On Nov. 1, Bernard Goetz, better known to New Yorkers as the "Subway Vigilante, was arrested for selling $30 worth of weed to an undercover cop in Union Square. Prosecutors offered him a plea deal involving 10 days of community service, which Goetz thinks is ridiculous. He wants the case dismissed, otherwise he's going to trial.
Goetz, 65, called the situation "outrageous." "New York is crazy right now. The war on crime is over. If police have a policy of trying to escalate arrests to make their record look good that is no way to run a police department," he said. He's right.
In December 1984, Goetz shot Troy Canty, Barry Allen, James Ranseur and Darrell Cabey on a 2 train in Manhattan. Though he was acquitted of attempted murder, he was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon and sentenced to six months in prison. In 1996, he filed for bankruptcy after Cabey won a $43 million lawsuit against him.
He's convinced that incoming NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, a familiar face, is the hero the city needs. "I remember him saying 20 years ago that he felt police have to be controlled," he said. "And I think Bratton can send that new message."
For Goetz, that message begins with dismissing his case.