NYPD Pouts And Refuses To Do Their Duty; Residents Split Between Applauding And Failing To Notice

from the irrelevant dept

As you may be aware, things have gotten weird with the NYPD over the past several weeks. In what amounts to the police force in our nation’s largest city throwing a temper tantrum over either the brutal murder of 2 officers or the sudden attention being paid to how police officers treat the city’s minority residents in the wake of the stop and frisk scandals and the death of Eric Garner, the NYPD’s numbers are all down. Arrests are down somewhere in the neighborhood of 50%, and citations appear to have plummeted to a fraction of the norm, resulting in arraignment numbers dropping by nearly a third. While the NYPD has denied that this is any kind of coordinated lack-of-effort, that claim is laughable and it’s obvious that the police officers have banded together to show us how much New York City needs them and how horrible life will be when they stop performing the duties they swore to perform.

Too bad most people are barely noticing and that those who have noticed are thrilled.

Few managers in the court system expect the current downturn to last. Many public defenders, however, said they hope the steep decline in minor arrests will become permanent. They noted felonies did not rise over the last three weeks as arrests for low-level crimes plummeted.

“This proves to us is what we all knew as defenders: You can end broken-windows policing without ending public safety,” said Justine M. Luongo, the deputy attorney-in-charge of criminal practice for the Legal Aid Society.

Those who have been arrested are getting better service from public defenders, while the courts themselves are free from the clutter of the massive arrests the police usually perform. You might be tempted to think that this means low-level criminals are getting away with their crimes. That might be true to some extent, though nobody seems to want to put forth any actual empirical data to support the claim, but what’s plainly obvious thanks to the lack of clutter is how silly NYPD arrests can get.

Those arrested for relatively minor offenses now stand out. On Wednesday morning in Manhattan, William Talen, 64, who calls himself Reverend Billy, awaited arraignment. He had been arrested on Tuesday afternoon as he gave a sermon in Grand Central Terminal — protesting police brutality.

If the drop in arrests resulting from the NYPD refusing to do their jobs is made up of these kinds of arrests, good riddance. And it isn’t just public defenders with more free time that appreciate the police taking a walk on their duty. The citizens are happy about it as well.

Charles Franklin, a 27-year-old student wearing a Shepard Fairey hat that reads “OBEY,” is also enjoying the latest trend in policing.“This is how it’s supposed to be,” he says, referring to the “quiet” he’s been sensing, the “lower volume” of cops he’s been seeing on local corners. “I’m not talking about guys getting away with nothing, I’m talking about feeling safe. The police driving up on us, because of some hearsay, and jumping out, that don’t make us feel safe. The police smelling every drink I drink, looking in my bag every time I come out the store, that don’t make me feel safe. This is how it’s supposed to be,” he reiterates. “We feel safe. And for once, we’re not running late – usually we always be running late because of having been hassled.”

Those sentiments are accompanied by wry quotes affirming that some of the police force’s biggest money-making habits, such as parking citations on the one block where they make lots of money are still going strong even as overall tickets are way down,

That said, the reaction to the police sitting on their hands and refusing to do their duty is pretty clear: shrugs and applause. As one person noted, it’s somewhat revealing:

To many of us from these communities, the past two weeks have amounted to a vacation from fear, surveillance and punishment. Maybe this is what it feels like to not be prejudged and seen as suspicious law breakers. Maybe this is a small taste of what it feels like to be white.

If the NYPD was trying to teach the city’s citizens a lesson, it appears to have taught one unintentionally: there are too many police on staff arresting too many people most of the time. Nice job, union bosses!

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Comments on “NYPD Pouts And Refuses To Do Their Duty; Residents Split Between Applauding And Failing To Notice”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not a chance… eventually something is going to happen to make the Mayor or the Police cave… someone will get the burn… we are just waiting to see which sucker drops the lighter in the puddle of gas they are standing in.

And when its done… its like to get worst. Because we will either have a Police force now high and mighty on their chest thumping, or sore ass losers… and neither proposition when law enforcement is concerned is particularly appealing!

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Other Law Enforcement Truth

Except that more of them come out that way than go in. And given the way in which the U.S. society damns for life, they probably have better chances of survival that way.

Which is the U.S. variant of “rehabilitation and reeducation”. Naturally, they can only teach their children how to survive under those conditions, and the class-based self-fulfilling prophesy continues.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Other Law Enforcement Truth

Prisons should be about reeducating and reintroducing the person into society when possible.

Yeah, and they should be about locking away avowed predators from peaceful, law abiding individuals. I’m in favour of building “Coventry” on the north shore of Greenland. Just drop the perps off there and they can walk back to civilization.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Other Law Enforcement Truth

How do predators become predators?

How do peaceful law abiding individuals become peaceful law abiding individuals?

Let’s attempt to answer these questions before we air drop the perps into Greenland shall we? I think you might be surprised how simple those answers might be.

Corrupting an individual is easy. Dropping them off in Greenland or prison is easier still. Taking the first easy route hasn’t stopped the influx of perps. Taking the second won’t cure them. Given those repeat failures, maybe it’s time we try something new?

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Other Law Enforcement Truth

How do predators become predators?
How do peaceful law abiding individuals become peaceful law abiding individuals?

One of us has a dodgy sarcasm meter. I detect some pretty serious sarcasm in tqk’s comment, but my meter may be broken.

Actually, I think it’s working fine. My Aristotle gene might be on overdrive, and that could be throwing it off. “Things as they could, and should, be.” I’m a hopeless idealist.

a1: Predators are either bred or taught to be predators, or not taught not to become predators in our (civilized homo sapiens) case. We’re supposed to not be doing “law of the jungle” stuff in polite society.

a2: Peaceful law abiding[] individuals become “peaceful law abiding individuals” by not being predators. See a1.

I’m just standing up for the weak here. They don’t want to live in a battle zone, and they shouldn’t have to. If their gov’t is good for anything, it ought to at least ship the worst, most egregious, most recidivistic, least teachable offenders out, and the north coast of Greenland seems like a great place for them. It’s really not all that difficult to act civilized, but if that’s too tough for some, there’s Greenland.

[] Sane laws in effect is an assumption on my part. I’d prefer to go on ethics and morality, but if all of you prefer codified law, I can do that instead.

Applesauce says:

Re: Other Law Enforcement Truth

Further evidence that laws and police have little or no impact on crime.

1. Russell Brand, a former drug addict, now sober, pointed out that when he was an addict, all he cared about was getting his next fix. That is the focus of every addict. The legal status of their drug is 100% irrelevant to them, as are the consequences. If it was otherwise, they wouldn’t be addicts. Lawmakers seem incapable of comprehending this obvious truth and keep passing more laws and arresting more people. This dynamic is probably not limited to drug laws.

2. The twenty-year decline in violent crime nationwide correlates almost perfectly with the elimination of tetra-ethyl lead from the environment. Correlation is not always causation, but sometimes it is, and when the correlation is perfect, it is unlikely to be coincidental. This raises three new questions:
2a. Were all those draconian laws passed and the beefed up police departments a waste of resources?
2b. What other toxins currently in our environment are having a so-far undocumented affect on crime?
2c. How many fewer police is the optimum number?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Other Law Enforcement Truth

By your logic we could solve all problems by just having free Twinkes and Doritos on every corner and fill the air with the smoke of burning Marijuana.

Everyone will be walking around getting the munchies, waving peach signs around talking to their fellow citizens in a slow slurred voice saying things like “Peace brother, do you know where I can find some Twinkes?”

Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Other Law Enforcement Truth

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Human beings aren’t machines like your smartphone or your computer. You can’t use one month of data to judge whether a given policy is good or bad. It took decades to change NYC from a cesspool to a place where you can live and work safely, and you’d need years to figure out whether any change in policing would have an effect one way or another.

Here’s a hypothetical to illustrate the point: everyone in the world stops emitting CO2 today; atmosopheric CO2 levels remain unchanged for the next month; QED, human activity has no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels, right?

Cal (profile) says:

Re: Other Law Enforcement Truth

Prisons are mostly about having “slaves” do the work so that the corporations who own them make a larger profit. That is why there is a state guarantee that the prisons will be occupied by a certain HIGH percentage or the state will make up the loss in funds to the corporation.

It is about $$, not anything else.

Unanimous Cow Herd says:

Re: It's not going to last

That should be a self solving problem.

Quoting AC above:
“I’d say the NYPD is demonstrating that it actually needs less officers on the job. In any other line of work, those that don’t do their jobs don’t have them for long. Sounds to me like the NYPD could stand some serious budget cutting to make up the lack of funds.”

DOlz (profile) says:

Car 54 where are you?

There was an episode where the police commisioner when thru Toody and Muldoon’s patrol area and was appalled by the number of minor infractions. They were told to get their area cleaned up or else. They couldn’t bring themselves to write tickets for trivial stuff and were to be sent to patrol the docks. Before this could happen the police statistician pointed out that while their area was the worse in minor infractions there were almost no major crimes. It turned out the people in the nieghborhood worked with Toody and Muldoon to keep there neighborhood safe.

It seems that Nat Hiken knew back then what the police of today have forgotten, fear doesn’t breed respect, respect breeds respect.

nasch (profile) says:


While the NYPD has denied that this is any kind of coordinated lack-of-effort, that claim is laughable

The claim I heard is that things are now so dangerous for police that they have to travel in packs, so they’re less efficient. I suspect this is just flat out false. I wonder if anyone is reporting large groups of police moving together where they were just traveling in pairs before. I don’t think that was an official police spokesperson who said that but someone from one of the police booster groups.

Anonymous Coward says:


I don’t know about NYC, but here in Texas, a lot of police end up getting paid overtime when they Appear in court. In part this occurs naturally, as lots of arrests are by night-shift police, and court hearings and trials are during the day. (Are there minimum sleep rules for police shifts?)

If the NYC police slowdown is cutting into police overtime pay, I just can’t see it going for more than a few months.

tqk (profile) says:

If the NYC police slowdown is cutting into police overtime pay, I just can’t see it going for more than a few months.

And if it does, what’s the downside? NY cuts its police budget by the amount the police slowdown’s costing NY (in tickets not written), and NY ends up with the policing it needs without all these New Yorkers complaining about police presence overkill.

Who loses, but the PBA?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Provide him the means to educate himself, offer him training in productive, profitable, and legal skills, psychiatric evaluations and counseling if needed, drug rehab if needed, and workshops showing how much better their lives could be if they switched to legal livelyhoods.

Will it work for all of them? No, but it will certainly work for more than the ‘Just throw them in prison’ method the US currently employs.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Most convicts are not "Thugs."

The DoJ is heavily weighted towards conviction and incarceration even when evidence is in start contradiction to police testimony: three lying police officers on the stand cannot be wrong.

It’s hard to say, but it is possible that the number of innocents incarcerated in the United States could likely outnumber the number of guilty. Most of them are jailed for minor crimes at any rate (e.g. marijuana possession).

And the corrections system we have is actually counterproductive towards reintegration. Long term incarceration tends to make one thuggier, not better prepared for society. It’s hard to do anything towards improving our corrections system and it not be a step forward.

Also, remember that the United States has the greatest number of prisoners per capita in the world at 716 per 100,000. No, wait, the Archipelago of Seychelles may have temporarily beat us out. But our incarceration rate is nonetheless ridiculous. We have 5% of the population and 25% of the prisoners.

And at this point they’re all political prisoners.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Most convicts are not "Thugs."

Most of them are jailed for minor crimes at any rate (e.g. marijuana possession).

I just heard that about 45% of the drug offenders in US prisons are there for possession of marijuana. Also:

“The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. There are currently more than 2 million people in American prisons or jails. Approximately one-quarter of those people held in U.S. prisons or jails have been convicted of a drug offense. The United States incarcerates more people for drug offenses than any other country. With an estimated 6.8 million Americans struggling with drug abuse or dependence, the growth of the prison population continues to be driven largely by incarceration for drug offenses.”
Justice Policy Institute, “Substance Abuse Treatment and Public Safety,” (Washington, DC: January 2008), p. 1.

It’s hard to do anything towards improving our corrections system and it not be a step forward.

By definition. 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

I liked the piece the Daily Show delievered last week.
Jason Jones on scene in NY and declaring it lawless.

Somewhat eye opening to see a hidden camera part where he orders some weed on his phone and gets it and trying to sell it again, just 5 feet from an NYPD officer standing around looking like he is performing his job, standing in one place and pretending to look around.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: This is what freedom feels like

“Maybe as frogs, we should have jumped out of the pot before it started boiling?”

Did you know that the story about boiling frogs is a myth? If you put a frog in water and slowly increase the heat until the water is boiling, the frog will jump out well before the water is too hot.

So, in other words, frogs are smarter than many people in this regard.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Frogs and pots.

Actually Wikipedia notes the experience of zoologists is that it’s hard to keep the frog in the pot while the water is cool.

But your point is valid. Bread and circuses will keep the people placated until everybody has been personally affected or knows someone unfairly affected by the police state.

We’re approaching that level now.

We’re not frogs in puddles. Human beings are an incredibly lawful, authority-respecting species and are willing to suffer a fuckton of shit if we believe doing so is in the service of the community as a whole.

So yeah, there’s a lot of static inertia to overcome to achieve general resistance to authority.

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