Monopoly, arguably the greatest board game on the face of this Earth, turning friends into foes, family into rivals and bringing the inner Wolf of Wall Street in all of us, has officially become a reality. Well, only for the NYPD, in the sense that they are able to obtain the ever so coveted jail-free card and multiple of them actually. What initially required a straw of luck, now only requires you to be a New York police officer.
These cards are distributed to police officers as “courtesy cards,” with as many as 30 “courtesy cards” being given to an individual police officer annually. These cards essentially can be used by officers and whomever they have chosen to give these cards to, usually close friends and family, as a way to get themselves excused from any consequences when being charged with minor “troubles” such as a speeding ticket and sometimes even larger crimes. What it essentially conveys is that police officers and their families are above the law and in a city like New York that is filled to the brim with injustice racial profiling and police brutality, with marginalized minorities, specifically African-Americans getting choked to death for selling cigarettes out of a box, a get-out-of-jail free card is like a slap in the face. People like Eric Garner, who was murdered by an NYPD officer, for selling cigarettes out of a box, did not have a jail-free card. And most people that look like Eric Garner could never even dream of having a jail-free card, considering the NYPD is almost 55% white.
The cards are an obstruction of justice and it exemplifies this pedestal that police officers are put on, namely, white police officers. In a city where minors are getting locked up for years and tortured in broken prison systems for something as small as marijuana possession, in a city where black and Hispanic people are targeted by the NYPD simply for looking “suspicious,” in a city where justice just isn’t enough anymore for the years of agony and pain felt by it’s marginalized communities, the fact that being a police officer can get you out of legal troubles is unacceptable. It’s no lie that the relationships between police officers and minorities is not the best in a city as diverse as NYC and the fact that police officers are given these special privileges for things that have ruined the lives of underprivileged minorities contributes to this hostility, this implied or rather explicit superiority of police officers. For minorities something as small as a few speeding tickets can dramatically affect eligibility for jobs and loans and it can perhaps ruin someone’s life and the fact that police officers don’t have to worry about this is infuriating. Officers enforce the law, they are not above it and this notion of a free “pass” is entirely in itself above the law. The first step to establishing a relationship, one that is positive between the NYPD and minorities is to put them at an equal level in terms of the law and potential consequences.