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Saki Knafo
Saki Knafo has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, the Believer, GQ, Details, and Publishers Weekly. His work has appeared in two anthologies, Lost and Found: Stories from New York (Mr. Beller's Neighborhood) and New York Stories: Best of the City Section. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, before every writer in America was contractually obligated to live there.
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Entries by Saki Knafo

Lawmakers 'Disturbed' After NYPD's Highest-Ranking Black Officer Resigns

(159) Comments | Posted October 31, 2014 | 5:53 PM

NEW YORK -- When Bill Bratton was sworn in as head of the New York Police Department in January, he pledged to improve relations between New Yorkers of color and “every member" of his department.

The abrupt resignation of the department’s highest-ranking black official on Friday may...

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Man Indicted For Allegedly Impersonating Winklevoss Twins

(4) Comments | Posted October 30, 2014 | 6:30 PM

A San Francisco man allegedly infiltrated the rarified world of Wall Street banking by impersonating a pair of famous tech entrepreneurs, according to an indictment announced in Manhattan's district court this week.

Arun Ganguly, 37, allegedly sent investors hundreds of emails in which he pretended to be Tyler and Cameron...

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New York Police Study Reveals 'Stark Racial Biases'

(33) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 8:18 PM

Three decades ago, New York’s Times Square was a symbol of vice and violence. Today, cops in the area worry about street performers who dress up like Elmo.

The city’s transformation from crime capital to urban Disneyland is one of America’s great success stories, but a less...

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Smooth Criminals
How Subway Dancing Became A New York City Art Form -- And A Crime

(70) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 7:32 AM

Randy Vargas is a 19-year-old high school senior who dances for money after school on the trains beneath Manhattan. Among fellow dancers, he is admired and envied for his mastery of the “hat trick,” which he performs by juggling a baseball cap off his knees, feet and...

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Graphic Video Released In 2012 Police Shooting Of Michigan Man Milton Hall

(256) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 6:29 PM

When police in Michigan killed a mentally ill man in a hail of bullets two years ago, it prompted a local outcry and a federal investigation. A video released Monday offers a disturbingly clear look at the shooting.

The video, captured by a police car dashboard camera, appears...

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Cleaning Crews Move In After Ebola Diagnosed In New York

(8) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 6:51 PM

NEW YORK -- As the largest U.S. city grapples with its first case of Ebola, doctors, nurses, and Health Department officials have leapt to the forefront of a massive response effort.

But there's another, unlikely crew of professionals fighting the virus: The cleaners.

From Craig Spencer's Harlem apartment to a...

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Law Limiting Sex Offender Housing Could Hurt Kids, Too, ACLU Says

(9) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 3:16 PM

A rule meant to protect Florida children from sex crimes could actually be putting kids in danger, according to a complaint filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The 2010 Miami-Dade County ordinance restricts people convicted of certain sex crimes from living within 2,500 feet of...

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New York Subway Performers Stand Up To Police With Big Subway Jam Session

(3) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 9:02 PM

If New York City in the post-Bloomberg era can still be called gritty, artistic, and weird, the political demonstration in the Metropolitan Avenue subway station on Tuesday afternoon was a quintessential New York gathering. Kid Lucky, the “human beatbox,” was there. So was Matthew Silver, better known as...

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It's Legal To Sing In The Subway, But This Subway Singer Got Arrested Anyway

(124) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 7:03 PM

The New York City transit authority has a rule that expressly allows people to play music beneath the streets.

So why did a cop arrest a busker over the weekend after he refused to stop singing and playing his acoustic guitar on a subway platform?

At the busker’s...

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NYPD Still Arresting Large Numbers Of Minorities For Low-Level Marijuana Offenses

(95) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 4:40 PM

As a candidate for New York City mayor last year, Bill de Blasio promised to end marijuana arrests, noting that they have “disastrous consequences for individuals and their families,” such as making it harder for people to secure student financial aid and find “stable housing and good jobs.”...

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Meet One Of The Thousands Of Drug Offenders Hoping Obama Will Shorten Their Prison Terms

(31) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 4:08 PM

Donel Clark was working at Dallas grocery store, supporting his wife and three young sons, when he took a more lucrative job as a “cook” in a friend’s kitchen, where the main ingredient was raw cocaine and the final product was crack. In 1994, when Clark was 29, a judge...

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Hispano condenado por muerte de bebé libra la pena capital

(2) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 12:23 PM

En el 2005, Manuel Vélez, un trabajador en el ramo de la construcción en Brownsville, Texas, se mudó con su novia, Acela Moreno. Dos semanas después, Vélez se percató de que Ángel, el bebé de Moreno, de apenas 11 meses, tenía problemas para respirar. Vélez despertó a Moreno y fue...

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Three Cities Are Trying To Keep Low-Level Offenders Out Of Jail

(6) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 4:43 PM

Jeannine Owens was afraid that her adult son was planning to set their home on fire. So she picked up the phone and dialed 911, as she’d done many times before with heartbreaking results. She’d seen the police clap her son into handcuffs and drag him off to jail, but...

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Prisoner Walks Free After Years On Texas Death Row

(66) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 6:11 PM

In 2005, Manuel Velez, a construction worker in Brownsville, Texas, moved in with his girlfriend, Acela Moreno. Two weeks later, he noticed that Moreno's 11-month-old baby, Angel, was struggling to breathe. Velez woke Moreno and went next door to get help, but by the time the rescue workers showed up,...

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NYPD 'Emasculated' Its Own Chokehold Ban, Watchdog Agency Finds

(12) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 10:16 PM

NEW YORK -- Three months after Eric Garner died at the hands of New York police while shouting, "I can't breathe," a city agency has found that chokehold complaints against the New York Police Department are on the rise.

Although the police department has banned chokeholds for more than...

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California Takes Overdue Stand Against 'Failed Drug Laws'

(28) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 6:21 PM

California lawmakers finally reformed a drug sentencing law that critics throughout the country long denounced as racist.

The California Fair Sentencing Act, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) late on Sunday evening, ensures that people who are convicted of certain offenses involving crack cocaine will no longer receive harsher punishments...

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New York Plan Misses The Whole Point Of Drug Policy Reform

(23) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 7:43 PM

Three years ago, police officers in Seattle took a chance on a radical and unprecedented approach to the city's drug problem: They stopped automatically locking up everyone arrested for drugs and, instead, began referring addicted people to social workers, who provided them with free apartments, referrals to psychiatrists...

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Those Street Dancers Bill Bratton Said The NYPD Doesn't Bother? Here They Are Getting Ticketed

(19) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 4:38 PM

NEW YORK -- New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton claimed at a packed city council meeting on Monday that the police don’t have a problem with people who dance on the streets to make a living.

Arrests of dancers who perform on the city’s subway trains have tripled...

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New Video Explains How Cops Became Soldiers

(33) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 12:40 PM

Keene, New Hampshire, population 23,000, is home to an annual pumpkin festival, a summer baseball team called the Swamp Bats -- and something called a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck. Cullman, Alabama, population 14,000, has a military vehicle built to withstand a blast from a land mine. The...

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Nonprofit Floats Unusual Alternative To Private Prison

(81) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 10:20 AM

A group of activists in Washington, D.C., have proposed a novel solution to a problem that has affected the United States for decades: the practice of locking people up in private prisons that critics say are more concerned with making money for their shareholders than with helping lawbreakers turn their...

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