Jonathan Wohl’s arrest last September was about as routine as they come.
The 35-year-old construction worker was staging a one-man protest against his union, recording himself on his phone as he stood in the lobby of the Midtown offices of Laborers Local 79. When security asked him to leave, he refused and the building called the cops.
In a strange twist of technological fate, Wohl’s phone, which was at that point in the possession of the police, kept on recording.
For nearly eight hours, as Wohl paced around a holding cell in the Midtown South precinct, his phone picked up conversations among dozens of cops who did not appear to know they were being recorded.
The tape, which was reviewed by Gothamist, offers a rare window into the daily work of a police officer behind closed doors – and the ways that a number of recent criminal justice reforms have changed the way officers process arrests and collect overtime.
In contrast to comments from top NYPD officials, who have spent years lobbying against bail reform, rank-and-file officers offered another perspective, suggesting the additional paperwork required by the new law had been a boon to their paychecks.
“Bail reform sucks. But it’s also one of the best things that’s ever happened, too,” Wohl’s arresting officer, Shaun Enright, said to a coworker in the recording. “God is great, bro.”
The NYPD declined to make Enright available for comment on this story and declined to comment as an agency. The Police Benevolent Association, the union representing rank-and-file police officers, did not respond to a request for comment.