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.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.
"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 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!