The Civil Rights Division of the U.S Department of Justice has announced that it may launch a probe into the Police Department’s “broken windows” policy, which civil rights advocates say targets minorities for petty crimes.
The DOJ’s announcement came in response to a joint letter that six New York Congressional members sent to Washington in August. They urged the department to launch an investigation into the caught-on-camera chokehold death of Staten Island man Eric Garner and the broken windows policy they said Garner was a victim of.
Just nine months into his first term, it appears likely that the legacy of Mayor de Blasio will largely rest on an important issue: his ability to improve relations between the Police Department and the city’s communities of color.
A panel discussion titled “Broken Windows ... Broken Theory?” held at St. John’s University on Monday delved into race relations.
The 103rd Precinct in Jamaica will be one of five NYPD precincts that will have a limited number of officers wearing on-duty body cameras in a pilot program scheduled to begin before the end of the year.
The cameras are being tested in compliance with a court ruling in Floyd v. The City of New York, which required that a pilot camera program take place in precincts with the highest number of stop-and-frisk encounters in 2012.
There were a lot of things the public and even city lawmakers wanted to hear from Police Commissioner Bill Bratton when he sat before the City Council on Monday.
What is going to happen to the officer who allegedly killed Eric Garner? Is the NYPD racist? How will cops be trained to handle escalated situations without excessive force? What are you going to do?
Circus shows are generally pretty shallow. Of course, there is tremendous talent behind the contorting acrobats and silly clowns, but most circuses do not approach the show with the intent to create substantial and meaningful thoughts and discussions among audience members.
Circus Amok has broken that tradition.
Leroy Comrie’s message to voters, as he tries to unseat state Sen. Malcolm Smith this September, is a simple one.
“I’m not going to Albany as a typical freshman.”
Following the July 17 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner while he was resisting arrest for allegedly selling single cigarettes, an already-existing campaign to dissuade police from enforcing the law on some minor crimes and violations picked up steam. Enforcement of such laws, what is known as the broken windows theory approach to policing, is one target of the protest led by the Rev. Al Sharpton that is set to take place on Staten Island Saturday.
According to activists such as Sharpton, as well as some elected officials including three members of Congress who represent parts of Queens, broken windows policing has an unfair impact on minority communities, such as the one where Garner, who was black, died.
R abble-rousing tax cheat and reverend Al Sharpton, a man with blood on his hands from Brooklyn to the Bronx, cannot be allowed to dictate NYPD policy. Mayor de Blasio never should have given the race-baiting charlatan a seat on a dais between himself and Commissioner Bill Bratton to publicly discuss policing.
There’s some worry, well reported Tuesday by DNAinfo, that de Blasio will soon have to pick whose side he’s on: Bratton’s or Sharpton’s, the law or the lawless — and that he’s likely to go with Sharpton.
Civil rights organizations, including some who prodded the city to reduce the searching of individuals police deem suspicious, are now demanding the NYPD abandon the broken windows theory of crimefighting, which they say unfairly targets minorities — the same argument they made against stop and frisk.
The criticism against broken-windows policing — which involves strict enforcement of minor crimes in order to deter, prevent or uncover bigger ones — follows the death last week of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died in police custody after resisting arrest. Garner was allegedly selling single cigarettes. Many, including Mayor de Blasio, said it appears as if one officer used an illegal chokehold on the overweight, asthmatic man, who told the police he couldn’t breathe before dying.
While the death of Eric Garner in police custody is a tragedy that must be fully investigated to see if it warrants criminal charges or at least disciplinary action, it should not be exploited to stir up fear and division among city residents. Nor should it be used as an excuse to attack yet another of the Police Department’s most successful tactics. Yet that’s exactly what appears to be happening.
Garner died last Thursday in Staten Island while resisting arrest for allegedly selling illegal, single cigarettes. One of the several officers trying to take him into custody apparently used a chokehold, a violation of Police Department policy. An asthmatic, overweight man, Garner told the cops he couldn’t breathe, but they didn’t seem too concerned about that. Neither did the Emergency Medical Service personnel who responded. Garner died where he fell.
The NYPD is looking into amendments recently made to stop, question and frisk.
Supporters of the police tactic stop, question and frisk are getting ready to say “I told you so,” now that new statistics show a spike in shooting incidents.
According to the NYPD, shootings jumped 11 percent compared to the same time last year and this past weekend, there were 21 shootings alone, causing some to second-guess Mayor de Blasio’s decision to drop the city’s appeal against amendments added to stop and frisk.
Most parts of Queens have been fairly lucky this year when it comes to gun violence. While the city overall has seen an 11.2 percent rise in shootings so far this year compared to last, going by the latest available police statistics, and some areas have been subject to much worse, Queens has not.
In the southern part of the borough, as defined by the Police Deparment, the number of shooting incidents has gone up only 3.8 percent, from 52 to 54, as of June 22. And in the northern part, they’ve actually fallen 29.4 percent, from 17 to 12. Compare that to the Bronx, where they have jumped 25.4 percent, from 118 to 148. And none of these stats include the mayhem of last weekend, when there were 21 shootings across the city, including a fatal one in Cambria Heights.
I’m feeling rather disturbed over the fact that shootings are up by 43 percent in just last month alone. In addition to that, fewer guns are coming off the street.
Now more men, women and children are in danger as our police are being handicapped by their inability to use such tactics such as stop and frisk. There are those who say that stop and frisk was a bad idea, but I don’t think so. These numbers don’t lie. Since January there has been an increase of 13.2 percent in shooting victims. The criminal element is not afraid to hit the street with heat, and that’s scary.
Remember this too: It is not only the public whose lives that are in danger but all the police officers who put their lives on the line to protect all of us. They have families too who will grieve over their loss. I say bring back stop and frisk, and do it now!
A number of high-profile crimes in Brooklyn have been grabbing headlines in the last week or so.
This past Sunday a man stabbed and killed a 6-year-old boy in an elevator in East New York, and seriously wounded a 7-year-old girl in the process.
Barring any last-minute surprises on Friday at a pre-trial conference, jury selection is expected to begin Monday morning in Westchester County in the matter of the United States of America v. Daniel Halloran, Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone.
The three were among six people arrested 14 months ago in an alleged scheme by state Sen. Smith (D-Hollis) to bribe Republican officials in New York City in an effort to get his name on the Republican ballot for mayor in 2013.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said police work and public safety are a partnership between the department and the community at the 47th annual Meeting of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp.
In his talk, which took place at the Jamaica Center for the Performing Arts, Bratton addressed head-on issues of distrust of the NYPD in several of the city’s minority communities.
When the Police Department invited the public to post photos of people interacting with officers on the Twitter social media network, it may not have gotten the results it intended.
I was very disturbed with the tone and tenor of your editorial in the March 20 edition of your newspaper, “The high price to pay for diversity.”
You echo the false claims of the Bloomberg administration that the city did not “purposely discriminate against minority applicants to the FDNY” ... although the Vulcan Society presented voluminous amounts of evidence in its lawsuit filed in 2007, sufficient enough for the U.S. District Court to rule in favor of the Vulcan Society against the city, five years later.
Were it not for this just ruling by the Federal Court, these thousands of African Americans and Latinos, who were certainly victims, would not have received the justice they deserve.
I am reluctant to put a “price” on the emotional damage to individuals who suffered, or to say what just compensation is. How do we repair and make whole the individual’s humiliation, loss of dignity and self respect, and perhaps a sense of hopelessness associated with such discrimination?
The monetary award as part of the legal settlement will help, accompanied by a fair and unencumbered opportunity to now join the FDNY, based on their individual abilities.
But if you really feel that this monetary “settlement” was a “high price to pay for diversity,” you show glaring ignorance of the institutional racism and bias that has plagued this city for years. Furthermore, you make no mention of the enormous costs of public funds spent by the Bloomberg administration to “defend” their position. Few in the press have asked the basic question: Why are there so few minorities in the New York City Fire Department? And what is the administration doing about it. Instead, the Bloomberg administration spent millions to “defend” a lost cause. As you point out, the FDNY now has a chief diversity officer, which costs.
Additionally, we now witness the other federal lawsuit recently settled against the Bloomberg administration’s stop and frisk policy, where the city spent millions to “defend” an illegal policy. The NYPD now has an inspector general, which costs.
There seems to be a mindset in the press that somehow grievances blacks and Latinos have don’t always warrant the basic fairness and objectivity of those voiced by their white counterparts. I believe that the settlement monies these aggrieved applicants receive can never compensate them for the harm experienced by such an evil policy.
Mayor de Blasio announced on Tuesday that the city will settle a long-running, contentious lawsuit brought over alleged racism in testing for applicants to the Fire Department.
The federal suit was brought against the city by the Vulcan Society, which represents black firefighters, and the U.S. Justice Department in 2007. It alleged that recent exams discriminated against black applicants, and resulted in a judge throwing out the results of those tests and threatening to impose ethnic quotas on FDNY hiring.
We never hopped on the anti stop-and-frisk bandwagon, believing that while the police tactic warranted some reform, it was not the mass violation of constitutional rights its detractors claimed. And we were among those who worried that drastically reducing stops would lead to a rise in gun violence because criminals would be more inclined to carry, and thus more likely to blast away in the heat of the moment.
But though it’s too early to say anything definitive, the numbers so far this year show that violent crime continues to fall even as the number of stop and frisks drops off the cliff. According to DNAinfo, citing police sources, murders are down 18.5 percent so far this year, with 44 people killed compared to 54 to the same point last year. Shootings are down 13.5 percent. Meanwhile police stops continue to drop, down nearly 90 percent from their peak in 2011.
CFE-style lawsuit launched to raise school spending
TA coalition of advocates and individuals, including Community Education Council 28 in Central and Southeast Queens, and a parent from Far Rockaway, are suing the state to increase its funding for education.
The federal case over the Police Department’s use of stop and frisk went before a new judge last week.
District Judge Analisa Torres will now rule on the lawsuit brought against the city by civil rights groups and people who say they were wrongly stopped by cops, in violation of their constitutional rights.
Mayor de Blasio, who for most of his campaign criticized the severe economic inequality in the five boroughs, addressed how he plans to make the “Tale of Two Cities” into one of strength and unity.
“In past decades, working people built our city, and for their hard work they were rewarded, not always with great wealth, but with a fundamental assurance … the knowledge that hard work could pull them from modest means into a growing middle class” de Blasio said before a packed crowd of government officials and community members at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City on Monday. “Today, that assurance is missing … that sense of economic justice is gone. And that’s what we aim to address.”