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Cops Rough Up Social Workers

July 27, 2010 permalink

Not all cops love social workers, as shown in this note about New York Police roughing up CPS workers.



Union: Cops Roughed Up Child-Protective Workers

Says NYPD Investigating

Two Child Protective Workers were injured by Police Officers who were supposed to be assisting them in removing children from a home June 30, highlighting the dangers posed by their jobs and the vital need for police awareness in such situations, District Council 37 Local 371 President Faye Moore said last week.

The full version of this story below became available to all readers after 4 weeks.

Union: Cops Roughed Up Child-Protective Workers

Says NYPD Investigating

Faye Moore
FAYE MOORE: Both workers ‘traumatized.’

Two Child Protective Workers were injured by Police Officers who were supposed to be assisting them in removing children from a home June 30, highlighting the dangers posed by their jobs and the vital need for police awareness in such situations, District Council 37 Local 371 President Faye Moore said last week.

The two workers, who are remaining anonymous, were at a home in The Bronx to remove two children, including an infant, and had two Police Officers with them in case the situation became dangerous. When the father of the children began to “act out,” Ms. Moore explained in a phone interview, the police radioed for backup.

Treated Like Suspects

But the two Police Officers who arrived burst through the door, injuring one of the Child Protective Workers who had her back to it, and then ordered everyone in the room onto the ground, berating the workers as they tried to identify themselves and saying “I don’t give a f--- who you are.”

Ms. Moore said she didn’t know why the two Police Officers accompanying the Child Protective Workers didn’t stop the backup officers from ordering everyone in the room to hit the floor, but said the NYPD was investigating the incident internally.

“Both of these ladies are severely traumatized, and one of them spent a night in the hospital,” Ms. Moore said. “They filed a notice of claim because of the injuries. [ACS Commissioner John B.] Mattingly has been in touch with [Police Commissioner Raymond W.] Kelly and there is an investigation taking place.”

Mr. Mattingly confirmed the incident had occurred, saying in a statement that “NYPD was assisting ACS to conduct a child removal when the family began to violently resist. NYPD radioed for backup and the scene quickly became chaotic. In the confusion, arriving officers caused injuries to ACS workers.”

‘Unfortunate Incident’

He continued, “As Commissioner, I have requested that the Police Commissioner investigate the actions of the backup officers in this incident. It is important to note that ACS and NYPD work together every day throughout the city to protect children and will continue to do so despite this unfortunate incident.

“I especially want to thank our two dedicated and brave child protective workers who were involved in this case,” he added. “Without people like them, we would not be able to protect our City’s children. As far as I am concerned, they are heroes.”

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

The worker who had the door opened on her back also suffered injuries and bruising to her face. “It really damages how effective we can be when people who are supposed to be supporting us in the field are treating us as if we’ve done something wrong,” Ms. Moore said.

A Need to Communicate

She hoped the incident would draw attention to the need for proper communication between Child Protective Workers and Police Officers in future situations. “This shows how dangerous this job is when people, even uniformed officers, don’t know who we are and what we’re doing,” Ms. Moore said. “We as a city can do better in appreciating what these Child Protective Workers do.”

Police in such situations should defuse tensions between the child-protective workers and the families losing their children, not aggravate them, she added. “To walk into a situation like that, you have people screaming and crying, and you have these two professionals, the most reasonable people in the room, you figure you’d want to talk to them.”

Source: The Chief

Addendum: The New York Daily News gives the names of the social workers.



Social workers say cops beat them, failed to follow protocol on child removal that lead to violence

It was supposed to be a routine assignment.

A pair of city social workers sent to remove two children from an abusive Bronx home thought they could count on the two NYPD cops by their side in case things got ugly.

Instead, the officers bungled the case so badly, the social workers say, they ended up in the middle of a melee that left them beaten and bloodied - by the cops.

"I don't feel safe anymore," said Administration for Children's Services staffer Virginia Thomas as tears streamed down her face during an interview with The News.

Thomas, 30, and Virginia Vaca, 37, said they are too traumatized to return to work.

"If I see a police officer, I will go the other way. I lost faith in the NYPD," Thomas said.

On June 30, the pair decided they needed to remove two girls, a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old, from a drug-abusing mom and violent dad. Following normal procedure, they called for backup from the 41st Precinct.

Vaca said as soon as she spotted the two responding officers at the Hunts Point building, she sensed trouble.

There was no supervisor, a violation of the police patrol guide.

Then, the cops told the women to knock on the apartment door instead of making sure the home was safe for ACS workers to enter, said Gary Maitland, a lawyer for their union, Local 371.

Once inside the apartment, Vaca said officers argued with the children's mother for 20 minutes - and then let her call the girls' volatile father.

Tensions exploded. The cops could not restrain the dad and called for backup.

Nearly a dozen uniformed men busted through the front door - knocking the two ACS workers to the floor.

"We kept trying to get up, and they are pushing us back down," Thomas said.

Vaca said she "kept trying to tell them we were ACS."

One cop replied, "I don't give a f--- who you are," Vaca recalled.

Officers then dragged the women by their hair and arms out into the hallway, the workers said.

"They acted like savages," Vaca said.

Another officer barked to Vaca to "do her f---ing job, and go get the kids." The parents were arrested and charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child, court papers said.

They could not be reached for comment.

Vaca and Thomas were ordered to bring the children back to the stationhouse instead of an ACS safehouse in midtown, another violation of normal practice, the union lawyer said.

A spokesman for the NYPD, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, defended the officers.

"Police responded and brought a dangerous situation to a close. All of the officers involved remain on active duty," Browne said in a statement. "While Internal Affairs initially looked at the incident, it determined that it did not rise to IAB's level. It was referred instead to the precinct ICO [Integrity Control Officer], who is reviewing the complaint."

The ACS workers have filed a notice of claim against the city, the NYPD and the two officers, but they aren't necessarily looking for money, their lawyer said.

"What we want is a change in culture," said union president Faye Moore.

Moore sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg on Tuesday and has emailed Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. She is still waiting for a response.

The women are in therapy but neither knows if they will ever return to their old jobs.

"They took my life away," Vaca said.

Source: New York Daily News

police batter social workers