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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Suffolk chapter.

Recently, BuzzFeed News has uncovered secret files from 2011-2015 that expose at least 319 NYPD officers who had committed serious offenses to merit firing but could keep their jobs regardless of their crimes. These police officers had been able to walk free due to “dismissal probation” granted by the police commissioners. “Dismissal probation”, while penalizes these corrupt cops, contains very few consequences to their crimes considering they can keep their jobs and their current salary but can’t get promoted within the year. While many people may find this a good enough punishment for the people who “protect” us citizens, a slap on the wrist is not the correct punishment for the heinous crimes these police officers had committed.

The crimes the 319 NYPD officers had committed had ranged from minor misdemeanors to serious offenses, which, regardless of how “bad” their actions were, were all worthy of terminating these police officers. Some of the more “minor” crimes committed includes 71 officers who were guilty of ticket-fixing and 15 who were guilty of lesser offenses such as mouthing off to a supervisor.  38 officers were guilty of excessive force and/or firing their gun unnecessarily, which basically translates to police brutality and 57 were guilty of DUI’s. On the more “heinous” side, Officer Jarrett Dill, was accused of threatening to kill someone and Officer Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched another officer.

Of course, we should be concerned with these convictions, but why after all of this should we be concerned more than ever? The main reason being that our cities are being “protected” by these corrupted cops who believe that they are untouchable and can get away with anything due to their positions. With corrupt police officers patrolling the streets of NYC or any major city for that matter, people of color will further live their lives in fear of encountering a racist cop and experiencing police brutality. Those who are faced with police brutality, mainly people of color, are forced to live their lives in fear since these officers at any point, can severely hurt them and leave them for death or falsely accuse them of certain crimes to justify their actions of brutality. This fear is only heightened by the fact that the victims cannot prove if a cop has been convicted of any crimes since the police departments keep these key pieces of evidence under lock and key. By hiding this information from the public, the evidence that could save an innocent person from a life sentence in prison but without them there’s no way to accuse the arresting officer in court.

With all of these lies and convictions within the police department, how can we trust the police who are supposed to uphold justice and protect us? The only way to ease this anxiety is to find ways to remove the corrupted officers out of the system to protect citizens and uphold our constitutional rights. The first step to removing these cops is to fight back, protest and demand that our rights be protected.