At a time when criticism of the city's stop-and-frisk program is growing louder (or quieter, as the case may be), it may seem that the last thing the NYPD needs is an update on the officer who was accused of falsely arresting a black man after a street search, and was then caught bragging on tape that he'd "fried another nigger." Yet, Michael Daragjati thinks he can straighten this whole mess out. Yes, he did arrest an innocent man in April 2011, but as he explains in a letter to a judge:
I did so, not because of the color of his skin, but because he was rude and disrespectful to me ... I thought that if he received a (desk appearance ticket and was released) this person wouldn’t have learned a lesson that he should not be disrespectful to law enforcement.
He doesn't have a problem with certain races — just people who complain about unwarranted searches and dare to ask for his badge number.
Kenrick Gray of Staten Island spent two days in jail when he complained after a stop-and-frisk that turned up nothing. Daragjati claimed that Gray was resisting arrest and was later hit with a misdemeanor civil rights violation. To make matters worse, Daragjati was already being investigated by the FBI for extorting and threatening a man who he believed stole his snowplow. Authorities tapped a phone call to a friend in which Daragjati said of appearing in court, "I sat there for a couple of hours by the time I got it all done but, fried another nigger," adding, "no big deal."
Daragjati now admits that he shouldn't have arrested Gray, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday. In a six-page letter he promises the court that he'll never use the N-word again, even though he doesn't discriminate when it comes to using racial slurs. Per the New York Daily News:
“I know that I will never be able to convince the world that I am not a racist,” Daragjati wrote. “I know that I am not ... That word was not reserved for people of color, it was used as an ignorant reference to those people in the street because of their conduct and disrespect for the community and members of law enforcement.”
In what sounds like in an ironic twist, Daragjati wound up teaching himself a few life lessons. He now knows when to use the N-word (never) and he's probably realized that illegal arrests generally don't boost people's respect for the authorities.