June 4, 2015
30-year-old Ymmacula Pierre was on duty in July of 2014 when she was called to conduct a “wellness check” on 65-year-old Kenneth Sanden. Sanden’s family had requested the check. When Pierre arrived, Pierre found him dead. According to the prosecution’s allegations, she obtained his credit card information after notifying his family of his death.
Pierre purchased a $3,282 diamond ring from Zales.com using the Mastercard information. She planned to have it shipped to her boyfriend’s apartment. Before it arrived, Sanders’ niece received a fraud notification, called Zales, and the company contacted FedEx to cancel the shipment.
A months-long investigation found that the IP address used to purchase the ring originated from Pierre’s boyfriend’s apartment. The packaged was addressed to that location, as well.
This week, Pierre plead not guilty to charges of official misconduct, identity theft, and possession of stolen property. Her lawyer maintains she is a “wonderful person.” Pierre, a three-year veteran of the NYPD, was released on her own recognizance but still faces the charges and suspension from the department.
Evan Oppenheimer, Sander’s neighbor, told the New York Daily News that
“We trust that the police be there when we need them. This is just wrong, to take advantage of Ken. It’s a horrible thing to do, to someone who can’t take care of himself.”
While the story of a police officer stealing the credit card of a dead man she was tasked with serving is concerning, what is more unsettling is that her punishment is worse than that of many violent officers. Police around the country who shoot and often kill unarmed men are frequently suspended with pay while investigations are conducted. They rarely face indictment, let alone conviction. If authorities pursued these officers with the same enthusiasm as they have Pierre, perhaps police would not have killed nearly 400 civilians this year.
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