Pin It
Homeless NYPD
Homeless young person captured by the NYPD "Peek-a-boo: We See You Too" projectvia Flickr Sergeants Benevolent Association

New York police accused of abusing homeless LGBT youth

Beating, choking, sexual assault and the rape of young gay people on the streets is allegedly being carried out by cops, a new study has revealed

New York cops are under fire for their treatment of the city’s minorities. The force was recently criticised for starting a photo project, “Peek-a-Boo, We See You Too!,” which essentially involves encouraging people to take invasive pap shots of those living on the streets to prove to the mayor that the city’s homelessness problem is out of control. LGBT people have reportedly suffered too. In August, Jacob Alejandro filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD alledging that officers held him down, broke his ribs and used homophobic slurs against him as he tried to leave the city’s Pride celebration in 2014. In July, Louis Falcone, a gay black man, reported being beaten by police outside his home the previous month. The department has also been accused of transphobia.

So it should be of no surprise, then, that it’s been revealed the homeless LGBT youth are being repeatedly harmed by the NYPD. The Urban Institute surveyed 283 homeless LGBT youth in New York City who currently engage in survival sex (sex in exchange for food and shelter) and found that 71 per cent have had interactions with the NYPD, most of them negative and often becoming physical. 

Seventy per cent of the youth said they’d been arrested at least once. Of those arrested, 49 per cent said they felt “unsafe” in the patrol car after the arrest and had experienced violence at the hands of officers.

The more detail the report goes into, the more worrying the findings become. “This abuse consisted of verbal harassment, physical assault such as beating and choking, sexual assault including being propositioned for sex in exchange for release from custody and rape, denial of help when reporting a crime against police, and destruction or theft of personal property,” it finds. “In addition to physical injury, youth identified police violence as leading to psychological injury, including post traumatic stress disorder.” 

The question is: when is the NYPD going to be held accountable for their actions? Evidence has been piling up against the NYPD for years, but no action from a higher regulatory body has been taken. Unstable relations between police and civilians are nothing new in America, let’s be honest, but this accusations point towards a shocking level of police brutality.