Arrest Numbers Show The NYPD Is Handling Pandemic Enforcement With The Same Biased Enthusiasm It Put Into Stop And Frisk

from the at-least-the-selective-enforcement-is-consistent dept

You can take the stop-and-frisk out of the NYPD, but you can't remove the biased policing, as the old saying goes. The NYPD may have been forced to stop pushing every minority up against the nearest wall/fence/cop car after a federal court determined this to be a violation of their rights, but they're apparently continuing to enforce laws very selectively.

On Thursday night, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office became the first prosecutor in the city to release statistics on social-distancing enforcement. In the borough, the police arrested 40 people for social-distancing violations from March 17 through May 4, the district attorney’s office said.

Of those arrested, 35 people were black, four were Hispanic and one was white.

More than a third of the arrests were made in the predominantly black neighborhood of Brownsville. No arrests were made in the more white Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope.

So, this is more than just anecdotal evidence. It's, you know, evidence evidence. Plenty of anecdotal evidence exists of inconsistent social distancing enforcement is available, if you're interested in seeing that as well.

This bothers Mayor Bill De Blasio -- the man who won the election by promising to be someone other than Mike Bloomberg, who loudly and proudly supported the NYPD's "right" to harass and detain minorities. But he's not upset enough. And he's upset incorrectly. Critics are calling this selective enforcement of pandemic efforts a new stop-and-frisk. De Blasio is only upset about the terminology.

“What happened with stop and frisk was a systematic, oppressive, unconstitutional strategy that created a new problem much bigger than anything it purported to solve,” he said. “This is the farthest thing from that. This is addressing a pandemic. This is addressing the fact that lives are in danger all the time. By definition, our police department needs to be a part of that because safety is what they do.”

That's just talking around the problem. Yes, the pandemic response isn't "systematic," but the ingrained habits that have resulted in minorities being disproportionately targeted by NYPD officers certainly are. And his siding with the NYPD aligns him more with the man he replaced than the public that elected him. Both De Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea claim this enforcement has been deployed "sparingly and fairly." It's hard to square "fairly" with the numbers released by the Brooklyn DA.

It also doesn't square with the total arrest numbers provided by the NYPD.

Citywide, black people make up 68 percent of those arrested on charges of violating social-distancing rules, while Hispanic people make up 24 percent, a deputy police commissioner, Richard Esposito, said late on Thursday night.

Only seven percent of the social distancing arrests citywide involved Caucasians.

The police union spoke up, because of course it did. The head of the PBA made one halfway decent point about bad laws and the problems inherent in enforcing them…

Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, declined to comment on Officer Garcia’s actions, but noted he and his colleagues “did not create the poorly conceived social-distancing policy they were sent out to enforce.”

… but followed that up by defending an officer who has been sued seven times and cost the city more than $200,000 in settlements. Officer Francisco X. Garcia was involved in a controversial social distancing arrest in which he punched a man onto the ground and then sat on him as he was handcuffed. Garcia has been removed from duty while this arrest is being investigated, which is apparently the equivalent of hanging this sinless man on the cross.

[Lynch] said City Hall was blaming Officer Garcia for carrying out the policy it had created. “Once again, our leaders are poised to trample a police officer’s rights in order to protect themselves,” he said.

Ah yes. Let's not "trample" those rights. But the rights of everyone else can be trampled while the NYPD fumbles its way through the pandemic, making minorities pay the price for the social distancing sins of an entire city.

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Filed Under: bias, biased policing, civil liberties, nypd, pandemic, policing, social distancing


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2020 @ 6:59am

    Re:

    In one neighborhood you are handed a free face mask, in other neighborhoods you are curb stomped.


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