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The Fix is In

By Bronx Journal Staff

Bronx residents responded with a range of emotion to the indictment of 17 police officers accused in a ticket fixing scandal. Some felt it was symbolic of larger problems of corruption and abuse of power, while others thought fixing a ticket or two was simply a perk of the job.

“These officers already treat us like caged animals,” said Derick Fisher, 23, a junior in business administration from Fordham. “I was stopped and ticketed for smoking a cigarette outside of my building and switching cars at a subway station (without actually walking in between them). I fear that these stops and tickets will continue after the trial.”

Amaru Smith, 23, a senior with a double major in psychology and finance, agreed that ticket fixing represented an “abuse of power,” and she had another concern – that the indictments would result in an increase in ticketing.

“A subsequent rise in tickets following this trial would be horrible for students and others without a source of income,” said Smith. “We’re getting worse treatment than the Wall Street protesters from this weekend.”

The scandal does not bode well for the future, said Kevlar Rollack, 23, a psychology major from Bedford Park. “The government is on the brink of a possible shutdown,” said Rollack. “This, coupled with the ticket fixing scandal, would mean a cloudy future for those in low-income communities. When it comes to the cops, I summarize the problem involving police with a quote from A. Philip Randolph.”

At the banquet table of life, there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take and you keep what you can hold. If you can’t take anything, you won’t get anything. If you can’t hold anything, you won’t keep anything. You can’t take anything without organization.

Rachel McNear, 29, a speech pathology major at Lehman, said she was falsely ticketed over the summer and had to take a day off work to prove her innocence.

“I was stopped for supposedly talking on my cell phone while driving,” said McNear. When she got to court, said McNear, she showed the judge her cell phone bill that indicated no phone call at the time she was pulled over. “The judge starred at the bill for like five minutes. I could tell that he didn’t want to drop the charge, but he had no choice.”

“I’m not surprised that this happened,” said Jessika Valdez, 28, a sociology major. However, Valdez said she wouldn’t mind getting a ticket fixed. “I don’t think it is fair, but people are going to take it because it’s a hook up. “

Several others agreed that few people would turn down a fixing and some suggested it was a side benefit of working on the force. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it,” said Eric, 20. “It’s the same as someone who works somewhere and they give discounts to their family members. I know I would like a discount.”

Erica Roche echoed the sentiment. “I honestly think that cops should be allowed to fix tickets and they should get some sort of free pass, maybe one.”

Everything has to do with who you know said Phineas Ascuy, 41. “It doesn’t surprise me that one can take care of a ticket with a family member that’s a cop.”

Others were less blasé, particularly about the wiretap recordings that included offensive language. Dariana Tolentino, 22, a junior in nursing thought they showed a bias against low-income communities.

“It’s unethical,” said Tolentino. “They should treat everyone equally, no matter what demographic dominates each of the city precincts. I think suspension should be the proper punishment for those involved in the wire talks.”

James Brown, a theatre major at Lehman, said he was disappointed. “It’s sad,” said Brown. “The Bronx has a lot of black and Hispanic officers, so you would think there would be less police harassment. But there is no difference. They have chips on their shoulders.”

Kenia Torres, 22, a human resource assistant manager said tickets serve as an important deterrent. “We have cases which can lead to crashes and worse scenarios such as death because of texting and drinking while driving. Having people pay a certain amount of money out of their pockets will make them think twice about their actions.”

Denise Then, 21, said she doubted the indictment would lead to any significant change. “The system is corrupted. Cops just get away with it all the time because it is way to expensive for the city to actually charge them. They will just hype the media for a few months and then just completely forget about it, and continue being cops.”

Alex Karagianais, 20, said ticket fixing was probably in his future. “I’m trying to be a cop,” he said. “It’s not right. It’s immoral. But I feel that it depends on what the offense is. If it is something minor, why not fix the tickets?”

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