In New York City the police are everywhere. Roughly 36,000 of them. Peering off the rooftops of Baruch houses. Perched behind tinted glass in a skywatch tower on Newkirk. Slouching in an office chair on the other side of that door just past the turnstiles at Throop.
In the North Shore hop off the bus at Bay Street, cross though the park and enter the deli. Ask for a loosie and you may get one. Though not passed through the fingers of Eric Garner, whose famous last breaths were sipped from the gum-speckled sidewalk out front. He was not alone. In the 15 years before his death there had been 179 fatalities involving on-duty NYPD cops. Of those, only three cases led to indictments — and just a single conviction.
Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos are no longer walking a beat. While someone stood at the counter in Mike’s Pizza on Tompkins Ave., working the bottle of mustard for its last drop, outside the officers were shot dead in their patrol car. Also missing are the 23 officers taken down with the Towers and the 241 who have passed since from illnesses related to that day.
To say that the people of New York City have a complicated relationship with the police is an understatement. This ongoing project, a collection of street photography documenting the NYPD over the past decade, hopes to reveal some of this complexity.