De Blasio v. NYPD: The Battle for Public Opinion

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127 Responses

  1. Kimmi says:

    Gotta say, I do like being in a city where the cops have to Live In The City.Report

    • Maggie Mahar in reply to Kimmi says:


      Yes, if cops are part of the community, they are likely to have more respect for the community.
      As I note i another comment, over 75% of Black and Latino cops live in the city. If they can
      find affordable places to live, so can white cops. Many affordable mixed neighborhoods.Report

  2. North says:

    The NYPD aren’t doing minor arrests anymore? Man I’m sure the citizenry will hate that /sarcasm.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to North says:

      I honestly don’t understand how this will work. to the extent the the citizenry isn’t angered by it, it will probably only go to show that they were vastly over-arresting and over-citing and over-stopping up until now, something DeBlasio campaigned on changing. And to the extent that citizens are angered about it, it seems like a terrible bet that people will blame DeBlasio for an action entirely decided upon and carried out by the union, especially when the purported provocation by DeBlasio just doesn’t come within an avenue block of passing the straight-face test for anyone who’s not entirely within the policemen’s political ambit. This just doesn’t put any pressure on anyone except themselves – pressure to avoid looking like fools, whether because they’ll have to back down, or just for persevering in foolishness.Report

      • Chris in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I look forward to the city realizing it has way too many cops, and cutting the force in half.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Drew says:

        @north @michael-drew

        Here are my theories:

        1. This tactic is more about getting the Bridge and Tunnel crowd to turn against De Blasio than it is about getting NYC residents to turn against De Blasio. NYC like other cities has two sorts of residents who can exert influence. The people who live in the city and the commuters and tourists who come to the city for work and play. Maybe they think out of towners will stay away if it gets too bad.

        2. A big traffic violation in NYC is double parking. They might think people will get fed up if their cars are blocked long enough.

        3. When I lived in Brooklyn, I lived in an upper-middle class neighborhood called Boreum Hil/Cobble Hill. Dhex lived in the same area. The middle and high schools in the neighborhood were 99 percent minority. The NYPD would be around at the start and end of school to make sure that the kids went into class or went home in a quick and orderly fashion. This was probably a broken windows tactic to prevent minority teenagers from hanging around an upper-middle class neighborhood. I hated it. Dhex once wrote that it started because of some ugly incidents in the early aughts before I moved into the neighborhood. Maybe they think people will get tired of “hoodlums” just hanging around their neighborhoods especially the gentrified ones.


        A nice sentiment but I doubt it will happen.Report

      • Chris in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I don’t really think that’ll happen. It’s just wishful thinking.

        But a big part of the problem is way too many cops producing way too many unnecessary interactions with the public.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I look forward to the city realizing it has way too many cops, and cutting the force in half.

        Not necessarily a good thing. Community policing requires a lot of cops. One of the reasons that the LAPD used to be the worst, most military big city force in the country was that it was so small, and was organized around big hit-them-hard raids,Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Yeah, cars have played a large role in removing cops from neighborhoods. At least at the level you really need cops to be at. Someone walks the beat? You wave, say hi — he helps keep the small kids off the literal street.
        You see a whole different city when you walk it. And walking a city is a good thing for cops to do (though, nowadays, cops tend to do it in concentrated “trouble zones” — which is fine.)Report

      • This tactic is more about getting the Bridge and Tunnel crowd to turn against De Blasio than it is about getting NYC residents to turn against De Blasio.

        I know next to nothing about the relationships between NYC and its surrounding suburbs, but what does this accomplish? What happens if NJ and Westchester and Long Island say, “We stand with the NYPD rather then the Mayor”? Boycotts? Abandoned jobs?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Drew says:


        1. What if Mayor De Blasio decides he wants to be Governor De Blasio or Senator De Blasio one day? Maybe he truly harbors no ambition to these titles but if he does, he will need to win votes from the entirety of NY State including Westchester and Long Island.

        Though I suspect that NYC Mayor is a powerful job that also ends up being a bit of a political graveyard for any state-wide ambition anyway.

        People will still need to come in for their jobs. The question is whether people will do a boycott about coming in and spending money for entertainment and the like. That could hurt the NYC economy.Report

      • @saul-degraw

        I think it’s quite possible the public will get fed up. The issue is will they blame De Blasio. It’s possible, but I think it’s unlikely, so long as De Blasio plays things reasonably cooly and plays nice with as much of the upper PD leadership as he can going forward. (Which I suppose is the point of the action, though I get the sense that just because De Blasio is on okay terms with Bratton and his staff, that doesn’t necessarily put him in good stead with the rank and file or the union. And as long as Bratton is backing De Blasio, I think the likelihood that the public blames De Blasio for the slowdown is low. But I’m speaking from very far away from the situation.).Report

      • What if Mayor De Blasio decides he wants to be Governor De Blasio or Senator De Blasio one day?

        Which plays better? “I insisted that the NYC police treated everyone they interacted with politely and appropriately until it was clear that force was required, and even then that appropriate force be used,” or “I backed the NYC police when they used force inappropriately, and intend to be sure the state police behave the same way.” Granted those are both exaggerations, but still. I’ll probably regret writing this: or is it a matter of “I tolerated the use of excess force so long as it was only applied to ‘those people’,” wink-wink, nudge-nudge?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Drew says:


        I would like the first thing you wrote to play really well in politics and maybe it can and will in New York.

        I do have my doubts and pessimisms though. I really do wonder how much many people care about civil liberty at times. This isn’t always an intentional authoritarianism but I think many civil libertarians do miss out on how much people like quality of life issues. I hate things like Home Ownership Associations and their burdensome rules but I know people who love them and think those draconian rules makes places really nice areas to live, very pleasant.

        So people might prefer or like a lot of order because order makes life run smoothly. I don’t mean that people are innately authoritarian in a fascist extreme but there are wide chasms in belief on whether the police treat people equally or not and these wide chasms are usually attributed to race and probably include many Democratic voters.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:


        First, it’s not just about future prospects. Suburban dwellers have an outsized degree of influence on the the balance of elite regional opinion of the NYC mayor, which gets reflected in local broadcast media – local TV stations, radio talk, etc. De Blasio is already viewed with skepticism in those quarters, which he can weather, but it’s a problem if that flips to primarily hostility. He did run and win on a surprisingly liberal program relating to law & order issues, but his win was a bit of a, well, I won’t say fluke, but product of atypical political dynamics relating to his liberal competition in the race. And five of the last six (or more) elections were won by proponents (or the initial champion) of the broken-windows/stop-&-frisk law enforcement philosophy. It’s a very open question whether a NY mayor who comes in campaigning against what is broadly seen by elites as a successful approach to transforming the city and promptly alienates the police force will win re-election, whether his explanation is ““I insisted that the NYC police treated everyone they interacted with politely and appropriately until it was clear that force was required, and even then that appropriate force be used” or something more apologetic. Not saying he wouldn’t, but it’s really an open question where NY politics around this is headed. Having the media elites, who live in the suburbs, convinced you needlessly alienated their heroes in the NYPD and besmirched the legacies of the Great Hero of 9/11 and his like-minded successor isn’t going to be helpful, even if enduring it is the right thing to do.

        People who think of NYC as this uber-liberal bastion might be shocked at what a conservative place it can be in many quarters, to say nothing of the ‘burbs.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        1. This tactic is more about getting the Bridge and Tunnel crowd to turn against De Blasio than it is about getting NYC residents to turn against De Blasio.

        I might be wrong, but looking at what the cops are doing thru a political lens reverses things. It strikes me as very unlikely that the cops had a planning session were it was decided that not citing double parked cars will piss off the bridge and tunnel crowd so much they’ll turn against de Blasio. It just strikes me as incredibly implausible. Go to straight power concepts, I say. That’s where the answer to all this resides.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        And remember, the cops aren’t pissed off about anything unique to de Blasio, they’ve been consistently pissed off about anyone who wants to reign in cop power. So the real target here is a policy position, not an individual.

        Power concepts all the way down.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

        …To be clear, the mayor may not much care about any of that, and if not more power to him – that reflects well on him. And he may also be right to make the bet that he’ll come out of whatever happens okay. But I don’t think much can be thought to be clear at this point in time how this is all going to shake out for him. I will say that the work slowdown is a gift to him from the unions, as they have ample ability to make clear the extent of their alienation, and this can only (IMO) make public sentiment about the righteousness of that rejection of him come down more in his favor (i.e. people conclude it’s not righteous) than a more responsible expression of alienation would have. It’s a spectacularly poorly considered move from the unions’/benevolent associations’ perspective IMO.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:


        Are we supposed to know what you’re talking about with “power concepts”? To the extent I can surmise what you’re talking about, the concept seems pretty compatible with the unions holding planning sessions about how to put the squeeze to the mayor (which is not the same thing as saying those sessions produced good plans). That, and the emails that are in the public record among union leaders gaming out how to do this response action – what it should consist of, and what effect it was thought it would have.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I don’t know how to answer that MD. Have you read my other comments? Start there.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Drew says:


        De Blasio did campaign on ending stop and frisk but I think the most important dynamic was his economic populism and his tale of Two New Yorks narratives. There are lots of people who feel like they are being squeezed out of New York based on Bloomberg’s decision to give everything to developers (or so people thought). This includes not only working class New Yorkers but middle and upper-middle class New Brooklynites of whom De Blasio is one.

        It was honestly Quinn’s campaign to lose and lose it she did. She would have one if she did not start refusing to come out and support even minor maternity leave out of fear of alienating her corporate donors.

        I mentioned the power dynamics that SW talks about above. The NYPD has seemingly developed a position of always treating the mayor like the enemy and it does not matter who the mayor is. Lynch also urged the NYPD to snub Giuliani at funerals when Giuliani was mayor. He said that there was no way for the NYPD to support Giuliani’s presidential ambitions in 2007. And I doubt anyone could call Giuliani soft on crime or critical of cops.

        The tactic against the mayor seems to be massive insubordination and resentment and it might finally be backfiring because of Ferguson and Garner.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Here’s a line from Instapundit:

        All of these, except maybe the drug arrests — and probably including those too — are basically revenue offenses. By not arresting here, the cops are starving the City for revenue. The Knoxville Police do the same thing when they’re crosswise with the City; they stop writing tickets. The real scandal isn’t that NYC is being denied law enforcement now, it’s that much of that “law enforcement” is really just a system designed to squeeze money out of the citizenry.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Actually, thinking about that a bit more, I may have an answer for you: my preferred way of viewing the shutdown (ooops, I mean slowdown) is that the cops aren’t trying to gain popular support for themselves against de Blasio, but rather to act on the belief (correct or incorrect) that from a functional pov it’s much easier (and perhaps more likely) to vent frustration against a single individual (de Blasio) than an entire institution (the cops). But the goal isn’t to get de Blasio out of office or anything like that. It’s to reaffirm a single message: don’t fuck with the cops. Straight power concepts, as I said.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        it’s that much of that “law enforcement” is really just a system designed to squeeze money out of the citizenry.

        I wish *that* message gained a bit more popular support.

        One of the things I found unpleasantly unsurprising about Ferguson was lack of attention re: that very thing.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

        That is a system that *REQUIRES* criminals to sustain itself.

        That’s one hell of a perverse incentive.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Michael Drew says:

        The Mayor of New York is the most powerful dead-end political job in the United States. Its the Presidency of American municipal government. Once you get elected Mayor of New York, chances of moving on to a higher office is slim. De Blasio had a very slim chance of getting elected to anything higher based on previous office holders careers.Report

  3. Marchmaine says:

    What is the revenue impact? Is there any? The article doesn’t put dollars to citations. from the chart, it appears they are short approx 24,000 (revenue generating) citations for this period (excluding criminal arrests). Just wondering if the goal isn’t to show how NYC is ungovernable without NYPD, but to remind the Politicians that they contribute to the coffers. (Or perhaps not).Report

  4. Damon says:

    I’ll give a damn when the toll takers walk off the job and I can roll through the Verrazano bridge and not pay. 🙂Report

    • Montaigne in reply to Damon says:

      Sigh. Those days are long gone in the era of EZ-Pass.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Montaigne says:

        The Golden Gate Bridge has been toll-taker-less for over a year now. The ferries only accept magnetic cards (if you don’t have the credit-card-like one, you can buy a single-trip one from a vending machine) but a person watches you swipe it. This seems like an odd way to do things.Report

  5. aaron david says:

    “The Demographics of NYC have changed a lot in the past two decades. The city is no longer majority white and I imagine that the NYPD is playing to a city that no longer really exists.”

    I think the same could be said for the NY Times.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to aaron david says:


      Probably true but I’d be curious to here you flesh out why.

      The reason I posted criticisms from Reason, Gawker, and the NY Times is because they ostensibly cover different readerships. The NY Times might have the wealthier or at least more bourgeois readership and there are plenty of people who rely on the NY Times for National and International reporting. I wouldn’t trust the Chronicle for National or International news like I trust the Times.

      So it is interesting to see the NY Times take sides with De Blasio because they represent the Establishment the most. At least they do in the popular imagination.Report

    • j r in reply to aaron david says:

      No, the NY Times is still pretty white.Report

    • Yes, the same could definitely be said about the NYT.Report

  6. dragonfrog says:

    If this goes on for a while, it could provide a really interesting basis for statistical analysis.

    Like, under their current practice of not arresting people unless it’s actually necessary, arrests are down 66% – indicating that 2/3 of the arrests made by the NYPD under normal circumstances are unnecessary. The 1/3 of baseline arrest rate still going on represents, presumably, the necessary ones.

    How do the demographics of necessary arrests compare the to those of unnecessary arrests? Their time and place, the race, age and gender of the arrestees…Report

  7. greginak says:

    Fun fact about the NYPD. Every police station has a Fort X nickname like in the old movie Fort Apache: The Bronx.Report

  8. trizzlor says:

    I get where Reason is coming from, but their Reasoning that an arbitrary slow-down strike by the police is going to give NYC a taste of libertopia is really naive. It’s like they’ve really swallowed the idea that Garner protesters are angered by the loose-cigarette bans. Even though there was a lot of initial debate on the right, I’ve yet to see a conservative publication react negatively to what the NYPD is now doing, so I think that’ll be the big indicator.

    Saul’s observation that the union is taking on a negotiating role over *how* policing is done is really astute. The union is there like a scorned spouse in a divorce case, pushing as hard as possible for worker demands – which is why their comments are typically so incendiary. But the idea that the union should be determining the role of and oversight of the PD in civic life seems totally backwards. I can’t imagine a teacher’s union demanding that city schools switch to Montessori or all-year systems against the wishes of elected officials. This seems like a relic of the NYPD corporate structure, where essentially only the union spokesperson is allowed to comment on policy (see: Seems to me like the union should be involved in negotiations over reform at a much later stage.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to trizzlor says:

      I think the game changer was the murder of the two officers by the deranged guy. Never underestimate the impact of a lone act of violence to potentially sink a movement. But I generally agree that there is a libertarian and liberal divide over what each side thinks is the root cause and nature of the protests.

      The difference is that the Teacher’s Unions are still fighting (and losing) battles that the NYPD and the other police unions have largely one. Police and Firefighter Unions seem to have a success rate that would make other unions envious. If the Teacher’s Unions were as successful as the Police Unions on issues like pay and termination, it would be curious to see if they started making more comments on educational policy.

      Also lots of rich people and private industries feel more comfortable coming in and trying to fix or mold education than they do with the police and fire departments.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        This movement ain’t going anywhere. Not so long as folks keep dying for no damn reason.
        “No Justice, no Peace”
        Folks that are smart (and I expect nearly every Commish to be), realize that they’ve got a fine opportunity here. The other side is showing up, and is willing to be a part of the conversation.

        The movement around here has gotten a cop (who’s currently being investigated by the Feds) voluntarily moved off beat and onto a desk job, until the end of the investigation.

        Not because he’s necessarily a bad apple, or anything — but because, it’s an ongoing investigation! If he has done wrong, we can remove him then — but before then, we can just be prudent enough to put him in a position where he can’t do much harm.

        It’s a simple, concrete step — and one that the officer himself asked for, when made aware of people’s concerns.

        This is what talking is all about (that, and apparently the poor injured guy’s lawyers didn’t even know the Feds were involved! Telling them might have been nice).Report

    • Stillwater in reply to trizzlor says:

      But the idea that the union should be determining the role of and oversight of the PD in civic life seems totally backwards.


  9. Stillwater says:

    The city is no longer majority white and I imagine that the NYPD is playing to a city that no longer really exists.

    My own view is that the cops aren’t playing to anyone. Or anyone in particular. The primary goal is to retain power within the city using all the physical leverage they have. Politics is an afterthought, it seems to me. Now, you may be right that the cops are fiddling too-old of a tune, and that might explain why the politics of this whole mess look so bad for them (and they look so entirely, completely, and devastatingly inept and depraved): they’ve assumed a rock-solid base of reflexive support regardless of their words or actions. So you’re view may not be inconsistent with mine: the cops are making a brazen and transparent power play within the structure of city gummint, and the reason they haven’t paid attention to the politics is because they think popular opinion will support that type of power politics.

    It’s risky, seems to me. But perhaps inevitable given the cop culture present in NYC.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:

      I do think the Cops have a rock-solid base of support. Just not from people who are likely to comment here. But it could also be that liberals and minorities no longer feel the need to be silent when confronted with right-wing talking points about being “soft on crime.”Report

      • Saul—

        i disagree about the cops having a “rock-solid” base of support.
        The city is no longer majority white. A great many non-white New Yorkers have had
        bad experiences with the police, ranging from
        — the police not policing their neighborhoods (but instead sitting in their cars in “safe neighborhoods” texting fiends and family on their cell phones) to
        — the police coming to the wrong address when called to
        — seeing cops littering the steer (throwing ice cream wrapper out the car window) and then threatening a citizen who protested (the cop was littering sidewalk outside his business)
        — seeing 3 cops beating a young man who is already on the ground
        —hearing about cops harassing and threatening a young white girl who is with a Latino male
        —witnessing cops milling around outside a grocery store where 8 people being held hostage at gunpoint—cops afraid to going in
        — calling cops after the robbery of a restaurant. When 4 young cops show up they ask the
        70-something owner if he has gone down to the basement to check if the thieves are still
        there: “You really should, you know . . ”

        I’m a white liberal and I have personally witnessed all of the above. In the case of young white girl with Latino, the girl was my daughter. I can only imagine what the typical African-American or Latino has seen.

        Bottom line: less than half of the city is white, and many liberal whites are very unhappy with the police. The only people who I know who support the police are middle-aged and older
        whites in Brooklyn.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

      To follow up on that a bit:

      I think what they’re doing right now is risky, but it might be more accurate to say that given what’s at stake their actions and behavior seem risky: very little (if any) upside gain, and lots of downside risk.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        And to follow-up on the follow-up…

        If it’s correct to say the NYPD is playing a risky game of power politics, and we consider what Burt wrote just below this – “that NYPD solidarity, holding NYPD and any officer on it harmless and without blame by virtue of wearing the badge, is more important to them than the City they’re sworn to protect, the citizens of that City, justice, or the law.” – we get to something like an account of why their acting as they are: preserving power as an institution within city government is functionally more important than acting in accordance with the ostensible purpose of that institution.

        Maybe. I could prolly be knocked off that view with sufficient prodding.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:

        I wonder how of this is because many police officers do not live in NYC. They don’t see it as their city anymore. It is just their employer and place of work.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        That’s certainly something worth considering. Back when I was more hopped up on cop culture than I currently am (well, in a different way, I guess) I remember reading that hiring cops from “outside the neighborhood” was encouraged. The thinking was that knowing people too closely interferes with the objective administration of the law. I’ve even spoken to cops locally who corroborate that view (all of em outsiders brought in). So you may have a point.

        What I was getting at up there, tho, is more of an institutional analysis. You got the cop institution and the mayoral institution, and the two of em vying for power within overall city government. And let’s be clear here: cops possess remarkable power, not only in terms of fucking with people with impunity but at the institutional level as well, the formal face of which is the union. An institutional analysis would ask (rhetorically!) why would they give that up? Why would they not want more?Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Stillwater says:

        as a police officer, you Can Not show favoritism. So, there’s that.

        Still… We had an officer kneeling in the street with protestors — effectively rerouting traffic around what quickly changed from a protest into a high-energy block party. She did this because she knew the folks there (went to the gym with some of them, in fact), and knew these weren’t the type to start trouble. That she could take understandably upset people, and give them a decent forum to share and care about Trayvon Martin — and other lives that have been lost to tragic violence.

        It’s not possible to do that if you don’t know who you’re looking at.Report

  10. Burt Likko says:

    It was the turning of backs on de Blasio that is the signal moment for me. A declaration by the police that NYPD solidarity, holding NYPD and any officer on it harmless and without blame by virtue of wearing the badge, is more important to them than the City they’re sworn to protect, the citizens of that City, justice, or the law.

    I rather suspect that the bulk of NYPD officers, if you talk to them one on one, would disclaim that attitude. And perhaps the cops who turned their backs did so prompted by their union, which is behaving in a publicly atrocious manner. But even if — or perhaps especially with, if you think about it — those things are true, it means something has become culturally so rotten within NYPD that the people of New York shouldn’t tolerate it any longer.

    Seems to me that the citizens get to be in ultimate control of their police, not the other way around.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:


      I do wonder how much this happens because many police officers (especially white police officers) do not live in the City limits.

      There were debates about whether NYPD officers should live in NYC going back into the 1990s and many of these debates also had the police complaining (probably with accuracy) that they could not afford to live in NYC because the city was expensive.

      This also raises questions though. What does it mean to live in the city/neighborhood that you patrol? Is it enough to live in the city boundaries or should officers be required to live relatively close to their beats? So if you are an officer in the Bronx, you need to live in the Bronx.

      There is also a demographic issue in the NYPD. It is getting better but I suspect that the force is still whiter on average and reflects a New York that largely doesn’t exist anymore. The SFPD seems much more demographically equal or representative of the population of San Francisco. I can’t imagine the NYPD doing an “It Gets Better” video like the SFPD did. The NYPD employees seem much whiter than average and I think there is a lot of generational police officer things. The FDNY has the same sort of generational passing down going on.

      Interestingly, I’ve known people who are more likely to defend the idea that it is acceptable for cops and firefighters to be generational jobs over say the sons and daughters of doctors, lawyers, and other professionals becoming doctors and lawyers like their parents. Union jobs are seemingly perfectly acceptable to hand down for some reason but becoming a lawyer or doctor like dad or mom is somehow evil nepotism even if you don’t work for your parents.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Union jobs are seemingly perfectly acceptable to hand down for some reason but becoming a lawyer or doctor like dad or mom is somehow evil nepotism even if you don’t work for your parents.

        Depends on who you talk to. I’ve heard both. Class – and class identification – of the speaker drives most of the difference, in my view.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        errr, I’ve heard the opposite, as well, is what I meant to say. Sorry. The thinking went faster than the typing.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        In no way shape or form is it acceptable to have nepotism in union jobs. I have a bit of a personal stake in this, to be clear, as my house is well within the zone where folks might riot — as they already have, over union nepotism.

        I don’t mind there being a cop neighborhood in the city — freedom of association and all that. But, you live here, you pay taxes, and you guard your own town. That seems pretty cut and dried. It prevents some of the othering if you don’t even live in the city.Report

      • Most municipal workers are required to live in the city. If they can afford it, so can cops
        (who are better paid than most) .
        Many parts of many boroughs are affordable.

        The truth is that many white cops don’t want their kids going to NYC public schools—too many minorities.

        During the Bloomberg administration members of the City Council called for reinstitution the
        requirement that NYPD live in the city. (It could apply only to incoming cops. Many blacks, Latino cops would be happy to live in the city—and we need more of them.

        Finally, yes in NYC, becoming a policeman is a generational thing. Ever notice how many Irish cops there still are in N.Y.C.? The police force should represent the demographics of the city.Report

    • Patrick in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I rather suspect that the bulk of NYPD officers, if you talk to them one on one, would disclaim that attitude.

      I thought this was the case, but a guy I would have had pegged as a good cop and his wife defriended not just myself but my entire family yesterday because I was “disrespectful”, “out of line”, and “offensive” for suggesting that demanding accountability for police actions was not the same thing as being “unsupportive” of the police, and for commenting on this article with the following:

      Yes, you read that right, folks.

      In the minds of the Baltimore police union, merely criticizing the police for excessive force is by its very nature not “strong political leadership” because the “unequivocal support” (!) “of law enforcement is required” (!) “to preserve our nation”.

      This is, frankly, just disgusting.


      If a guy that I normally thought was a good egg could go on a gigantic tirade about how attempts to reform the police will just bring back “Piss City” and how everyone who doesn’t support the police believes that all cops are racist, stupid, brutal, and white…

      … well, perhaps the NYPD is a much more diseased institution than I thought.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Patrick says:

        Hey, next time you’re being mugged? Call someone who is calling for more accountability on the part of the police.

        Unless you’re being mugged by a cop, I suppose. In that case you’ll probably need more people who believe in police accountability on your side.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Patrick says:

        “Once again, we need to be reminded that the men and women of law enforcement are absolutely the only entity standing between a civilized society and one of anarchy and chaos.”

        I am far from being an anarchist. I don’t think getting rid of law and law enforcement will turn everything into a shiny and happy utopia but this attitude is way too stark and makes it seem like everything will turn into Mad Max unless things everyone just obeys the police.Report

  11. Karen North Bronx says:

    The NYPD lost confidence in de Blasio mostly because of
    “…Instead, Mr. de Blasio did the most polarizing possible thing. He had the city switch sides in the case, drop the appeal of Judge Scheindlin’s ruling, and enter settlement talks that would brand the police as racists. It would set the stage for a payout of vast legal fees that yet may be used to fund more attacks on the police. And it would leave a sense among the Finest that their own civilian leadership was against them. …”

    from the only editorial so far that reveals the real backstory:
    “Mayor de Blasio’s First Mistake”
    Editorial of The New York Sun | December 29, 2014

    and some day, someone will note that one big reason that 73% of registered voters in NYC did NOT vote for any mayor was voter intimidation at polling sites. If I thought anyone cared, I would have been filing a complaint over my no longer secret ballot, where poll workers always had to ‘review’ my ballot before they fed it into the scanner. In 2014, after years of being harrassed for being an “older woman living alone” (other neighbors explained that was why the wife-beater next door turned on me), I moved, and voted in a different north Bronx neighborhood where I aligned with “identity politics”, and, to my surprise, not even a hint of anyone looking at my ballot.

    In 1989, the Central Park Five were arrested in front of my building. If I am expected to relive those years of terror, I want Law Enforcement Officers in the NYPD, not de Blasio’s ideology transforming law enforcement to “peace officers” and “a breed apart”, dangerous language from the mayor…Report

  12. Kazzy says:

    As possibly the most “local” regular here, I have some scattered thoughts on the matter…

    More than anything, I think the NYPD are becoming yet another wedge in the culture wars. The very explicit way in which race has been a factor in the recent conversations about policing — combined with the implicit way race has been a factor in pretty much every political conversation over the past 6 years because, yes, we have a Black Democratic President and that has changed just about everything — has made this issue about much more than just policing. It is about whose side are you on: the entrenched powers or the masses? The problem is that, whether in reality or merely in perception, one of the masses has assumed one of the seats of power: Mayor DeBlasio. Saul is right that the NYPD and PBA have always painted the mayor as an enemy for political purposes. But now the NYPD really does see the mayor as an enemy, moreso than at any point in my lifetime. And, furthermore, they see anyone who aligns with him as the enemy. DeBlasio represents a disturbance to the status quo. Whether it is snow removal or policing, he has upset the apple cart and many folks — particularly those who were perched atop that apple cart, chief among them the NYPD — are not happy.

    This has made for some very strange bedfellows. And, more importantly, it led to people becoming very, very entrenched in their sides. The debate about policing is no longer abstract. And adversarial relationship between the NYPD and the mayor’s office is no longer academic in nature. Basically, shit just got real. We’ve got dead citizens and dead cops. We’ve got a group of people on one side — motivated and empowered by technology — who are fed up and a group on the other side who are used to getting their way and something’s got to give. The NYPD and their practices were not sustainable. They were not acceptable but for a number of reasons, they were able to proceed as they did. The people started to agitate long ago but are becoming increasingly steadfast and effective in their agitation. And, more importantly, one of “them” sits in Gracie Mansion.

    I don’t know what the outcome will be. I’m really curious to see how things go in Times Square tonight. Will the NYPD abandon their posts on the craziest night of the year in the city? If something happens — be it an organized terrorist attack or the disorganized violence that masses of drunken crowds are capable of — because the NYPD was lax in their duties, what will the response be? Whether it is tonight or after a greater understanding of the cops’ inactivity, my hunch (and hope) is that people will recognize that regardless of what you think of the mayor, his politics, or his handling of the situation, the NYPD’s response is simply unacceptable and that the entirety of the public will turn against them.Report

    • greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

      I agree with what you are saying Kazzy except for the bit about the current situation not being sustainable. The NYPD were notoriously corrupt in the 70’s and fought hard against being cleaned up. Later Dinkins had the same struggles with the cops and the Diallo killing, among other police screw ups, didn’t seem to bring about much change. The current PD isn’t much different from what it was 25 years ago which is , of course, the problem.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to greginak says:


        I mean that it is not sustainable in the face of a citizenry that can communicate across the the globe in real time. There is no ‘local news’ anymore. The outrage over the Garner decision was, in part, motivated by the outrage over the Brown/Ferguson decision. A decade ago, most NY-ers have little to no idea about Brown/Ferguson. Camera phones and social media have changed things in real ways. For that reason, it was only a matter of time before things came to a head. For that reason, I think the police’s actions were unsustainable.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


      Some interesting points here. You are right that the NYPD probably sees De Blasio as being an actual threat/enemy as opposed to a threat/enemy for rhetorical purposes only. Though maybe they also disliked Giuliani and Bloomberg just as much and are operating on a real us v. them mentality and everyone without a uniform is a them.

      Though I wonder how much it hurts that Bill De Blasio is a white guy with an African-American wife and biracial children. Does he seem like even more of a traitor because of these facts? Is there a “why aren’t you on our side” kind of thing going on?

      All in all good points though.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I think “who DeBlasio is” matters as much as “what DeBlasio does”. That includes the fact that he is in an interracial marriage with biracial children (one of which has an afro… AN AFRO!). It seems to me that DeBlasio has handled this differently than his predecessors in ways that will have real impacts (as opposed to just talking points). But even if he were to have handled it identically to Guilliani or Bloomberg, I think he’d have gotten harsher treatment from the NYPD because of all that he represents — both politically and personally.

        I mean, would it shock you if we end up subjected to more pictures of him using a knife-and-fork to eat pizza before this is all said and done with? (To those who weren’t paying attention, yes, this happened and was used by some to discredit him as not being a “real New Yorker”. And not in a funny-ha-ha way. In an entirely-too-serious-holy-shit-this-passes-for-politics-nowadays? way.)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It is worth noting that some people who weren’t inclined to oppose DeBlasio but now find themselves dissatisfied with his handling of things* are beginning to lament his win. But not by wishing his opponent in the general election (Republican Joe Lhota) had won, but that one of his Democratic primary challengers (Christine Quinn) had.

        * Which is not to say that these people support the NYPD. There is actually a sizable contingent of New Yorkers who disapprove of both the NYPD and the mayor.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:


        Interesting point on Quinn. I wrote it above but I think Quinn shot herself in the foot by being too Bloombergian at a point when everyone began caring about income inequality.

        It seems like ancient news now but there was a time when people thought Bloomberg was a long shot and it was more likely that Mark Green would be the mayor after Giuliani.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        My point in bringing up Quinn (who I don’t know a ton about) is that opposition to and criticism for DeBlasio isn’t limited to the law-and-order right. Some folks on the left disagree with this handling of these matters yet stop short of supporting the police.Report

  13. Karen North Bronx says:

    The Central Park Five had been ‘wilding’ in Central Park same night. When I moved in 1991, after 14 years of fear, no one thought the crime iin NYC would EVER go down.

    In the 2007 Jodie Foster film “The Brave One”, that 1989 tragedy was used for the plot, and, to my surprise, they used my street, 100th and Manhattan Ave, for the film, the same bodega.

    My building had been converted to condos in 1990.
    NO ONE, outside of other residents, was willing to buy. As a renter, my insider price was $88,000.

    In 2000, same apartment sold for $800,000! Where is my “settlement” from de Blasio??????

    and, fyi, the North Bronx also includes Gun Hill Road, an historically important site where General George Washington finally escaped the British in the Battle of New York.

    No one is entitled to their own false narrative.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Karen North Bronx says:

      Wait… Karen, you think you deserve something — ANYTHING — from Mayor DeBlasio because your apartment/condo appreciated in value AFTER you moved out but a decade and a half before he took office? What the hell?

      It is really unclear what your argument here is. Yes, crime was worse in NYC in the 80s and early 90s. But guess what? Crime was worse just about *everywhere* during that time.

      Seriously… what exactly is your point?Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’m not sure, but I think the argument is that, because the central park five were eventually compensated for being falsely imprisoned for years, Karen should be compensated for being forced to live in an area with high crime rates. Now there’s a germ of a non-crazy point here, in that while there’s no legal duty for the police to protect you from crime, failing to prevent crime can have enormous negative effects upon even people that aren’t the direct victims of it, which will often be much greater than the harm suffered by people who do get monetary compensation through the legal system. Particularly in some of the more extreme cases, this isn’t terribly fair.

        The trouble is that people who are wrongly imprisoned in that way absolutely do deserve compensation, and neither De Blasio nor any other NY mayor are responsible for the bulk of the rise and fall in crime rates since the late 70’s.Report

    • Karen, look at it this way: the more NYC becomes like Detroit, the more likely you’ll be to buy that apartment for $88,000.Report

      • Karen North Bronx in reply to Jaybird says:

        since no one here wants “newcomers”, or the truth when it contradicts the false narrative that “all cops are racists”,
        hasta luego 🙂Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


        You are *literally* the only person to use the word “racist” in this entire post/discussion.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

        I guess not everyone is gonna get it, what this site is all about. @kazzy made it a point, twice, to say that @karen-north-bronx was welcome and her participation here was a good thing. That doesn’t mean he (or I) agreed with her.

        That said, she seems to have had a bit of a chip on her shoulder.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Karen North Bronx says:

      No one is entitled to their own false narrative.

      Man, I love this comment! Perfect.Report

    • j r in reply to Karen North Bronx says:

      The Central Park Five had been ‘wilding’ in Central Park same night. When I moved in 1991, after 14 years of fear, no one thought the crime iin NYC would EVER go down.

      No. No they weren’t. The very term “wilding” is a media invention based on a misunderstanding by the police. Don’t let the truth get in the way of your narrative, though.

      Yes. There was a crime problem in NYC in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. No one here is disputing that. And no one here is calling all cops racists. Your choice to live in fear is fine, and maybe understandable, but we don’t have to accept fear as the basis for our policing and our public policy.Report

  14. Karen North Bronx says:

    Don wrote: “…neither De Blasio nor any other NY mayor are responsible for the bulk of the rise and fall in crime rates since the late 70?s….”

    FALSE. While Dinkins started “broken windows” policing after the Central Park jogger attack in 1989, it was Giuliani’s tenure that finally tamed the city-wide fear, and directly led to the real estate appreciation where an apartment on a street that went from sheep farms to tenements to federally subsidized housing renewal in the late 1950’s, finally became part of DisneyManhattan.

    fwiw, ignore what I have posted here. my error trying to provide the facts behind the NYPD’s mistrust of de Blasio because of his support for Judge Sheindlin’s discredited one-person ruling on stop-question-frisk..Report

    • Don Zeko in reply to Karen North Bronx says:

      Except that other large cities that didn’t implement Broken Windows type policing like Chicago, Dallas, and LA, saw similar drops in crime at the same time, and all of this was happening in the context of a nationwide decline in crime. It’s absolutely politically convenient for the architects of Broken Windows to pretend that nothing else was in play and that other large US cities don’t exist, but it just ain’t so and the evidence for this just ain’t there.Report

      • Karen North Bronx in reply to Don Zeko says:

        “Why We Need Broken Windows Policing” William J. Bratton and George L. Kelling
        It has saved countless New York lives—most of them minority—cut the jail population, and reknit the social fabric.
        Winter 2015 Preview

      • Kazzy in reply to Don Zeko says:


        Curious… the man who developed the ‘broken windows’ theory and the police commissioner support its implementation. Who’da thunk it! No way there is any bias there.Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to Don Zeko says:

        @karen-north-bronx That article is classic post hoc ergo proctor hoc. Crime was high, then we implemented these policies, then it went down. True, it adds the wrinkle that crime went down more in NYC than the national average, but that leaves out that crime in NYC (and other large cities) went up more quickly than the national average. so NYC’s experience is both a reversion to the mean AND similar to declines in large cities that didn’t implement these policies. Simply reiterating the theory of Broken Windows, which accounts for probably a third of the length of that piece, doesn’t address the lack of empirical evidence that it was any more effective than any other conceivable police tactic.

        And even if NYC’s crime drop was unique (which it isn’t) and ALL of the difference between NYC’s drop and the nationwide drop was due to Broken Windows policing, you’d still be taking credit for the considerable nationwide headwind that crime-control efforts have enjoyed since the early 1990’s. Just look at Stop & Frisk. The NYPD insisted that it was critical and that stopping the policy would take NYC back to the bad old days. But Stop & Frisk is gone by judicial fiat, and the needle hasn’t budged on crime.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Karen North Bronx says:

      Okay, Karen, let’s bring it back to your original point: the NYPD feels abandoned because deBlasio supported the ruling that overturned stop-and-frisk.

      But why does deBlasio have any obligation to support the police in that matter? That was an issue between the police and the residents of the city of New York. Doesn’t deBlasio have at least as much obligation to the citizens of his city as he does to the police?

      Now, if the argument is that stop-and-frisk was a legitimate policing tactic with zero reason to object to it… well, that mindset — that the NYPD can do no wrong — is precisely why we find ourselves in the situation we do.

      I am a school teacher (private school). My boss has made several decisions that I disagreed with, in which I felt she did not have my back; but she has to answer to more than just me. Being a mature adult, I understand that. The cops are not presenting themselves as mature adults with a sense of duty, obligation, and responsibility.

      Would it have been appropriate for me to respond to my boss’s decisions by not showing up to work? Or showing up and just sitting there while my kids did whatever they wanted?Report

      • Karen North Bronx in reply to Kazzy says:

        Kazzy wrote (and congrats on still having a job!):
        “Doesn’t deBlasio have at least as much obligation to the citizens of his city as he does to the police?”

        The mayor of NYC has an obligation to provide public safety through the police department, the official Law Enforcement Officers.

        de Blasio is a pure ideologue from the Working Families Party, which I used to support until they showed up in The Bronx in 2008 with their street intimidation tactics .

        de Blasio never expected to win the mayorlty, but that is another backstory to this mess although I still have Schumer’s personal letter as proof….Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        That is just one of my obligations that the mayor has. And when someone like Eric Garner ends up dead at the hands of the police, who should the mayor support? Was public safety improved or damaged by their actions in that situation?

        Remember, Eric Garner was non-violent and was being approached for selling individual cigarettes — essentially a form of tax evasion.Report

      • Karen North Bronx in reply to Kazzy says:

        Kazzy : “Remember, Eric Garner was non-violent and was being approached for selling individual cigarettes — essentially a form of tax evasion.”

        yes, Eric Garner was selling loosies, had been arrested for same at least 30 times, and the NYPD had been called in by local store owners to make this arrest, which Eric Garner tried to resist.

        Why is the NYPD being used primarily as a revenue collector?

        because the New York City Council passed a law that made Eric Garner a criminal.

        Why doesn’t de Blasio ask himself why a 45 year old man was forced to support his family by selling loosies on the street?
        Where are the jobs???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Report

      • Patrick in reply to Kazzy says:

        yes, Eric Garner was selling loosies, had been arrested for same at least 30 times, and the NYPD had been called in by local store owners to make this arrest, which Eric Garner tried to resist.

        I would like a clarification, if I may ask?

        Do you or do you not believe that the specifics of the Garner case are one of misuse of force under the color of law?

        That is, do you or do you not believe that a member of law enforcement should be held accountable for the death of a civilian when using tactics that are not approved by policy and training, regardless of that civilian’s criminal record or lack thereof?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Please answer this question: “Was public safety improved or damaged by their [the police’s] actions in that situation [Garner]?”

        Or any of Patrick’s.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Kazzy says:

        @kazzy the NYPD feels abandoned because deBlasio supported the ruling that overturned stop-and-frisk.

        Just as importantly, don’t the citizens of NYC have a right to *not* have specific police tactics used on them by *their* police force if they don’t want them? This is, still, a democracy.

        deBlasio very specifically ran on ending that policy (And if I, living in Georgia, know that, surely NYCers know that.), and also said he wouldn’t appeal the case…and he won the election.

        Whether or not stop-and-frisk is *legal* is not the only relevant thing here. In addition to that legal question, stop-and-frisk apparently isn’t *wanted* by the citizens of NYC. (At least via the means we determine any question in our representative democracy….there was an election of someone who made that an issue.)

        I fail to see why the police of NYC should be allowed to do something *to* the people of NYC that the people of NYC do not want them to be able to do. Any police officer that has a problem with *doing their job as laid out by their employer* can go find themselves a new job.

        And, yes, I’m normally pro-worker so I’m sure someone is going to call me hypocritical…but if this was an issue of ‘workers having to work unpaid overtime’ or ‘workers demanding maternity and paternity leave’, I’d be on the side of the workers, even if the workers were police. Or even ‘workers demanding safety measures such as patrolling in pairs’.

        But ‘workers demanding the right to stop and search random individuals on the street’ is, uh, something else entirely.

        Would it have been appropriate for me to respond to my boss’s decisions by not showing up to work? Or showing up and just sitting there while my kids did whatever they wanted?

        This is sorta missing the point. I mean, that’s a valid point, but there’s also the fact that police are part of the government, and the people do not want (as far as we can determine what the people want in a representative democracy) for them to enforce the law via stop-and-frisk…and they think that doesn’t matter.

        This isn’t just some disagreement with a boss. The police deciding that the will of the voter is not allowed to alter their behavior is dangerously close to fascism.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:


        Very well said. The police are acting like they are above the law and the Constitution instead of being sworn upholders of the Constitution. I know as a lawyer I had to take an oath to uphold the Constitution to get admitted to the Bar. Do police officers swear oaths to the Constitution? If they do, that includes the 4th Amendment and the right against unreasonable search and seizure.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        I agree. I was attempting to address Karen on her own terms.Report

  15. James K says:

    I have three reactions to this:

    1) My libertarian side suspects the police abandoning this type of arrest is no bad thing.

    2) My economist side wants to know if my libertarian side is right. An event like this could serve as an instrumentfor testing whether broken windows style policing reduces the incidence of more serious crime.

    3) Dominating both of these is my public servant side which is horrified at an unelected government agency attempting to force policy on the elected official they are supposed to be reporting to. The police union seems to be agitating for a literal police state.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to James K says:

      “The police union seems to be agitating for a literal police state.”

      SEEMS to be…?Report

      • Karen North Bronx in reply to Kazzy says:

        “43 Ways New York Has Changed Under Mayor de Blasio”
        By Margaret Hartmann Follow @marghartmann

        [copied from:]

        “1. New Yorkers have a more negative view of the NYPD.
        As Mayor Bloomberg began his last year in office, the NYPD had its highest approval ratings since just after 9/11. In January 2013, a Quinnipiac University poll found 70 percent of New Yorkers approved of the job the NYPD was doing. By mid-November this year — after Eric Garner’s death but before the non-indictment — the same poll found that number had dropped to 54 percent.

        2. The NYPD conducts fewer stop-and-frisks.
        Reforming stop-and-frisk was one of the signature promises of de Blasio’s campaign, and stops were down drastically during his first year in office. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, in the first three quarters of 2014, New Yorkers were stopped 38,456 times, and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the total for the year would be under 50,000. In 2013, there were 191,558 stops, down from a high of 685,724 in 2011. The percentage of minorities stopped in 2014 was essentially the same as it was during the Bloomberg years: 54 percent of those stopped were black, 27 percent were Latino, and 12 percent were white.

        fwiw, before the election for mayor, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly (fired by de Blasio) polled as the overwhelming choice for mayor.Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to Kazzy says:

        Because of course it is De Blasio that has changed public perceptions of the NYPD, not the NYPD’s own behavior.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Fewer stop-and-frisk interactions is a *good* thing, as far as I’m concerned.

        And the NYPD is responsible for its own perception and reception. Not DeBlasio. Maybe if they wanted to be more liked they should be, well, more likable. Is it DeBlasio’s fault they killed Garner? Or was it his responsibility to somehow make that go away?Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to James K says:


      Kevin Drum doubts we will be able to get much data from this but others are curious like you are:

      “Unfortunately, I doubt that this will tell us anything at all. The timeframe is too short and there are too many other things going on at the same time. Crime statistics have a ton of noise in them, and it’s hard to draw any conclusions even from a full year of change. You need years of data, preferably in lots of different places. A few weeks of data in one place is basically just a null.”Report

      • James K in reply to Saul Degraw says:


        I take Drum’s point, but there are ways of cutting down the noise. You can introduce control variables to filter out other happenings, or use a difference in differences approach where you compare changes in New York violent crime rates relative to other cities.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to James K says:

      3) Dominating both of these is my public servant side which is horrified at an unelected government agency attempting to force policy on the elected official they are supposed to be reporting to. The police union seems to be agitating for a literal police state.

      Yeah, that’s the part that’s getting me, too. And two facts make it somewhat worse:

      1) The elected official actually ran on this policy change in a big way, and the public elected him. I’m not a guy who really believes in ‘mandates’, per se, but I do believe that if someone very very specifically says they’re going to something if elected, and gets elected, they do, in fact, have a bit more ‘right’ to make that change. (As opposed to someone who tries to make changes without bothering run those ideas past the voters.) In a representative democracy, someone who says ‘I want to do X’ and then gets in office and tries to do X is basically the *ideal* way to make changes in the government.

      2) This isn’t some random change. This is not ‘Police uniforms now include a hat’ or some random thing, or even ‘pay cuts’ or other reasonable policies police might object to.

      This is stopping a policy with *serious constitutional problems* with regard to both fourth amendment rights and racism. So serious that the *courts have stepped in*.

      In fact, *all* the changes that deBlassio proposes, and all the changes the police unions have been violently (yes, at times, violently) opposed to, are changes to stop real civil right problems being caused by the police.

      Hell, this specific policy is something that, technically, is *more* work for the police. Why do they want to do more work? Because it gives them the right to hassle people they don’t like the look of. That’s it. That’s what they want. I’m sorry I have to blatantly say it like that, but that really is it.

      ‘It is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it..’

      That Douglas Adams quote was talking about the President of the Galaxy, but it applies much more to the police, who get to boss random strangers around all the time, than it does to any galactic or national leader, who, in any modern system of government, has a bunch of checks and balances on their behavior.Report

  16. Karen North Bronx says:

    Patrick asked me: “Do you or do you not believe that the specifics of the Garner case are one of misuse of force under the color of law?…”

    All I saw was the same video on the news. The police officer had one arm under Mr. Garner’s arm while he was trying to push away, which meant it was NOT a banned chokehold. (check your sources)

    It was reported other officers, including a sergeant, were observing the tragedy, and did not stop it.

    Was it ‘misuse of force’? I trust the grand jury to have seen all the other videos etc.

    In 1987, I sat on a jury in a manslaughter case, depicted as a drug dealer fight on the Bowery. We were sequestered for three days because half the jurors initially believed the prosecution, half thought the guy had a right to defend himself. One juror held out because she disagreed with the law and thought NO one ever had the right to hurt anyone, even in self-defense. These were educated jurors who had no clue how to follow a law they disagreed with. A basic law that defines when it is legal to defend yourself with deadly physical force..

    As for Eric Garner? The law that killed him is wrong, but the state sponsored discrimination against tobacco smokers stands.
    Bloomberg’s crusade against cigarettes led to tax increases where one pack cost thirteen dollars. These laws created a black market for smuggled cigarettes, and Eric Garner’s ‘job’. I guess that is one job the government did create! by passing laws that create more crime.

    Where are the mass protests for JOBS?Report

    • Chris in reply to Karen North Bronx says:

      The police broke up the protests for jobs in New York a few years ago.

      “Not a choke hold,” eh?Report

      • Karen North Bronx in reply to Chris says:

        Chris wrote: “The police broke up the protests for jobs in New York a few years ago.”

        If you believe Occupy Wall Street was a real protest about real jobs, then you need a new source for real news..

        and, fwiw, the NYPD only broke up the OWS when Mayor Bloomberg told them to, after local resident and business complaints about the OWS camp mess could no longer be ignored.

        The CNN effect gave us, in 2014, Ferguson, and suddenly the #1 issue is police brutality, not jobs?

        and the sheep follow wherever the CNN effect takes the world.
        Ask 85 million Egyptians what they thought of CNN creating a revolution from 200,000 Twittering protestors in Tahrir Square who never represented anyone but themselves …Report

      • James K in reply to Chris says:


        You appear to be committing the Fallacy of Relative Privation. Unemployment is bad. The police killing people without sufficient reason is also bad, it is possible for there to be more than one thing wrong at once and the existence of one problem does not preclude discussing nay other problem.

        There’s also an issue of amenability to policy intervention. De Blasio can’t just wave his hands and magic a bunch of employment opportunities into existence, but he can make the police change the way the interact with the rest of the citizenry. Regardless of the importance of each problem, the police behaviour one is simpler for government to solve.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        It wasn’t just about jobs, to be sure, but it was certainly about jobs.Report

    • Patrick in reply to Karen North Bronx says:

      The police officer had one arm under Mr. Garner’s arm while he was trying to push away, which meant it was NOT a banned chokehold. (check your sources)

      As far as sources go, I’ve taken shoot wrestling courses, and know people who practice about a dozen different styles of martial arts, and not one person I know of who is versed in hand-to-hand combat would refer to that hold as anything other than a choke hold.

      In addition, regardless of the actual martial arts reference… according to the New York Law Journal:

      “Members of the New York City Police Department will NOT use chokeholds. A chokehold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”

      So, yes. There is clearly pressure to the throat in the video, which makes this a choke hold by NYPD written policy, whether or not it is the same “chokehold” that may have been taught in the academy twenty years ago.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

        It’s weird that the coroner would call Garner’s death a “homicide” if he was only grabbed under the arm.

        Maybe the cop accidentally hit him with the five point palm exploding heart technique.Report

  17. James Hanley says:

    I was in New York City last week, and while we were stuck in traffic due to a protest, I talked to our cab driver…{scuffle, scuffle}… Out, Friedman! Get out of my head right now!

    Sorry, folks, that was a close one.Report

  18. Maggie Mahar says:

    It really doesn’t matter what suburbanites think about De Blasio. They don’t vote for our mayor.

    Right now, the important thing is that De Blasio become a two-term mayor—and I think he will.

    The post is correct: the NYPD is playing to a mainly white NYC that no longer exists.
    Many people were surprised when De Blasio was elected. This is because they don’t understand the changing demographics in the city. And they don’t understand that more and more African-Americans, Asians,, Latinos, New Immigrants and young well educated New Yorkers are coming out to vote.

    After two terms as Mayor, I can see De Blasio going to D.C. to represent NYC in Congress.

    I don’t see him going to Albany.Report

  19. Mumbles says:

    As a complete aside to d Blasio’s career, I’d just just like to point out the absolute incoherence of the police union’s position here.

    Tamir Rice was just sitting in a pagoda, with nobody around him, and the cops there drove their car onto the grass and shot him within seconds. John Crawford III was just standing around with a toy gun that was on sale in the store he was standing in, and the cops in that case just jumped around a corner and blasted him within two seconds. Eric Garner basically, yanked his arm away from a cop and said “Get off of me!”. Their response was to choke him to the ground, and then step on his head while he said “I can’t breathe!” And for that matter, the Sanford PD claimed they couldn’t find any evidence that Zimmerman was just looking for a street sign, when Martin just magically appeared, when it was perfectly clear from Zimmerman’s own 311 call that he admitted to “following” Martin, who was literally running away from him.

    The message is clear. The police are on edge, they want to get home to their families. And they said so. And I can even understand that.

    But then a police union take great offense to this once de Blasio said it to his son, and claim that he has “blood on his hands” because two on-duty cops were shot by some lunatic that travelled up there from Maryland, and shot his ex-girlfriend before traveling there.

    …Um, huh?Report

  20. Maggie Mahar says:


    Most unions don’t “union” like this. They’re bullies.Report