Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family

  24. Ah!   If only more citizens had special hats, maybe the police would obey the law!

    What a ridiculous anecdote.   These criminals in policeman costumes should not be beating people exercising their rights.  Period.  Regardless of whether there are special hats in the vicinity.

  25. So, we’re not so much living in a police state as the state is just as terrorized by the police as everyone else.  Do we only pay their salaries to avoid getting knocked in the head and beaten ourselves?

    1. You’re such an optimist. They will do much more than that if you’re a real threat to their base of power. It’s true from the elementary school hall monitor to the Director of the FBI.

  26. Cops do whatever they want, whenever they want, & without ANY fear of future repercussions. They always have & they always will. Cops have no idea what it’s like to be a human being. How could any person lock a human being in a cage for something as minor as standing in the same space or smoking a joint or saying certain words? Noone has a shred of freedom in this country.

  27. I’m tired of hearing about “good cops and a few bad cops tarnishing… blah blah”. The good cops out there need to be doing everything they can to get the bad cops the hell out of their profession, or they are just as much to blame.

    You know the difference between a good thief and a bad thief? The good thief doesn’t get caught.

  28. First, I didn’t see anything identifying the cop.  We’re assuming that the judge got the badge number, and will bring him to court.  I didn’t see anything like that eventuality described.

    Second, when you have numerous cops willing to corroborate buddies’ lies, they’re almost always going to win against nobodies.  You know; sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

    Third, we really need a lot more important people to be involved in these things; they get believed more than us nobodies.

    Fourth, I have unending respect for the people brave enough, and motivated enough to do this work.  I was reluctant to go to my local Occupy event, afraid to be arrested.

    Fifth, one of the things we need is clearly stated laws making it legal to film and record  cops  in ANY circumstance.  The problem is, if we could get those, we wouldn’t be dealing with legislatures – and media – that the rich own.  And even where they exist, cops can deny violating such laws, with lying friends to back them.  I said, you said, and no conclusive evidence can be produced.  My friends say I never hit you, that you never had a camera.  Prove otherwise.

    WTF is it with cops?! Is there some dynamic that keeps them working against their own people?  I’m pretty sure that many of them have military time.  I guess most military people lean pretty sharply right.   Is it that simple and straightforward?

  29. I’m thinking that stories like this make even good cops hate protesters.  Even the good cops are distrusted.  We don’t like people who don’t like us, who distrust and fear us. 

    Let’s assume that 10% of cops wouldn’t have much concern about beating up some hippy protester.  I mean, just to pick a number.  But, look at the responses we have here.  Not many of us have good things to say about cops, and it really is likely that most of them are decent people, just trying to do a job.  We see stuff like this, and we hate ALL of them.  Then, it’s pretty easy for them to hate us, and believe the worst about protester types.

    One more thing about this. When things get frantic and heated and you are one of the enemy – a cop, ordered to move protesters out – it’s not easy to like the people who, at that moment, HATE everything you stand for.

    It’s very hard to stay rational.  But, I suspect that that’s critical.

    1. A cop doesn’t have to like the people he’s dealing with at the moment. But he also mustn’t see them as an enemy. If he can’t do that, he shouldn’t be there.  

      Yes, this requires that he acts better than part of his clientele, probably better than the average citizen.  That’s what screening and training is for. 

  30. The WAR by the People on inept diabolical actions by the Government is begun.
    Remember, in less than 300 yrs. , we are but a young’un in the nations on the earth.
    We have the tools in our Constitution to effect real change. Vote, and live as a free person. Boycott the standard way of life and become more self sufficient. We can do it now.

  31. I’m wondering if perhaps it is common & proper usage to continue to refer to judges, especially supreme court judges AS judge for ever after, much like former presidents are not referred to as retired presidents, but simply president so-&-so, even though they no longer occupy the office. 

  32. From the link:

    Acting Justice, Supreme Court, New York County, Appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, 2004 to Present
    Judge, Civil Court of the City of New York, New York County, Elected, 1996 to 2016

    The key points being ‘Acting Justice’ and ‘Judge … Elected, 1996 to 2016’.

  33. Obviously she was breaking the law – interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duties. Equally obviously, a judge should have known better. If she hadn’t already retired from the bench, I’d expect that there would already be process started leading to her disbarment.

    Really. That’s the state of the law, and always has been. Cops have guns, and gas, and LRAD’s, and ADS, and nowadays antiaircraft weaponry and goodness only knows what else. Judges have gavels and polite requests for the cops to behave. The weaponry wins every time, until someone with bigger weaponry comes along.

    1. Yeah, right.  She was talking to him.  That counts as interference now?  And he was brutalizing someone in her presence…as an officer of the court, isn’t she obliged to speak up?

      Also, you haven’t bothered reading the posts about how she’s still a judge.

      This cop needs to lose his badge and go to jail.  As, apparently, do all the order-giving people in the NYPD, which has become Mayor al-Assad’s gang of paramilitary thugs.

  34. Over 100.000 Americans each year loose their lives in contact with the storm trooper police of USA. 4.5 million Americans are incarcerated in the privatly run prison system and shared as slave laborers with corporate America.

    America the land of opportunity – opportunity to get killed.

  35. Shared with me via G+. I thought it funny.

    “Oh? The NYPD are treating you badly? Violent for no reason? Weird.” – Black People

  36. Yes, retired means even older and less threatening, more in need of respect, more in need of being treated like a human being with rights. You know, like how American’s used to expect being treated.

  37. wow- out of control cops, cluelessly working for the 1%, drunk on power & not even aware they are pawns on some evil chessboard…wake the hell up sheeple cops! Cops are NOT the 99%  They are either doing dirt, or stand silently by as co workers do, complicit in their silence.

  38. It doesnt bother anyone until it happens to them.
    Police abuse doesnt even happen, well until it happens to them.
    It happens and if oNLY they were actually held accountable for their actions, things would change. 


  39. You people pointing out retired, or active, or the importance of the word ‘supreme’ in the title as if it matters are ABSOLUTE SCUM.

    This woman could have been a cashier at KFC. That doesn’t matter. She was an innocent person who was threatened with arrest as she watched a worried parent being assaulted. 


    Stop trying to justify things with legalities. Where are your ethics? Where is your compassion?

  40. How old is her daughter? Over 18? Then… go post bail or go wait at home. she thought her position was widely known. No – no pass – but I am old school. We didn’t have support during times of dissent or lifestyle of dissent. From only each other.

    1. Kathryn elich:    So you would chain your over 18 daughter to *your* past, disallow  her to live in the same rhythm and currents of her peers.  What makes what you did “during times of dissent or lifestyle of dissent” better than what is being done today?  You are not just old school, you are moving backwards.  Perhaps you are not as loving or devoted a mother as this lady?  Or perhaps you don’t even have children, in which case you have no knowledge on which to base your admonition to her. 

  41. Authoritarianism. The cops have the guns and the billy clubs and the mace, they have the authority. Everyone else better STFU if they know what’s good for them. This is what we’ve sunk to in America. Concepts such as rights, principles, ethics and even law are laughed at in the face of expedient authoritarian power.

  42. Stop with the not all cops are swine nonsense. If their orders are evil, their actions will reflect this. Of course all cops are swine; they work for swine, and enforce immoral laws. 

  43. God damn hippie Supreme Court justices.  What was she doing out of uniform?  It occurs to me that if the 99% wore the robes of justice the cops’ heads might explode.

  44. “There’s class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    “There has been class warfare going on,” Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It’s just that my class is winning. And my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them.”

  45. if obama doesnt want to be remembered in the same fashion as gadafi (former ruler of libya), a cruel and oppresive man who is quite willing to kill off entire cities, then he had best get cracking…..

    viva la revoluccion!!!

  46. OK, you’ve reported what happened.  Now what?  You are someone who actually has the authority to DO something about the abuses happening in New York.  What are you going to DO?  Don’t just tell me about what happened.  Tell me what you are going to DO about it.

  47. This is exactly what happens when the police are badly trained and out of control. I hope the judge got his badge number. That police officer deserves termination.

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