Friday, January 09, 2015

rule of law: a costume and a badge only confer extra powers in a comic book...,


rollingstone |  The few police spokespeople who are saying anything at all about the slowdown seem to be saying they're doing this for a variety of reasons. The New York Post reports that some of the reduction may be due to safety measures recommended by union members after the Ramos/Liu murders:

Cop union leaders told their members to respond to all calls with two patrol cars — and make arrests only when "absolutely necessary" — to avoid potential copycat attacks following the Ramos and Liu assassinations.

But then Edward Mullins, head of the Sergeants' Benevolent Association, who admitted that "people are talking to each other" and that the action has "became contagious," told the Times that police are still responding to essential calls, and only ignoring "financial" infractions:

All of the 911 calls are being responded to...The lack of summons activity, we're talking about financial fines. That's one of those things that will correct itself, I'm sure.

But then there was this bizarre quote in the Post yesterday:

Michael Palladino, the head of the detectives union, responded with frustration.
"You can't win," he said. "When cops make arrests and give summonses, they are accused of being robotic with no feelings, When cops exercise discretion and express feelings, theyre accused of being political and disrespectful."

So which is it? Are police cutting down on arrests out of concern for their safety post Ramos/Liu? Are they merely pulling a slowdown by specifically abandoning non-essential, financial infractions?
Or are they "exercising discretion" and showing "feelings" by doing away with the harassing, often arm-twisting, day-ruining barrage of useless and expensive summonses that have been handed out in low-income neighborhoods in massive numbers since the early Nineties?

I'm not buying the "feelings" line, although I know for a fact that a lot of police hate the endless regime of Broken Windows tickets (not as much as the people getting the tickets hate it, but still).
I'm guessing police are trying to make the public and the Mayor feel the pain of their absence as much as possible without opening themselves up to accusations of deliberately making the city unsafe, and this is the only way they can think to do it.