I guess “Stop & Frisk” must have filled up NYC jails to the max.
New York will back off locking up folks for offenses like public urination and littering in Manhattan.
Under the terms of a new initiative that that went into effect March 7, low-level criminal offenses such as public consumption of alcohol and taking up two seats on the subway will result in the offenders receiving summons as opposed to being carted off to the slammer.
Those offenses shouldn’t result in arrests anyway — unless officers find out the offenders have an open warrant or do not have an ID, in which case they are required to make an arrest.
Now before ya’ll get free lance and footloose in Manhattan and start pissing at will – make sure you don’t have any open warrants or you will be put on lockdown.
Offenders not carrying an ID will be given time to call someone to the station house with a photo ID before they are arrested.
Officials estimate the move will result in the diversion of 10,000 cases annually that would otherwise have to go through Manhattan Criminal Court.
“Using summonses instead of arrests for low-level offenses is an intuitive and modern solution that will help make sure resources are focused on our main priority: addressing threats to public safety,” said Mayor de Blasio.
The new initiative should benefit Blacks and Latinos who are the overwhelming majority of people arrested for minor or questionable offenses by NYPD.
A Daily News analysis published in 2014 showed the overwhelming majority of summonses issued by the NYPD citywide were to black and Latino men. Roughly 81% of the 7.3 million people hit with quality-of-life violations between 2001 and 2013 were black or Hispanic. Alcohol consumption was the most common offense.
.Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said the move will make sure courts “are not unnecessarily bogged down with minor offenses.”
The move will make sure courts “are not unnecessarily bogged down with bullshit cases from bullshit arrests.”
But there is a gray area. And for centuries gray areas in policing have been deadly archilles heels for Blacks and Latinos.
The agencies’ release noted that “Should an NYPD officer determine that the public is best served by arresting an individual who would ordinarily receive a criminal summons, that officer will still have the option to do so.”
So the decision to arrest or not to arrest lies at the feet of someone who may or may not like who they’re looking at, or who simply maybe having a bad day.
I’m not alone in my skepticism.
Robert Gangi of PROP — an advocacy group that’s long called for reforms to the summons system — was unimpressed with the changes.
“It’s at best a tweaking, not a major change,” Gangi said.
Tweaked to appease I’d say. Time will reveal if it’s biased policing as usual out on the streets.